TSH, temperature, pulse rate, and other indicators in hypothyroidism
Increasingly, TSH (the pituitary thyroid stimulating hormone) has been treated as if it meant something independently; however, it can be brought down into the normal range, or lower, by substances other than the thyroid hormones.
Basal body temperature is influenced by many things besides thyroid. The resting heart rate helps to interpret the temperature. In a cool environment, the temperature of the extremities is sometimes a better indicator than the oral or eardrum temperature.
The basal metabolic rate, especially if the rate of carbon dioxide production is measured, is very useful. The amount of water and calories disposed of in a day can give a rough idea of the metabolic rate.
The T wave on the electrocardiogram, and the relaxation rate on the Achilles reflex test are useful.
Blood tests for cholesterol, albumin, glucose, sodium, lactate, total thyroxine and total T3 are useful to know, because they help to evaluate the present thyroid status, and sometimes they can suggest ways to correct the problem.
Less common blood or urine tests (adrenaline, cortisol, ammonium, free fatty acids), if they are available, can help to understand compensatory reactions to hypothyroidism.
A book such as McGavack’s The Thyroid, that provides traditional medical knowledge about thyroid physiology, can help to dispel some of the current dogmas about the thyroid.
Using more physiologically relevant methods to diagnose hypothyroidism will contribute to understanding its role in many problems now considered to be unrelated to the thyroid.