Friday, January 10, 2014

The Trouble With Tests

The trouble with tests is that they often don't help your find out what is really going wrong in you so you can see about fixing it. They can be helpful and in many situations they are, however, in dealing with your thyroid Dr. Peatfield in his book Your Thyroid and How to Keep It Healthy has some enlightening things to say about tests and you thyroid.

Dr. Peatfield says,

"The problem with the blood test is that it is a bit like looking up the answers in the back, to save one the fag of thinking. Then there is the obligation to do a blood test, which has become fashionable and the done thing to do, even though it is probably not always necessary. This is the hospital specialist’s approach and it is taken to an extreme in the USA (and pretty much so in the UK). All patients in the USA carry around with them a vast battery of test results (at huge expense) and the excellence, or otherwise, of the specialist is judged by the number of tests he orders. We find ourselves in the grip of a medico-technocracy. The blood test is god, and eventually takes over the diagnostic process. I deeply deplore this state of affairs, since I was taught and have never had any reason to doubt, that the best diagnostic weapons of all are the Mark I eyeball and the Mark I earhole. Look and listen. The other excellent lesson I learnt was that if the blood test doesn’t bear out your diagnosis, believe in your own learning and experience. In no branch of medicine is this more true than that of thyroid medicine. Since 1898 doctors have been diagnosing hypothyroidism, but in the last three or four decades medical dogma has come to say, you cannot and must not make the diagnosis without THE BLOOD TEST. There have been about 40 different tests for thyroid illness because not one has been found to be reliable." -Chapter six, hypothyroidism: the signs

Durrant-Peatfield, Barry (2012-10-04). Your Thyroid and How to Keep it Healthy: Second edition of The Great Thyroid Scandal and How to Avoid It (Kindle Locations 1000-1006). Hammersmith Books Limited. Kindle Edition. 

This is turning out to be true with me. I have had my blood work done with emphasis on the thyroid several times in the last 4 years and I have always tested within range maybe slightly low but nothing to worry about. However I still have many signs or symptoms of hypothyroidism: fatigue, weight gain, low temperature, mental slowness or losing the mental grasp, headaches, dry skin, poor resistance to infection, anemia, and a few others (see the list below I have starred* all that apply to myself)  My metabolic temperature experiment I posted about recently shows I am well below normal. In fact one quick way to see if you even need to plot your temps is to take your temperature just as you are waking up. I kept a thermometer just beside my bed and when I was first aware I was awake I rolled over and popped in the thermometer. If you are below 97.6 F then you are likely dealing with some degree of hypothyroidism. I had temps of 97.1 F and 97.4 F. So.......hmmm.....I have the symptoms, my temperature test shows it, should I trust the blood test?

Dr, Peatfield says,

"When I was first a doctor, a blood test called the plasma bound iodine (PBI) was becoming the rage. Only trouble was it kept finding perfectly normal patients hypothyroid and missing obviously sick people. Eventually, it was decided that iodine in the apparatus, and in the air of the laboratory itself, was contaminating all the results. So the test was dropped. But not to be put off, other tests were brought out, hailed as the deus ex machina, and the fact that obviously hypothyroid patients were still being missed, ignored. This is the problem with thyroid blood tests today."

Durrant-Peatfield, Barry (2012-10-04). Your Thyroid and How to Keep it Healthy: Second edition of The Great Thyroid Scandal and How to Avoid It (Kindle Locations 1010-1014). Hammersmith Books Limited. Kindle Edition. 

Dr. Peatfield recommends...

"With early hypothyroidism, the signs may not be all that striking, although the story should be pretty convincing. This is one reason why blood tests are turned to – especially if you haven’t time to listen to the patient. But there is another simple sign, which will virtually without exception, put the matter beyond doubt. Originally reported in August 1942 in the Journal of the American Medical Association and later described in the Lancet in 1945 – and as true today as it was then – by Dr Broda Barnes, it has the merit of extreme simplicity, and anyone can do it for themselves. It is called the basal temperature test."

Durrant-Peatfield, Barry (2012-10-04). Your Thyroid and How to Keep it Healthy: Second edition of The Great Thyroid Scandal and How to Avoid It (Kindle Locations 1032-1037). Hammersmith Books Limited. Kindle Edition. 

How to do the basal temperature test can be found at Dr. Rinds website and I posted about it here.

The signs/symptoms Dr. Peatfield looked for are:

*Constipation & flatulence
*Poor sleep
*Slow speech
*Slow thinking
Memory loss
Thick tongue
Hoarse voice
Thickness of neck
*Visual disturbances
Deafness & tinnitus
Ankle swelling
Puffy face & eyelids
*Bladder irritation & frequency
Painful, irregular periods
Early menopause
Low fertility & loss of libido
Frequency of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI)
Frequency of urinary tract infections (UTI)
*Fatigue - excessive tiredness
*Muscle weakness
*Weight gain
Shooting pains in hands and feet
*Muscle & joint pain and stiffness
Diminished sweating
*Intolerance to cold and heat
Pallor - yellowish tinge to skin
Bluish lips
Dry coarse skin
*Brittle nails
*Boils & spots Eczema & psoriasis
Thinning hair
Loss of body hair
Loss of outer eyebrows
*Low basal temperature
*Soft and weakened pulse
Umbilical hernia
Albuminuria Bruising
Cold hands and feet
Slowed Achilles reflex
Scalloped tongue
Liver tenderness & enlargement
Abdominal distension
Clinical anaemia

He also says this,

"Let it be said at once, that there may be so many symptoms that if the patient doesn’t think he or she is a hypochondriac, the doctor certainly may. As I said earlier, low thyroid can affect the working of any or all bodily systems. The particular mix of symptoms will depend on the person themselves, the severity of the deficiency and the length of time it’s all been going on. But there are symptoms which invariably occur and several of them together should arouse a high index of suspicion. Some of these you have come across already, but I will go through them again. I make no apology for the length of the list and I don’t want you skipping them."

Durrant-Peatfield, Barry (2012-10-04). Your Thyroid and How to Keep it Healthy: Second edition of The Great Thyroid Scandal and How to Avoid It (Kindle Locations 775-779). Hammersmith Books Limited. Kindle Edition. 

In the end it is your body and your life. Dr. Peatfield in his book has given great encouragement to the reader that we can do this ourselves. We can make notes of our symptoms, do the temperature tests, buy the supplements and keep a tab on how they effect us. I for one am grateful for this freedom and encouragement to manage my health by myself. It will save me time and money. Thank Dr. Peatfield I wish there were more Doc's Like you out there.

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