Monday, August 12, 2013
Tests OK, but some thyroid patients complain
Groups include Thyroid Change, Thyroid Patient Advocacy, and the National Academy of Hypothyroidism. (Please Google these sites--because the aforementioned Google does not want urls on these blogs or some dumb thing I don't get.)
The thyroid gland (in the neck) regulates almost all other organs. If it is screwed up, you gain weight, lose hair, feel like crap, sleep a lot, and can be constipated and achy. A tenth of a percent to 5% of people in Western nations have problems, mostly middle-aged women.
Most hypothyroidism (underperforming) comes from Hashimoto's Disease, an autoimmune thing where the body's immune system attacks the thyroid.
The test is of TSH--Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. A higher TSH means more underperformance. But TSH can vary within a person, so sometimes an ultrasound and family history help pinpoint trouble.
The guidelines generally call for prescription levothyroxine, a synthetic version of the T4 produced by the thyroid.
Now some patients want a combo of synthetic and animal extracts (these contain T3 and T4). This stuff is called Dessicated Thyroid Extract (DTE).
In some--repeat, some--patients DTE can clean up remaining symptoms not handled by the traditional therapy. But--among other things--in one study, adding DTE did not add to quality of life.
So read, think, ask, and be careful.