Issue #2 June 4,2012

Welcome to this edition of Know Your Thyroid.

Today’s essay is from Bette Dowdell.

She has been dealing with thyroid and endocrine problems for years.

Her insight and knowledge is invaluable.

Enjoy today’s issue.

Optimizing the Conversation

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced plans to make some drugs available without a prescription.
Rather than go to a doctor, patients would go to a kiosk, select an appropriate health topic (and why do I get visions of the typical “help” site suggesting irrelevant topics?) and answer some questions (no word on how many multiple-choice questions you’ll encounter).
Based on your answers, the kiosk computer will kick out a prescription or so.
Well, the whole thing boggles the mind. It assumes patients know what’s wrong with them. And aren’t too sick to stand there clicking away on their answers for as long as it takes. And if they make a mistake, what then? Questions as far as the eye can see.
I’ll guarantee you one thing, though. Five minutes after this abomination goes live, the web will have instructions on how addicts can get what they want. Topic, questions, the whole magilla.
Only sick people will have to fend for themselves.
The FDA says it’s about saving money. Pharmacists think it’s a swell idea. Doctors, not so much.
I mention all this because even dumb ideas can present an opportunity.
If it’s about saving money, the poobahs need to know the high cost of current medical care for patients with low thyroid–which includes about half the population, mostly undiagnosed.
We need to talk the subject up–loudly and at great length.
Before the 1960s when Big Pharma came up with thyroid blood tests and Synthroid, doctors used symptoms to diagnose thyroid problems and prescribed natural, bio-identical thyroid hormone, such as Armour. It was a great system.
In fact, anybody could buy Armour over-the-counter in years gone by, and that worked great, too. Then the poobahs said we were entirely too uneducated to know anything about our own health issues and made it a prescription med.
Nowadays doctors hold up hoops we need to jump through, such as blood tests. Well, the tests don’t work–as anybody with thyroid problems will gladly tell you. But doctors don’t have time to listen to symptoms, so blood tests rule.
The thyroid med of choice, Synthroid, doesn’t work either. In fact, it makes things worse. No matter! Full speed ahead! Synthroid forever!
Here’s how we got here: Drug companies make big-time boodles of money via patenting their inventions. You can’t get a patent on a natural substance, so they create what’s known an isolate.
An isolate comes from stripping out everything but one, isolated part of something originally more complex. Then they tweak the isolate so it doesn’t quite resemble the original part.
Our bodies don’t like isolates. That’s why prescription meds kill more than 100,000 people a year in the U.S. alone.
Synthroid is an isolate, and what with the isolating and the tweaking, our bodies don’t even recognize it when it comes down the hatch. Doctors assure us our bodies convert Synthroid’s T4 isolate to the T3 we need. But if our bodies can’t recognize the “new and different” (i.e. fake) Synthroid, how would they know what to do with it?
Here’s the problem: Med schools teach from the Big Pharma hymnal. Would-be doctors are taught that Armour is unreliable (which it’s not), high doses cause osteoporosis (which they don’t) and should be avoided (which stands truth on its head).
Medicare won’t cover Armour–or any other natural, the-way-God-made-it thyroid med. Military doctors aren’t allowed to prescribe it. Many HMOs ban it.
Why is this important? I mean, besides the fact we drag through life, day after day, depressed, brain befogged, fatigued beyond belief and generally in a lot less than joyful good health.
Untreated low thyroid doubles your risk of heart disease. And Synthroid does nothing to reduce the risk. Do you have a calculator powerful enough to crunch that expense?
Untreated low thyroid causes osteoporosis. Synthroid actually makes it worse. Disability and nursing home care cost big, big bucks.
Untreated low thyroid causes our parathyroid glands to run amok–especially if we follow doctors’ orders to take calcium. Needless to say, Synthroid drops the ball here, too. Well, when the parathyroids get whacked, Katy bar the money door!
Untreated low thyroid creates low stomach acid, which prevents us from using the protein in our diet to create muscle and the enzymes we need to keep life perking along. And since low stomach acid has the same symptoms as high stomach acid, we get a prescription for an antacid, which makes the whole mess worse. (And I can’t imagine a kiosk suggesting anything else, can you?)
And if we can’t digest protein, we end up with leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome–or whatever they decide to call the results of undigested protein wandering where it doesn’t belong. And still no help from Synthroid. Gut problems cost unbelievable amounts of money.
Plus, untreated low thyroid sounds the alarm to all the other one-for-all, all-for-one endocrine glands, to jump in and help. Unfortunately, the mountain is too high, and one gland after another crashes and burns.
Then cometh diabetes, adrenal problems, immune system problems–one thing, then another and another, all as expensive as all get out and all taking us downhill, simply because medicine won’t properly treat low thyroid.
So now that the cost of health care is on the table, courtesy of the FDA, let’s make some noise.
Go to, find out who represents you and call, write and/or fax, as often as you can and more often than you want to, and suggest the fabulous, money-saving idea of making Armour thyroid available without a prescription.
Oh, yeah, the medical poobahs will insist we’re too dumb, unreliable and/or reckless to handle such a responsibility. But how bright, reliable and/or responsible are they in causing this predicament? We’re smart people, adults with good common sense. If anybody can handle this responsibility, it’s us.
Since they don’t want to prescribe Armour, why not sell it over-the-counter, which worked well back in the day, and let us take responsibility for our own health?
And if they argue, ask why they’re willing to sell Tylenol, which damages the liver and wreaks all kinds of havoc, over-the-counter, but not Armour, which does so much good?
Those outside the U.S. should make noise, too. Call, write or e-mail your representatives as often as possible. Your thyroid glands are also in the dumpster, and many of you can’t get Armour at all, even by prescription, no matter how many hoops you jump through.
Whatever their agenda with this announcement, the FDA put the non-prescription solution to medical costs idea on the table. If enough of us make a noise–and don’t let up, but badger them into a frenzy–maybe then they’ll listen to our evidence-based arguments.
Sure it’s a long shot, but it beats rolling over and playing dead. Then we have no shot at all. Make some noise. Forward this e-mail far and wide. Encourage others to join the battle.
Until next time then.
God is good,

Bette Dowdell
P.S. Remember. I’m not a doctor, just a patient like you. Luckily for both of us, I’ve been studying this stuff for years. Knowledge is power.

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