TSH, Synthroid and Other Problems
Did you know that the vast majority of medicine has no science behind it? Most of what doctors do is based on opinion. Or tradition. Or political correctness. Or any number of things besides science.
And it's wrong a good share of the time.
For instance, the TSH test. Logic says if our pituitary gland keeps telling the thyroid to work harder at producing thyroid hormone, it must mean that the thyroid isn't keeping up. Is that really how it works? Perhaps, but we have no science that confirms it.
Thyroid blood tests, including the TSH test, came along in the 1960s. At the time, 20% of the population suffered from underactive thyroid problems. Medical poobahs, however, set TSH limits to 'allow' 5% of the people tested to meet the hypothyroid requirement. What was that about? Certainly not science.
Then there's the problem of what constitutes a normal TSH level. TSH test ranges have always been a moving target, constantly changing in a vain attempt to make the facts fit the test. Now they find it doesn't work. But they still use it! And how many people crawl through life because of that infernal test?
Why do they keep using it? A blood test lends the appearance of science-and it's certainly easier than listening to a patient's symptoms and figuring out how to make them go away. One doctor went so far as to tell me medicine doesn't believe in symptoms any more.
Then there's the problem of how much medicine to give. Since the advent of thyroid blood tests, the average dose of the thyroid medicine given to hypothyroid patients is half of what doctors prescribed when they treated symptoms. So even if we're treated, we're still in a mess.
TSH test problems
And speaking of thyroid medicines, Synthroid, the blood tests' evil twin, also came out in the 1960s. (Any way you look at it, that was a bad decade.)
First problem: Synthroid stands for synthetic thyroid. Our bodies don't like synthetic anything.
Second problem: Natural thyroid contains all five parts of the thyroid hormone: T4, T3, T2, T1 and calcitonin to protect or bones. Synthroid, besides being synthetic, contains only T4.
The theory (again there's no science) says T4, the slow-acting, storage part of thyroid hormone will convert to T3, the active form-which is what we need-as we need it.
Well, not so fast, Chester. Conversion depends on a lot of things. First off, most people can't get the job done because their bodies don't know the trick. Additionally, low cholesterol, so praised by doctors, prevents conversion. Not to mention the fact that 95% of us lack the minerals required for the T4/T3 conversion. In short, we can't depend on any conversion.
Without the conversion, of course, we never get any active thyroid hormone, and we feel like death warmed over, but, again, the blood tests say we're fine. We may be verging on comatose, but we're fine.
Third problem: Lots of people have an allergic reaction to Synthroid-and all its generic equivalents.
Put these problems all together, and they spell disaster.
But here's the kicker: While Synthroid and its ugly generic cousins don't improve your health, they make the blood tests (T3, T4, etc.) look fabulous! You may be in a heap on the floor gasping for air, but you're fine; the tests say so.
You can only look on in dismayed astonishment as your doctor waves the test result 'evidence' around and declares victory.
Never mind that untreated/under treated hypothyroidism causes the entire endocrine system-the wheel in the middle of the wheel in how our bodies work-to go whacko. Never mind, as well, that it causes heart disease. Among other things.
In fact, never mind anything, The unscientific, unreliable test has spoken.
Doctors celebrate "evidence-based medicine." Well, the evidence is in, and all the thyroid blood tests get a failing grade. As for Synthroid, is there such a thing as an F-?
Find a doctor who treats patients, not tests.
God is good,
Copyright by Bette Dowdell. All rights reserved
P.S. Bette Dowdell is not a doctor, nor does she purport to be She's a patient who's been studying and successfully handling her own endocrine problems for more than 30 years. She offers introductory teleseminars and an in-depth 12-month subscription program, "Moving to Health" about living well with endocrine issues. She explains how things work-or don't, discusses what things to avoid as well as the things that help, and she provides a lot of well-researched nutritional information. Subscribe to her free e-zine at Information is power.