Despite a workout regime and good diet, hair loss, constipation and the inability to lose weight are commonplace for those living with thyroid disease.
But that’s no match for thyroid disease health advocate and “Baywatch” star Gena Lee Nolin, whom local wellness physician Dr. Kenneth Woliner joined Saturday, June 7, in Scottsdale, Ariz., for an “All Things Thyroid” event.
More than 50 women from across the country seeking information about thyroid disease came to learn from Nolin, as well as health experts Dr. Theresa Ramsey and Woliner at the inspirational event. Hosted at the luxurious Well & Being Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, attendees were pampered with healthy cocktails and light appetizers, and enjoyed access to all spa facility amenities, including pools and invigorating exercise classes.
Most importantly, the women were there to learn about thyroid disease. In light of the release of her motivating new book, Beautiful Inside and Out: Conquering Thyroid Disease with a Healthy, Happy, “Thyroid Sexy” Life, Nolin kicked off the event with ambition, lighting up the venue as she told her heartfelt story about coming to terms with, and conquering, the adverse effects of thyroid disease.
As a renowned Hollywood actress, Nolin felt constant pressure to maintain her “Baywatch” figure. She revealed stories of the negative whispers behind her back, commenting on her weight gain.
After going under-treated and “blown off” by doctors, Nolin finally found proper treatment, lost the weight and became motivated to write her book and start the “Thyroid Sexy” web site to increase thyroid disease awareness.
An astounding 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, according to the American Thyroid Association. More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition, with women five-to-eight times more likely than men to have thyroid issues.
Hypothyroidism, one of the most common thyroid disorders, is a medical condition in which the body doesn’t make enough, or respond well enough, to the action of thyroid hormones. The lack of adequate thyroid hormone action causes classical symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, weight gain and inability to lose weight despite diet and exercise, hair loss, constipation and a host of other maladies. Some patients have practically all of these symptoms, while others have only a few.
“Many mainstream doctors are not answering patient’s questions nor digging deep enough to find the root cause of common conditions, such as hypothyroidism,” Woliner said. “They simply look at the blood test and adopt the ‘one test, one pill’ approach. Simply prescribing all hypothyroidism patients with Synthroid will not cater to the personal needs of each patient.”
At the event, Woliner discussed mainstream treatment and his functional medicine approach, which incorporates multiple treatment methods with an open-minded style.
“Doctors need to spend more time with their patients to get a history and target the best treatment for their problems, instead of making them sit anxiously in the waiting room for an hour, only to have a five-minute visit,” Woliner said. “Uncovering a thyroid issue is more than just taking a TSH test.”
At the event, when Woliner asked how many women were experiencing thyroid problems, about 40 women raised their hands. Of those 40 women, only one woman said she felt she was treated properly.
One of the most common questions at the “All Things Thyroid” event was, “How can I make my doctor understand this, and how can I convince my doctor to look into alternative approaches to treating hypothyroidism?”
“Mark Twain once said, ‘I do not let my schooling get in the way of my education,’” Woliner replied. “Doctors need to be willing to learn and break out of their old-school thinking. Not all hypothyroidism patients respond to the same pill the same way.”
With the Internet allowing access to a vast amount of knowledge and physician exposure, Woliner believes patients will increasingly seek out their own care. “If they’re not feeling well, and their doctor isn’t making the necessary changes, they will find a different doctor who is willing to treat them properly,” he explained.
Nolin’s “All Things Thyroid” event helped to raise awareness about thyroid disease and left women open-minded as they continued their search for answers about this common condition.
ABOVE: Thyroid disease expert Dr. Kenneth Woliner joined “Baywatch” icon and “Thyroid Sexy” advocate Gena Lee Nolin in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Saturday, June 7, for a day of pampering, food, drink and information sessions in the name of ‘All Things Thyroid’