When the Gluten Free RN went on a gluten-free diet 11 years ago, her thyroid settled down and the associated symptoms and disorders—Graves’ disease, weight gain and hair loss—resolved.

But when Nadine was inadvertently hit with gluten two years ago, several of those symptoms returned, along with a few new ones. She was losing hair and gaining water weight again. On top of that, her sinuses were congested. She developed asthma, a rash on her lower right leg and a scary case of pulmonary edema (excess fluid in the lungs).

Hindsight being 20/20, Nadine realizes that her recent diagnosis of hypothyroidism is associated with that accidental gluten ingestion. Further study made it clear that there is a potential connection between her thyroid problems and pulmonary edema, as the leaky gut that comes with celiac disease can cause fluid shifts into body tissues.

Today the Gluten Free RN explores the links among celiac disease, thyroid disorders and pulmonary edema. She explains the function of the endocrine system, the symptoms associated with hypothyroidism, and the diet she recommends for patients with thyroid issues. Listen in for Nadine’s insight around how gluten affects the thyroid gland and why the resulting low sodium levels might trigger edema in celiac patients.

What’s Discussed: 

The function of the endocrine system

  • Glands in body that make hormones

The connection between celiac disease and thyroid disorders

  • Thyroid especially vulnerable to gluten protein in wheat, barley, rye and oats

Nadine’s symptoms of hypothyroidism

  • Lower extremity edema
  • Congested sinuses
  • Hair falling out
  • Pulmonary edema
  • Asthma
  • Rash on leg

How damp rash lotion resolved Nadine’s symptoms

  • Prescribed by acupuncturist in Chiang Mai
  • Rash cleared, could breathe easy
  • Symptoms returned within four weeks of return to US

Nadine’s thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels

  • Within normal limits despite thyroid issues
  • Practitioner declined to order thyroid panel

The relationship between thyroid issues and edema

  • Sodium = major electrolyte, maintains body’s pH
  • Hypothyroidism means low sodium levels
  • Leaky gut of celiac disease leads to fluid shifts (edema)

The research around thyroid disorders and celiac disease in Current Allergy and Asthma Reports

  • Association between CD and thyroid disorders well documented
  • Increased prevalence of autoimmune thyroiditis and Graves’ disease in celiac populations

The diet Nadine recommends for celiac patients with potential thyroid issues

  • Gluten-free, dairy-free
  • Whole food, Paleo

Why patients with unexplained pulmonary edema should be tested for celiac disease AND thyroid disorders

  • Potential connection among all three

The symptoms associated with hypothyroidism

  • Puffy face, constipation, fatigue
  • Muscle weakness, aches and pains
  • Irregular, delayed menstrual periods
  • Hair loss, thinning hair
  • Slower heartrate, hypothermia
  • Depression, memory problems

Resources:

‘Pregnancy Complicated with Pulmonary Edema Due to Hyperthyroidism’ in the Journal of the Chinese Medical Association

‘Sleep Apnea, Hypothyroidism and Pulmonary Edema’ in CHEST Journal Letters to the Editor

‘Thyroid and Fluid Retention’ on the Wilson’s Syndrome Site

‘Acute Pulmonary Edema as a First Manifestation of Hyperthyroidism in a Pregnant Woman’ in Revista Medica de Chile

‘Hypothyroidism and Non-Cardiogenic Pulmonary Edema: Are We Missing Something Here?’ in Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism Case Reports

‘Celiac Disease and Autoimmune Thyroid Disease’ in Clinical Medicine & Research

‘Celiac Disease and Autoimmunity: Review and Controversies’ in Current Allergy and Asthma Reports

‘An Unusual Cause of Flash Pulmonary Oedema’ in BMJ Case Reports

‘Challenges in the Management of a Patient with Myxoedema Coma in Ghana: A Case Report’ in Ghana Medical Journal

‘Hyponatremia and the Thyroid: Causality or Association?’ in the Journal of Clinical Medicine

‘Interactions Between Thyroid Disorders and Kidney Disease’ in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism

Connect with Nadine:

Instagram

Facebook

Contact via Email

‘Your Skin on Gluten’ on YouTube

Melodies of the Danube Gluten-Free Cruise with Nadine

Books by Nadine:

Dough Nation: A Nurse’s Memoir of Celiac Disease from Missed Diagnosis to Food and Health Activism

Posted by Nadine Grzeskowiak, RN

Nadine is a 'food is medicine’ activist and is very proud of her work to educate all people about the power of food in health and wellness. Nadine is an expert consultant, professional speaker with over 1500 lectures to date, author of DOUGH NATION: A Nurse's Memoir of Celiac Disease From Missed Diagnosis to Food and Health Activism, podcaster, mom and former emergency/trauma/critical care nurse. Nadine is co-authoring her next book on the science of celiac disease.

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