Unfortunately, most physicians are not up to date with the latest research that shows that TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone - the main test used to check your thyroid) is unreliable and misses identifying those people who need help to improve thyroid function. The free T4 (Thyroxin) levels are still not enough to determine overall thyroid functioning. Unfortunately, our testing system does not take biological individuality into account. Each of us is different and sometimes we don’t fit into the normal lab values that are so commonly used today.
Before the TSH test, there were four previous ways of diagnosing underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism. Each new test replaced the previous one. Now modern medicine is beyond the fifth generation of TSH tests, and sadly this is the only test that many doctors use to monitor or screen for thyroid function. Over the years with each new test, doctors realized they missed many cases where in fact people did have an underactive thyroid. In 2002, the American Academy of Clinical Endocrinologists reported that anyone with a TSH level over 3 should be given therapy for underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism. They reported that a potential 13 million Americans had an underactive thyroid that was not being addressed because labs were being misinterpreted. Despite this, most labs still have a normal range for TSH that goes up to between 4.5 and 5.5. If the thyroid is underactive because the hypothalamus is suppressed, the TSH test may appear to be normal, or even show an overactive thyroid.
Two studies were done by Dr. G.R. Skinner and his associates in the UK, patients who were thought to have an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) had their blood levels of thyroid hormone checked. The vast majority of them technically had normal thyroid blood tests according to the lab values, but these lab values did not match up with their symptoms. Dr. Skinner did another study in which the patients with normal blood tests who had symptoms of an underactive thyroid (those who your doctor would likely say had a normal thyroid and would not need therapy) were prescribed thyroid hormone. A fascinating thing happened, the large majority of patients, despite being considered to have a normal thyroid, had their symptoms improve upon taking thyroid hormone at an average dosage of 100 to 120 micrograms a day. These studies were published in the British Medical Journal.
These two studies, along with others show that thyroid blood tests are only low in about 3 percent of patients. Our current thyroid testing will miss most patients with an underactive thyroid. Most blood tests cannot accurately measure T3 thyroid deficiency because readings measure only the level of T3 in the blood, and it's the level inside your cells which is the most important. If you or your doctor suspect a T3 deficiency, check total and free T3. Testing should always occur before beginning any type of thyroid hormone therapy.
Thyroid Optimization Therapy Consultation
For a consultation about Thyroid Hormone Optimization Therapy, call 480-839-4131 or fill out a consultation request form located throughout the site. We look forward to speaking with you and seeing if Thyroid Optimization Therapy is a good option for you and your health concerns.
All patients always work directly with one of our licensed physicians to ensure patient safety and confidentiality.