Today’s health tip concerns blood tests.
As I’m sure many of you have experienced, most doctors and even some alternative care practitioners rely heavily on test results.
The most commonly ordered are TSH and T4. Some doctors won’t order anything other than TSH. And many labs now do what is called a TSH cascade, which means they only test more than TSH if TSH is out of range.
Which it isn’t, a lot of the time. Regardless of how lousy you feel.
Lately, several people have posted questions regarding their lab values.
In most cases, I can’t give a good answer.
I’m not trying to be a jerk, it’s because lab tests are flawed. They are not the be all and end all.
They do not provide answers by themselves.
With Hashimoto’s, what you feel, the symptoms you have, are clinically significant and diagnostically important.
And here’s why this is especially true of TSH.
TSH is thyroid stimulating hormone. It is released by the pituitary gland to signal the thyroid to release thyroid hormone.
And research has found that the pituitary does not absorb thyroid hormone in the same way that the rest of the cells in the body do.
A recent study published by the European Thyroid Association looked into the question of whether or not TSH and the amount of thyroid hormone in the cells of the body were directly correlated and why T4 was sometimes poorly absorbed.
Another study from the British Medical Journal showed that TSH levels had no correlation with tissue thyroid levels and could not be used to determine a proper or optimal thyroid replacement dose.
The authors concluded that “TSH is a poor measure for estimating the clinical and metabolic severity of primary overt thyroid failure. … We found no correlations between the different parameters of target tissues and serum TSH.”
Do want to know what your test results mean? Look at them in the context of how you feel. A thorough assessment of your signs and symptoms is, by far, the best way to understand how you feel.
Trust your body. It will tell you whether or not what you are doing is working.