Our Holy Miracle of The Infallible TSH Test!
A humorous (but serious) lesson that both you and your doctor can learn about regarding thyroid function testing and that magic TSH.
Watch and listen – and if it is possible, get your doctor to watch and listen to this video too – then discuss this with your doctor in the same way the scantily clad lassie does. If she can do it – so can you!
Imagine you’re unable to swallow and dying of thirst. Suppose further that an endocrinologist treats you for this problem. He notes your thirst, then checks the level of water in the glass in front of you. He then adds water to the glass until the level is normal.
Question: Are you still thirsty?
Of course you are. Your problem isn’t just a lack of water, it’s the inability to swallow it. But your endocrinologist claims that you’re cured, because you have sufficient water available.
That is the situation with using BLOOD tests, which measure *available* hormone, to diagnose CELLULAR deficiency, which is *working* hormone, in the treatment of hypothyroidism. If the cells can’t "swallow" the thyroid hormone (out of the blood), then it doesn’t *matter* how much is available.
I’m not a doctor, I’m a patient. But I’m also in command of logic, and the goal is not to make sure there’s enough thyroid hormone in the blood, even though that *sounds* logical. The goal is to MAKE THE PATIENT WARM AGAIN (and have eyebrows again, and have normal skin again, and be thin again, and have the energy to live life again, and so on.) But there is an institutional disconnect in that regard, because doctors are enthralled with blood tests, and lose sight of the actual goal.
In the 1950’s and 1960’s, they actually did it right. Hypothyroid patients were diagnosed based on their clinical presentation==- what they looked and felt like. A doctor could shake your freezing hand, note your thinning or missing eyebrows and myxedemic skin, and diagnose a thyroid problem.
Then he most likely would have put you on a trial of dessicated natural thyroid medication to see if it made you feel better. Then he would simply continue to increase the dosage over time until you reached a level at which you finally felt warm again. With that proof of its *effectiveness* rather than any lab reports, he would have then cautioned you to expect it to take some time for your other symptoms to resolve==-perhaps a year or so. But you’d at least be WARM again!
NOW, however, it doesn’t matter HOW freezing cold you are. Doctors are universally enslaved to adjusting what is in your BLOOD, NOT what makes you warm, and patients are almost invariably on smaller doses of medication than they were commonly given in the 50’s and 60’s. In many cases, the cells have to be literally bludgeoned into ‘swallowing’ the medication, with much higher than normal levels in the blood. But this idea isn’t even considered by most modern doctors, who actually think it’s more scientific to adjust the level of gas in the tank than to face the fact that the engine isn’t running.
In fact, with each new scientific advance, we seem to go even farther backwards. For example, because a ‘normal’ person converts T4 to T3, some GENIUS figured out that we could *always* give T4-only medications and let the body convert as much of it as it needed to T3! Of course, if you’re NOT normal, then you might NOT be able to properly convert T4 to T3. That, in fact, could be your whole problem. But if your doctor is properly lobotomized in medical school, he or she will have no curiosity left with which to question that. It’s incredible that a profession supposedly based on science could be so dogmatic in practice.
Worse, those remaining few independent-thinking doctors left may eventually be stripped of their ability to help you by the *ultimate* in institutional thinking: government. In Britain, for example, dessicated natural thyroid treatment containing both T4 and T3 (and T2, T1 and calcitonin) is not a ‘licensed therapy’, meaning your chances of getting a doctor there to prescribe it are effectively zero. If you have a problem converting T4 into T3, in other words, you’re in trouble. The way things are headed in the US, we’ll soon be handing over power for OUR health to OUR government in the same way. Why should a committee decide what medications you can have instead of your doctor? Because they think they’re smarter, that’s why.
It’s ironic, and a little sad, that the whole group of people who should be rising up in fury about this mismanagement of their disease is by definition almost too tired to do anything about it. It’s time to demand proper treatment, which means enough medication of the right type to make you FEEL better, not just enough to make your doctor happy about your lab numbers.
If you remember nothing else, remember this: your metabolism is your barometer. If you’re still cold, you’re still under-treated.
Questions to ask your doctor about why the meds don’t work….
A humorous lesson which covers the questions (and the logic) you need to ask your doctor, when you suspect the thyroid medication isn’t working for you.