Hypothyroidism, Health & Happiness: A Preview
I received a complimentary copy of the book, Hypothyroidism, Health & Happiness: The Riddle of Illness, by Dr. Steven F. Hotze, M.D., in the mail yesterday – one of the perks of my job. I told you I would be reviewing it, and I will. Once I set aside some time to actually read it.
However, I did glance through it last night, and read through some of the chapters which caught my attention. I was particularly interested in the notion that low iodine levels contribute to hypothyroidism. Something I did not know, and frankly, in all my reading to date on hypothyroidism, have never run across.
In fact, the first time I became aware of it was reading holistic practitioner Loretta Lanphier’s article “Hypthyroidism Symptoms and Solutions” which I told you about last week. I suspect it’s not new information to physicians and medical practitioners, but to me it is. Though Dr. Hotze does point out in his book that since Americans receive iodine in iodized salt in our diet, hypothyroidism due to low iodine levels is actually pretty rare in this country. This might explain why I have not run across this in any of my reading.
One of the issues I’ve been particularly fascinated with when it comes to hypothyroidism is the resistance of the medical community to actually diagnose it. It was Dr. Hotze who first brought this “phenomenon” if you will, to my attention. He addresses it again in this book, and says it is due primarily to how medicine views laboratory tests.
According to Dr. Hotze, “normal values” are arbitrary. Testing standards for hypothyroidism have changed over time, and lab results often don’t match clinical experience. When testing for hypothyroidism, most physicians use TSH levels (a hormone produced by the pituitary gland) as the benchmark. But the range of what is considered normal, says Dr. Hotze, is as “wide as the Grand Canyon.”
Furthermore, says Dr. Hotze, changes in testing standards between 1991 and 2012 are the result of the aging baby boomer population, which skews normal values to a low end. Normal values which are not appropriate for testing the population at large.
If you are not a statistician, what this means is that testing standards that might work for one group of patients don't necessarily work for another group. Yet, the medical community consistently uses the same testing standards for everyone, without consideration for variables (like age) which can affect the outcome of a test.
The other issue which Dr. Hotze raises, specifically that “test results not matching clinical experience,” is for me, probably the most significant. Plainly put, Dr. Hotze believes that a patient’s testimony of how they feel and how they physically look is a far more accurate barometer for a diagnosis than a lab test.
“Patient’s don’t lie; lab tests do” is Dr. Hotze’s mantra when it comes to diagnosing a patient. Which is one of the key reasons he actually listens to his patients. “I will always believe patients before believing a lab test.” Says Dr. Hotze.
Personally, I would like it if more physicians felt this way, to tell you the truth. For women going through perimenopause who might also be suffering with hypothyroidism, having a physician who actually listens would be nothing short of revolutionary.
Once I read through the book, I will offer a more thorough review, either here or at The Perimenopause Blog. In the meantime, if you’re interested in picking up at copy for yourself, you can find it on Amazon.com
Magnolia Miller is a certified healthcare consumer advocate in women's health and a women's freelance health writer and blogger at The Perimenopause Blog.