Guidance for Doctors asking Why WONT my Thyroid Patients Get Better?
This following from the Health Ranger, explains simply why patients may be disappointed after a consultation with a doctor who follows standard medicine procedures.
(Ref: Disagreements between Holistic and Standard medical practitioners). (Disagreement is) …. about the fact that the pharma-educated conventional doctors don’t agree with our holistic conclusions. Or they simply lack a more advanced understanding on topics like chemotherapy, vaccines, nutrition, disease prevention, heavy metals exposure, etc. It’s important to understand that a doctor fresh out of medical school is not necessarily WISE, even though he or she may be SMART. I know many MDs and have many as friends, yet even they will tell you what they learn in medical school is mostly a “treat the symptoms” approach that’s driven by pharma interests.
So a young doctor may emerge from medical school with literally zero training nutrition and zero training in exercise physiology even though diet and exercise are the two most important factors for disease prevention. To expect a physician who isn’t trained in disease prevention to have any real knowledge of how to prevent a disease is a kind of cultural insanity. That’s why I so much appreciate those doctors who expand their knowledge beyond medical school and seek integrative training with people like Dr. Weil in Tucson. Those doctors realize the limitations of their schooling and are actively seeking to acquire new knowledge that goes beyond the pharma-controlled indoctrination model.
By watching this sequence of EIGHT T3 TUTORIAL VIDEOS (about 30 minutes total), youll immediately be able to help more of those patients who keep coming back to you complaining of symptoms with low body temperatures and normal thyroid blood tests.
Companion sheet to the T3 Tutorial Videos: Simplified T3 Protocol
So many patients present in the GPs consulting room with features of depression, fatigue, weight gain, lack of motivation etc. Is this a particular feature of the UK?
Why pose such a question?
A New Zealand GP on an exchange visit to the UK as a practicing GP was asked, on leaving, what he thought of general practice in the UK.
In New Zealand, I see a depressed patient perhaps once in two weeks. In the UK, it seemed that every other patient displayed depressive features.
Thyroid Patient Advocacy (TPA) can identify with that GP’s perspective.
We pose the question:
To what extent does undiagnosed thyroid dysfunction account for difficulty in managing the burden of such conditions as depression, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, sub-fertility, Cholesterol and so on?
Time is short for GPs, so some easily digested monographs have been prepared to clarify some areas of thyroid system failure in which there is confusion. These monographs explore how these conditions may be more accurately addressed, bearing in mind how blood tests alone may not always be accurate indicators of thyroid function and why it is that evidently patients suffering hypothyroid symptoms do not improve on replacement therapy with thyroxine-only, or may actually deteriorate on that treatment.
THE PATH OF PROGRESS IN MEDICINE AS AFFECTING DISORDERS OF THE THYROID SYSTEM
Medical Education and the Economics of Drug Manufacture
Many doctors are very interested to hear of advances. But patients are often surprised when their doctors arent. It can be a shock to patients who would think that doctors would want to know of something that has a chance of helping. The information makes so much sense, why dont more doctors know about it?
A short answer:
Many doctors do know about advances in knowledge about the Thyroid System and its treatment. More doctors are finding out about it every week, and many more doctors will be finding out about it eventually.
But until then, doctors often dont have time to investigate or accept new approaches. They are often too busy being doctors.
A longer answer:
Our medical system is complex and there are many forces at work that influence the care which people receive. Here are just a few.
Most doctors go to medical school to become competent physicians so that they can help people with their health problems. Thats true isnt it? But lets look at the problems that can come from that one sentence. Lets look at it a couple of different ways.
Most doctors go to medical school to become competent physicians so that they can help people with their health problems.
Does it imply that they are incompetent if one can introduce them to a way of helping people which theyve not heard of before?
Patient says: “I found out about a new condition that sounds just like what I have” Patient means: I think this approach might help me would you be willing to work with me on it?
Doctor responds: “There’s nothing to that”
Doctor means: Im not incompetent.
How about Most doctors go to medical school to become competent physicians so that they can help people with their health problems.
Does that mean that if they didnt learn it in medical school it cant help people?
Doctor responds: “There’s nothing to that” Doctor means: I didnt learn about it from our medical system therefore it cant help people.
If weve been able to find so much misunderstanding in just one sentence, imagine how ingrained and reinforced that can sometimes become after many years of medical training. Indeed, it sometimes seems that the more training a doctor receives the stronger this effect can become.
For example, endocrinologists have typically been to 5-6 years of medical school, 3 years of Internal Medicine training, 2 years of Endocrinology training, ands in some cases, a couple of years after that to focus on thyroid problems. That much training might suggest that the endocrinologists are:
Interested in learning about solutions to thyroid problems?
Interested in being an expert on thyroid related problems and treatments?
Though these two goals are similar they are not necessarily the same. The first is focused on finding out; the second is focused on already knowing.
Its understandable how some of the endocrinologists might have completed training, expecting that theyd be able to help many people by becoming expert but not expecting to have patients inform them of very effective treatments which the endocrinologists have never heard of (many doctors simply dont believe thats possible)
A medical treatment can make perfect sense and work marvelously well, and a physician can still easily dismiss it out-of-hand without knowing much about it, just because of how hes been oriented.
Very few doctors have been taught about all the levels at which the Thyroid System operates in medical school, although it is starting to be taught in some medical schools now. It has been the experience of Thyroid Patients Advocacy charity that the doctors who say that the recommended approach of the charity (use of the thyroid hormone T3, in selected cases for example) is no good are almost always the ones who havent actually correctly tried the treatment in patients. Theres nothing like doing the treatment to see its benefits.
A Few Factors That Have Helped Shape Our Medical System into What it is Today:
More than 100 years ago doctors were getting excellent results treating many conditions using such preparations as iodine, digitalis, morphine, belladonna etc. derived from plants (Authors note: the mention of plants/herbs should not be taken to mean that this text is about the promotion of herbal medicine. It is more to do with non-patentable preparations).
However, herbs are not patentable because they are naturally occurring substances and may already be present in the food supply. Companies found that if they could isolate or create compounds, like aspirin, they could patent them.
Patents gave the companies exclusive marketing rights for their compounds. The more people bought the products, the more the companies could spend on advertising. Thus, people were hearing more and more about the products, not necessarily because they were better but because they were patentable. Other companies could advertise herbal products, but since other companies could also compete by providing the unpatented herbs, the advertising might not pay for itself and could quickly die out.
This is how people can hear so much about treatments that dont always help very much, and hear practically nothing about treatments that often work fantastically well. It began 100 years ago and it continues today. The energy behind how much people hear about a treatment is often not how well it works but whether or not it is patentable, exclusive, or profitable.
Its easy to assume that If this works as well as glowingly claimed, everyone would know about it. But the more accurate statement might be, If this treatment approach were patentable, everyone would know about it.
The introduction of patented medicines changed the complexion of medical science completely.
There is a saying that the practice of medicine changes every 17 years. Why 17 years?
Because thats how long it takes before a patent runs out. One drug might be recommended for years and years as an excellent treatment, but once its patent runs out and generic companies can make it, suddenly its no longer promoted at all. Did the drug suddenly become less effective than it had been for years? No, the effectiveness of the drug remained exactly the same; its the patent that ran out.
Thus, not only can effective herbal treatments be forgotten and overlooked, but also so can out-of-patent medicines. Dilantin is a good example of a drug that some feel has many wonderful uses but that is no longer emphasized very much in research or schools (the effects of being out of patent). Isnt it interesting to think that what treatments are recommended may have a lot more to do with patent law and a lot less with what actually helps patients?
Where are doctors in all this? Are doctors involved in some kind of conspiracy to promote patented medicine? Most doctors arent. Its just that patents make advertising possible, which makes profits possible, which pays for research, which strengthens schools. And research strengthens the use of patented medicines. The doctors of today are taught by doctors, who were taught by doctors, who were taught by doctors who took an interest in researching and prescribing patented medicines.
As the first doctors trained the next generation they may have focused more on patented medicines and less on the alternatives. It would only take one or more generations of training for the mention of alternatives to be wiped out almost completely. Today, doctors can go all the way through their training and never even hear of treatments that worked extremely well over 100 years ago that still work fabulously well today. And its not because the treatments dont work, but because theyre not patentable (and even if they were, theyd probably only be emphasized for 17 years).
Treating Symptoms Is Often More Profitable Than Curing Disease
When a man cant sleep at night because of a chronic pain in his shoulder, his main focus is getting rid of the pain so he can sleep.
If a doctor gives him a medicine that causes the pain to go away for a few hours at a time, the patient:
- is very happy to be able to sleep.
- perceives that the medicine helped him because the pain comes back when he doesnt take the medicine.
- perceives that the drug is the only thing that stands between him and misery.
- may well keep coming back to the doctor again and again, for the drug.
On the other hand, if a doctor is able to give the man a treatment that cures his shoulder pain completely, the patient
- might conclude that his problem wasnt very bad and probably would have got better on its own, and that he didnt really need to see the doctor
- wont be coming back for more treatment because hes cured,
- probably wont spend a lot of time talking or thinking about shoulder pain and its treatment.
Undoubtedly, companies have discovered over the years that symptomatic treatments are more profitable than curative ones. If a treatment is not profitable enough, companies simply cant afford to promote them. In a sense, companies tend to talk about symptomatic treatments because they can. It is sustainable. The expense is being covered. As they talk about the symptomatic treatments, doctors start using them and enough money comes in for them to be able to keep talking about the symptomatic treatments.
Its not that symptomatic treatments are better, or all there is, its just that they tend to pay for themselves better. Its just economic reality.
Patients want to be cured, but companies can only afford to talk about health benefits/products that are economically sustainable.
- its up to companies to talk about the best products and benefits, that also happen to pay for themselves
- its up to doctors and patients to find those products and treatments that have the best chance of restoring patients health (even though they arent profitable enough to support a lot of talk or attention).
The two aims are different. Sometimes they point in the same direction and many times they dont. For example, economic reality is what pressures a health care system to promote and provide care in a way that is not necessarily in the best interest of the patients. If youre looking for health care that can restore your health to normal, instead of health care that just pays for itself, you may have to look for and find it yourself because you may be the only one that can afford to tell you about it. Thank goodness for the Internet!
There is a saying, Out of sight, out of mind. This is as true in medicine as it is anywhere else. When doctors hear a lot of talk from drug companies about the latest (usually symptomatic) treatment, they tend to think, talk, and teach about it more. And competing drug companies with lots of money are introducing more products all the time. This is a big reason why doctors tend to be taught about and use so many symptom-oriented treatments.
Doctors are taught to give a drug for this symptom and a drug for that symptom and tend not to be taught about how to correct the underlying problem. And it is not because of a big conspiracy on the part of doctors. Mostly, its because the doctors have never heard of anything else, thats all they have been exposed to. And its not necessarily because of a big conspiracy on the part of drug companies either. They can only talk about what they can afford to talk about. They are doing the best they can within the constraints of the existing paradigm of economic reality.
Sometimes Large Traditions Are Based On Very Little Reason
UKs health care system has been constrained more by (pick one):
- What works best to maintain and restore patients health, or
- Patent law and what pays for itself
Which is easier for the reader to picture as the policy of our health care system?
- Well give patients what works best for them even if it costs us more money than we can get in return.
- Well give patients the best health care we can as long as it pays for itself (sustainable on a large scale over the long term).
Its the age-old balance between
- Whats best?
- Whos going to pay for it?
For example, it might be best for everyone in the UK to have a new car but whos going to pay for them?
On the other hand, the fundamentals of delivery of health care can sound really bizarre. Which sounds more misdirected?
- Health care in Scotland is about health care
- Health care in Scotland is about patent law
Patent law? Why would our health care system be about patent law? At first glance it doesnt make sense, and at second glance it doesnt seem possible that so much could actually be based on so little.
To illustrate how great things can sometimes be based on very little reason (or no good reason), consider the following example, which is adapted from a poem:
In an open field over 200 years gone by, a butterfly danced in the sunlit sky. ?As it fluttered along here and there a cat leapt after it, pawing the air. ?Later that day, a hound dog, with nose to the ground, ?followed the scent hoping the cat would be found. ?As the sun began to set and the deer came out to graze. They found the dogs parting of the grass a convenient way to pass. ?When cows were left out there in the sun, they too began to follow the path one by one. ?Over time the path became established more and more? and people started following the trail, never really wondering what for. ?Even a shepherd once led his sheep on the familiar route. As the area became more populated, people in carriages enjoyed their afternoons visiting there. ?Soon it became a popular road for many travelers who were just passing through.?Before long there was enough traffic to support a restaurant, and then a hotel, too.
Then came cars. The road became paved, ?pavements were laid down, and traffic signals appeared. ?Now, the path of that great citys main street, lined with towering buildings, meanders this way and that way but why? ?Because in an open field over 200 years gone by, a butterfly danced that way in the sunlit sky.
If we look at street maps of many long-established cities we can see that many of the roads (not the newer highways) do tend to meander one way or another for no apparent reason. The roads are not mapped out in grids of streets, avenues, and blocks as they often are in planned cities. Its likely that a story similar to the one above has happened over and over again.
Sometimes paths are chosen because they are the best way to go and sometimes theyre chosen because there is already an easy path to follow. Perhaps people that come down the road later assume that the people that came before carefully considered all the important issues and carefully selected the roads course. But they may not have done so. They may have simply paved a road that was already there because it was easier than cutting a more direct path through undeveloped property.
Its easy to see that many well-established and thoroughly paved traditions are not where they are because of reason, carefully considered, but are only where they are because its easier to follow a road already travelled. Perhaps the most interesting and ironic aspect of the whole story above is that the travels and settlements of all the earthbound creatures who did need to be concerned about the lay of the land allowed themselves to be directed by a flying creature that was totally unaffected by it. The butterfly had entirely different interests and concerns.
Likewise, it may be that many people who are suffering from health problems and many of the doctors that are treating them may be following long-established and thoroughly paved roads that have tended to follow the whims of companies and institutions with entirely different interests and concerns.
For example, some types of patents are easier to defend in court than others. The most defensible patent is a structural patent. Thats where a company actually comes up with a new structure or molecule. Thus, there is essentially a legal and financial pressure or mandate for companies to come up with molecules that are not found in nature. The primary financial concern is not whether a molecule can cure an illness in the human body but whether or not it has a structure thats ever been patented before.
Because the Internet is such a low-cost means for people to communicate, and because it is so easy to search, it is now possible for people to find out about many wonderful treatments they might never have heard about otherwise.
A number of years ago, at petrol stations, there used to be petrol station attendants who were on hand to fill your car with petrol because that process paid for itself. Now, practically all petrol stations are self-service. Health care is also becoming increasingly self-service because no one is more interested in the patients recovery than the patients themselves. This accounts for the rapid growth in the membership of the Thyroid Patients Advocacy group, which, with Thyroid UK (which has similar aims), numbers over 20000 members. And just as technology is making self-service convenient at the petrol station (The staff at the petrol station being able to activate the pump from inside), so too is the Internet making it easier for patients to find solutions to their health problems.
Many doctors do know about how the thyroid system operates at different levels in the body, how to recognize disorders at those different levels, how to base treatment on that recognition, sometimes using a naturally occurring hormone called T3 which is un-patentable.
They are using that approach to get excellent results.
Most doctors dont know about it yet, but they will.