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 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 drone through a long list of symptoms.
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.
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. Synthetic’s one thing, but Synthroid doesn’t look like anything our bodies have ever seen before. Our bodies don’t like alien molecules.
Second problem: Natural thyroid contains all five parts of the thyroid hormone: T4, T3, T2, T1 and calcitonin to protect or bones. Synthroid contains only T4–and bogus T4 at that.
The theory (again there’s no science) says T4, the slow-acting, storage part of thyroid hormone will convert to T3, the active form, as we need it. We think that’s the natural way of things, but we naturally have more than synthetic T4 to work with, so it’s kind of iffy.
But even in the best of times, conversion depends on a lot of things. First off, 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. And most people can’t get the job done with synthetic T4 because their bodies don’t know the trick. 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, medicine or no medicine.
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 comatose on the floor, 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 catastrophes.
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.
So find a doctor who treats patients, not tests.