Thyroid Disorders
New Criteria for Diagnosis Increases Hypothyroid Population by 100%

Thyroid Disorders New Criteria for Diagnosis Increases Hypothyroid Population by 100%

The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly and is located in the lower front part of your neck (just above the breast bone). The thyroid gland is responsible for secreting thyroid hormones. A hormone is a chemical substance formed in the body that is carried in the bloodstream to affect another part of the body. Thyroid hormones travel through the blood stream and help cells convert oxygen and calories into energy.

Over 20 million Americans suffer from thyroid dysfunction. And over 500,000 new cases of thyroid disease occur each year. However, as staggering as those numbers appear, millions more go undiagnosed. It's estimated that more than 10 million women have a low-grade thyroid dysfunction, which isn't treated. And almost another 8 million people with low thyroid go undiagnosed. Thyroid Gland

Thyroid hormones control a person's metabolism. Metabolism is defined as the sum of all physical and chemical changes that take place within the body; it's all the energy and material transformation that occur within living cells. Every cell in the body depends on having enough thyroid hormone. If your thyroid gland becomes dysfunctional, every cell in the body suffers. This is why thyroid disorders can cause so many problems. Low thyroid is a common finding in chronically ill patients. This is especially true for those suffering with anxiety, depression, heart disease, and asthma.

Hypothyroid is commonly described as an under-active or sluggish thyroid, but there is more to it than just thyroid activity. Sometimes the problem is thyroid hormone imbalance, primarily underproduction of the thyroid's main hormone, thyroxine (T4). But T4 also has to be converted into it's active form, triodothyronine (T3), by the liver. It then has to be efficiently utilized by the body. Disruption in any one of these processes can contribute to hypothyroidism symptoms.

Notably, women are far more likely than men to be afflicted with thyroid problems. The great majority of these women suffer from hypothyroidism, which leads to fatigue, weight gain, depression, high cholesterol and other symptoms. A fraction suffer from hyperthyroidism, which is an overactive thyroid.

Understanding Thyroid Hormones, T3, T4, AND TSH

When your thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, this is known as hyperthyroid. When your thyroid doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone, it's called hypothyroid. The hypothalamus stimulates the pituitary gland to produce thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH then stimulates the thyroid gland to produce and release the hormone, thyroxine (T4). T4 hormone is then converted into the more active, triiodothyronine (T3). T3 hormone is essential for life and four times more active than T4. You can live without T4 but not without T3. If T4 doesn't convert into active T3, symptoms of low thyroid start to show up. This can happen in spite of a normal TSH blood test reading.

Chronic Stress Leads to Low Thyroid

The symptoms of low thyroid tend to come on or become worse after a major stressful event. Childbirth, divorce, death of a loved one, job or family stress, chronic illness, surgery, trauma, excessive dieting, and other stressful events can all lead to hypothyroidism. Under significant physical, mental, or emotional stress, the body slows down the metabolism by decreasing the amount of raw material (T4) that is converted to the active thyroid hormone (T3). This is done to conserve energy. However, when the stress is over, the metabolism is supposed to speed up and return to normal. This process can become derailed by a buildup of reverse T3 (rT3) hormone. Reverse T3 can build to such high levels that it begins to start using up the enzyme that converts T4 to T3. The more stress the more likely rT3 can block T4 from converting into T3.

Millions of Americans Have Been Misdiagnosed, Blood Tests are Often Inaccurate

In the last year, the lab values for measuring TSH have dropped from 6 to 3.04. This is an almost 50% reduction. Dr. Broda Barnes, a pioneer in treating thyroid disorders, has been advocating a reduction in the TSH level for decades. Millions of Americans have been misdiagnosed with normal thyroid function based on the old test parameters. Individuals who had a TSH blood levels between 3.05 and 6 were told that they were normal.

Many of those with low or hypothyroid simply fall through the cracks, Like Alison K.

"I really felt terrible most of the time. I had no energy at all. I gained 40 pounds over the last year even though I ate very little and tried to follow my Weight Watcher's program. I kept cutting my calorie intake and even started skipping meals in an attempt to lose weight. The less I ate the worse I felt. I had numerous sinus infections, which I had never had before. My hair was falling out, I had tingling pain in my hands and feet and always felt cold even in the summer. I had this constant ringing in my ears. I was depressed or anxious a good deal of the time. Every doctor I consulted said that my blood tests were normal and it must be my fibromyalgia that was causing me to feel so bad. I knew something was wrong with me, but I couldn't find anyone who could help me. One doctor said I had all the symptoms of low thyroid. But, the endocrinologist she referred me to, said all my tests were normal. How could my thyroid be normal when I have all the symptoms of hypothyroid?" Allison's story is a typical one.

You have all the symptoms of hypothyroid but your blood work look fine

Doctors are typically reluctant to prescribe thyroid replacement therapy without a definitive test that reveals true hypothyroid. They're afraid that by doing so, they would jeopardize the health of the patient. And true, excess thyroid can cause several unwanted health problems, including elevated heart rate, rapid pulse, and accelerated bone loss. However, millions suffer with symptoms far worse then these when prescription therapy is withheld. Certainly the dangers of thyroid replacement therapy should be a concern. But, if you weigh the pros and cons of administering thyroid replacement therapy to a patient with normal blood tests, yet all the symptoms of hypothyroid, fatigue, anxiety, depression, achy diffuse pain, weight gain, etc., it's easy to see that withholding therapy should be considered malpractice. This is especially true in light of the fact that many of these patients are taking numerous, potential dangerous drugs, to cover-up the symptoms of hypothyroid; Provigil or Aderall to increase energy, antibiotics for chronic sinus infections, a laxative for constipation, NSAIDs for pain, SSRI medication for depression, Neurontin for tingling in the hands and feet, and perhaps a benzodiazepine like Ativan or Xanax for anxiety. All of these drugs may cause side effects that may cause further symptoms (poor sleep, fatigue, depression, etc.). Dr Murphree states it is not uncommon for patients to be able to drastically reduce or eventually wean off these very medications once their thyroid disorder is corrected.

New Criteria for Diagnosis Increases Hypothyroid Population by 100%

You could have a thyroid problem and the doctors have not diagnosed it yet. New standards have been put in place to diagnose at the early stages of thyroid disease.

Blood tests for thyroid function measure the amount of TSH, T4, and T3 in the bloodstream. But thyroid hormones don't operate within the bloodstream; the action takes place in the cells themselves. Blood tests are measuring how much thyroid hormone is swimming around in the blood stream, but not what is in the cell. Traditional medical professionals know that thyroid blood tests are less than perfect.

The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry has reported: Laboratory blood tests for thyroid may be inaccurate for many who get tested for hypothyroid disorder.

Compounding the problem of using standard blood tests to diagnose hypothyroid is the inability of doctors to agree on the laboratory parameters. According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) guidelines, doctors have typically been basing their diagnoses on the "normal" range for the TSH test. The typical normal TSH levels at most laboratories, has fallen between the 0.5 to 5.0 range. Those with a TSH below .5 are considered to have too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroid). Those whose test results are above 5 are considered to have too little thyroid (hypothyroid). However, it's not uncommon to find doctors, including endocrinologists (thyroid specialist), who withhold the diagnoses and treatment of hypothyroid until a patient's TSH tests read considerably above 10. While some doctors believe that anyone who has a TSH above 2 and complains of hypothyroid symptoms (depression, fatigue, brain fog, etc.) should be placed on thyroid hormone. While doctors often debate which parameters or numbers are correct, millions of low thyroid patients are not properly diagnosed and treated.

The new guidelines (2003) narrow the range for acceptable thyroid function and the AACE is now encouraging doctors to consider thyroid treatment for patients who test the target TSH level of 0.3 to 3.04, a far narrower range. AACE believes the new range will result in proper diagnosis for millions of Americans who suffer from a mild thyroid disorder but have gone untreated until now.

At a press conference, Hossein Gharib, MD, FACE, and president of AACE, said: "This means that there are more people with minor thyroid abnormalities than previously perceived."

AACE estimates that the new guidelines actually double the number of people who have abnormal thyroid function, bringing the total to as many as 27 million, up from 13 million thought to have the condition under the old guidelines.

Some doctors think TSH levels should be reduced even further. They believe that TSH levels above 2.0 should be treated as hypothyroid.

  • Past Normal Adult Range: .5 - 6 miliIU/L

  • New Optimal Range For Adults: .5 - 3.04 miliIU/L

This is a significant change for those that believe they may have a thyroid condition but the numbers don't back it up.

Dosage recommendations

Dr Murphree starts his patients on one Thyroid Blend twice a day. It is best to take on an empty stomach (30 minutes before or 90 minutes after eating). He encourages his patients not to take the second dose any later than 3 p.m. He also advises his patients to monitor their basal or oral temperatures (preferably with mercury thermometer). After two weeks, if their temperature is not going up, he has them increase the dose to two Thyroid Blend's in the morning and one in the afternoon.

If their temperature still doesn't increase to at least 98.0, consider adding an additional Thyroid Blend in the afternoon (total of 4 a day). If their temperature continues to run low and their symptoms haven't improved, it may be time to look for other areas that need attention, perhaps low adrenal function.

Is is always recommend that you continue to monitor your temperatures once beginning hormones or Thyroid Blend. Your metabolism may increase rather quickly. This can lead to rapid weight loss if they're taking more than they need. By monitoring your temperatures you can adjust the dose of Thyroid Blend so that you remain at optimal metabolic levels.

Because nutrition is involved in every aspect of thyroxine (T4) production, utilization, and conversion to triiodthyronine (T3) Dr Murphree always recommends taking a good optimal daily allowance multivitamin. The mineral zinc, along with iodine, vitamins A, B2, B3, B6 and C, as well as the amino acid tyrosine, are all needed for the production of thyroxine (T4) hormone. Selenium is needed to convert T4 to T3. A selenium deficiency can cause thyroid dysfunction. These two formulas are wonderful when used together.