Why Thyroid Tests Are Inadequate

When someone develops hypothyroid symptoms they typically go to their medical doctor. The belief among the general public is that their doctor will investigate all the different possibilities of why they’re having symptoms and run the tests needed to identify their problem. This is simply not the case.

It’s kinda like if your house or car gets broken into and you call the police. You expect them to come out with the ‘crime-scene do-not-cross’ tape to secure the crime scene, dust for fingerprints and canvas the neighborhood looking for witnesses but in reality what happens is a policeman comes to your house and fills out a police report for insurance company. If you ask the police officer why more isn’t being done, as I did as a 13 year-old boy when my brother’s car was broken into, you might get the same response that I did – ” We have bigger fish to fry”.

The investigation into the cause of your hypothyroid symptoms is not much better. A standard thyroid screen is only looking for a production problem. The problem with this is production is only one step in a six step process.

The 6 Major Patterns of Hypothyroidism
1. The Order (from the hypothalamus and pituitary)
2. The Production (from the thyroid gland)
3 Thyroid Under-Conversion
4. Over- Conversion & Decreased TBG
5. TBG Elevation
6. Thyroid Resistance

Standard Thyroid Tests
A standard thyroid screening test may only look at your آزمایش TSH level. What’s wrong with that? After all, the TSH is the ‘gold standard’ test for a hypothyroid because there is usually an inverse relationship between the TSH (the signal from the pituitary gland) and thyroid hormone levels – meaning that if you have normal TSH levels you should have enough thyroid hormone.

However, if you had normal test results (normal TSH levels) and you were told that there was nothing wrong with you it could mean that you have a fatigued pituitary. An indication that this may be your problem is a TSH level between 1.0 and 1.7 along with hypothyroid symptoms (TH). What is happening here is that your doctor looks at your TSH level and assumes it means you have normal thyroid levels. If T4 levels are not checked, this will be missed and you could actually have low thyroid hormone levels due to a fatigued pituitary’s inability to place a big enough thyroid hormone order.

How this works is – your thyroid levels are monitored by your hypothalamus (a part of your brain that is referred to as the master regulator) via a feedback loop. When thyroid levels are low the hypothalamus is alerted. In response to the low hormone levels, the hypothalamus sends a signal down to the pituitary gland (often referred to as the master gland because it tells the other endocrine systems when to release their hormones and in what amounts) telling it how much TH is needed. TSH is the signal from the pituitary gland to the thyroid gland telling it how much TH it needs to make. So, if you have low thyroid hormone levels, the TSH will be high and if you have too much thyroid hormone the TSH will be low. There is an inverse relationship between the TSH and TH levels. You can think of the TSH as the order being place for thyroid hormone. If the TSH is high it means that there is a bigger order being placed for thyroid hormone. Therefore, the TSH tells us how much thyroid hormone is being ordered usually.

To give you an idea of why standard thyroid screening tests are woefully inadequate, let’s look at how the thyroid hormone process works from beginning to end. First, low thyroid hormone levels are detected by the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus in turn places an order for thyroid hormone (TRH). Then, an order comes down from the pituitary to the thyroid gland telling it to release thyroid hormone. The thyroid gland then makes and releases thyroid hormone. Once released into the bloodstream the thyroid hormone is bound to proteins (thyroid binding globulins). You can think of these proteins as taxi cabs for thyroid hormones. Next, the thyroid hormone is taken to the liver, gut and peripheral tissue for conversion because 80 -100 percent of thyroid hormone is in the inactive form of T4 and needs to be converted into the active form, T3, to have the effect you’re looking for – an elimination of your hypothyroid symptoms. Finally, the active form of thyroid hormone, T3, has to gain entry to the cell.

The #1 Cause of Hypothyroidism In The United States Is Ignored
As you can see – the production of thyroid hormone is only one part of the equation. But wait, it gets worse. The number one cause of low thyroid hormone production is an autoimmune thyroid called Hashimoto’s – and the antibody tests used to identify Hashimoto’s in NOT included in the standard thyroid screening test. Why not? There is no pill for it. Even if you were diagnosed with Hashimoto’s it wouldn’t affect your treatment. You would still be given thyroid replacement hormones and your real problem – an autoimmune thyroid – would not be treated because modern medicine has no pill for an autoimmune thyroid.

So, as you can see, the odds are not in your favor of being correctly diagnosed using standard thyroid screening tests – TSH, Free T4 and, if you’re lucky a Total T3. Are you beginning to see why over 20 million people continue to suffer with hypothyroid symptoms?

There are medical tests that can identify each of the 6 patterns you could have – including the antibody tests for an autoimmune thyroid but there are no drugs that will correct or mange these other problems. Medical doctors have only three tools in their toolbox for hypothyroidism – thyroid replacement, thyroid radiation and thyroid removal. So, in a strange way, your medical doctor is doing you a favor by not looking for the real cause of your symptoms because their treatment would likely leave you worse off than you are now. After all, you can’t undo radiation or surgery and these treatments rarely, if ever, help with hypothyroid symptoms.

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