Natural Approaches to Health Section: The Reason Doctors Frequently Miss the Diagnosis of Hypothyroidism
by Steven F. Hotze
CEO, Hotze Health & Wellness
More than thirteen million Americans may be suffering unknowingly from hypothyroidism. This means that thirteen million people are needlessly suffering with symptoms like extreme fatigue, migraines, insomnia, depression, hair loss, constipation, joint pain, muscle aches and weight gain among many others. This also means that there are thirteen million frustrated Americans.
You would think that with the advances in modern medicine we would be getting this right by now. We can diagnose and monitor an astronaut’s health condition in space, yet thirteen million Americans physically walk into their doctor’s office with symptoms of low thyroid function, are given a blood test that is proclaimed “normal” and rather than leave with a therapeutic trial of natural thyroid, and they are given a prescription for an antidepressant or sleep aid to treat their symptoms, not the underlying problem. Why aren’t docs getting it? This is a case of relying solely on the advances of modern science and dismissing good, old-fashioned, common sense medicine. A patient has become a number and the results of a lab test. By diagnosing based on blood tests alone, doctors are forgetting a very important piece of the puzzle: You.
TSH Blood Test Fails to Diagnose Many Patients
Rather than looking at the patient and their symptoms as a whole, conventional doctors rely on the TSH blood test, which has a lab range as wide as the Grand Canyon and as tall as the Empire State Building and measures the level of thyroid stimulating hormone in the blood. Contrary to what you might think, the TSH is NOT a measure of how much thyroid hormone the thyroid gland produces, but rather a measure of how much thyroid stimulating hormone is produced by the pituitary gland.
In order to boost thyroid hormone production, the pituitary gland produces more TSH when the thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormone. Conversely, the pituitary secretes less TSH when the thyroid gland is producing more or too much thyroid in order to slow down thyroid hormone production. Think of the TSH as your thermostat. If it feels like 70 degrees in a room and the thermostat is set on 70 degrees, then everything is fine and dandy in your world. However, if the thermostat is set on 70 degrees, yet there is ice on the windows and your breath is making steam then it would be a safe assumption that something is wrong with the thermostat itself and it is not accurately measuring the temperature of the room. If you have all the symptoms of hypothyroidism, yet your blood tests are normal, there’s a good chance that something’s wrong with your thermostat.
Type 2 Hypothyroidism is Not on Conventional Doctors’ Radar
Another problem is that conventional doctors assume every bit of the thyroid hormone in the blood is getting into your cells properly. This would be a correct assumption if we lived in a perfect world. Think of it this way, imagine firewood neatly stacked on the hearth next to the fireplace. It’s there and it’s ready, but if someone doesn’t pick it up and put it into the fireplace where there is a flame, then it won’t burn. This is the same way that thyroid hormone works. You can have an adequate amount of thyroid hormone in your blood resulting in picture perfect lab results, but if it’s not actually assimilated into your cells, you’re not getting any of its benefits. If your thyroid hormones are not properly used at the cellular level, you can experience the symptoms of hypothyroidism. This is called Type 2 Hypothyroidism.
There are no blood tests to determine if you have depression, anxiety, or if you’re not sleeping, etc. Doctors will easily hand out drugs such as antibiotics, antidepressants, sleep or anti-anxiety medications among numerous others without a blood test. Yet they won’t even consider giving you something natural like a therapeutic trial of bioidentical thyroid to relieve your obviously low thyroid symptoms.
Here are 5 ways a doctor can properly diagnose hypothyroidism:
1. Determine the clinical symptoms by listening to the patient.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include low energy, weakness, difficulty losing weight, cold sensitivity, decreased mental sharpness, brain fog, sluggish speech, sluggish bowel function, depression, mood swings, anxiety attacks, joint and muscle pain, headaches, migraines, tingling of hands and feet, recurrent infections, and shortness of breath.
2. Determine the physical signs which are the findings a doctor discovers upon physical examination.
Physical signs of hypothyroidism include low body temperature below 98.6, hair loss, coarse hair, loss of lateral third of eyebrows, enlarged tongue, puffy, swelling in face, pasty skin, loss of body hair, ridges in fingernails, overweight, cold hands and feet, elevated blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol.
3. Determine body temperature.
A low body temperature below 98.6 indicates hypothyroidism.
4. Obtain a good family history.
Hypothyroidism runs in families. Since it is hereditary, it is important to let your doctor know if your parents or siblings have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism.
5. Test for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
Also known as autoimmune thyroiditis, Hashimoto’s is when your body makes antibodies against your thyroid gland. In this case, a doctor should check your blood work for two thyroid antibodies, thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAB) and antithyroglobulin antibodies (ATA), however most conventional doctors don’t.
It’s Time to Stop Suffering from Undiagnosed Hypothyroidism
If you have symptoms of low thyroid function, don’t let yourself continue to be one of the thirteen million Americans suffering with undiagnosed hypothyroidism. Remember that just because your doctor wears a white coat, doesn’t mean he or she has all the answers. Maybe it’s time to get a second opinion from someone who sees you as something more than the results of a blood test.
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