(The following has been written by thyroid patient Joyce Bickford)

Since the 1970s,  several new health issues and diseases have been “discovered”. In 1980, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia were first noted. High cholesterol wasn’t considered a widespread health problem until the 1970s, and Depression has become an epidemic. In 1982, Osteoporosis also became a health issue.

In fact, all these health issues have become closely related to undiagnosed or undertreated hypothyroidism.

The TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test was created in 1973. It is used to diagnose thyroid problems, but it measures a hormone from the pituitary gland, not the thyroid. A feedback loop exists in your body where the pituitary gland produces more or less thyroid stimulating hormone in response to the level of thyroid hormones in the bloodstream, and the thyroid produces more or less hormone based on the level of TSH. The normal range for the TSH test has been lowered several times, (the AACE, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, now recommends a range from 0.3 to 3.0), yet patients are not diagnosed until the TSH is much higher than the 3.3. In the case of autoimmune thyroid problems, the TSH can be within the normal range, yet antibodies are attacking the thyroid. Even the AACE estimates that as many as 1 in 5 Americans suffers from hypothyroidism.

A human thyroid produces T4, T3, T2, T1 and calcitonin. For nearly 100 years, hypothyroid patients were given desiccated porcine thyroid (dried thyroid gland from pigs), and doses were increased until all symptoms were gone. Synthroid became the treatment of choice for hypothyroidism by the 1970s. This new drug contains only the storage thyroid hormone known as T4, leaving patients undertreated.

Cholesterol is essential to your body. It is the precursor of pregnenolone, which Dr. Peatfield called “grandmother of the adrenal hormones”. It is needed for development of the brain and nervous system, and for fertilization and fetal health. In the skin, under sunlight, cholesterol produces vitamin D. In the 1960s, Dr. Broda Barnes proved that when thyroid function is low, the cholesterol level in the blood rises, and when thyroid hormone is administered, the level drops again. Yet, according to Dr. Joseph Mercola, at least 12 million Americans take cholesterol-lowering drugs, mostly statins.

Dr. John C. Lowe, has documented clear relationships between fibromyalgia and thyroid function. In fact, fibromyalgia patients benefit from thyroid treatment that includes the T3 hormone. Similarly, in the magazine “Alternative Medicine”, Dr. Raphael Kellman indicated that an underactive thyroid may be the cause of Chronic Fatigue.

From an article by Irene Aleger, “ The myth of osteoporosis began with the selling of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). With no evidence that HRT would even prevent or treat osteoporosis, a major promotional campaign in 1982 by the pharmaceutical company producing the synthetic hormone, suggested that it could prevent this disfiguring and disabling disease. Most disturbing, was the idea promulgated that all women are at risk for osteoporosis, after menopause.” And as for depression, is there a woman with hypothyroid symptoms who has not at least been offered an anti-depressant by her doctor?

The truth is that when hypothyroid patients are not diagnosed, or are inadequately treated with T4-only medications, the pharmaceutical companies make a fortune from the drugs prescribed to treat what are essentially hypothyroid symptoms. Abbott Labs made $541.3 million in 2000 on Synthroid alone. SSRIs are widely prescribed for depression; add in the profit the drug companies make from statins for cholesterol, pain medications for fibromyalgia, sleep aids for CFS and Fosamax for osteoporosis and the amount is staggering.

Do you really want to pay that price?