KEY TIP: TSH, Free T4, Free T3, and thyroid antibodies tests, as well as a full clinical thyroid examination, are needed before thyroid disease can be ruled out.
3. Do You Know Where to Find a Great Doctor Who "Gets" Thyroid Disease?
Doctors love to say "thyroid disease is easy to diagnose and easy to treat," but this mantra doesn't seem to bear out in reality. When it comes to diagnosing and treating thyroid problems, for example, practitioners fall into one of two camps.
First are the conventional endocrinologists and physicians, who believe that symptoms are irrelevant, and that thyroid problems should be diagnosed solely by looking at the results of the TSH test, and that hypothyroidism should be treated solely with the synthetic thyroid medication levothyroxine (i.e., Synthroid), and hyperthyroidism means that the thyroid must be permanently disabled with radioactive iodine (RAI) right away, causing hypothyroidism. These doctors are most concerned with normalizing thyroid blood test results, and don't care particularly whether or not symptoms are relieved, or what additional problems develop as a result of treatments.
Second are the integrative physicians, some endocrinologists, gynecologists and hormone experts, and holistic practitioners who believe that thyroid problems are diagnosed by actually practicing medicine. That means, evaluating symptoms, performing a clinical exam, taking a medical history, and performing various blood tests. These practitioners also believe that treating thyroid disease means finding the best treatment that can safely resolve symptoms. These practitioners are frequently open to treating hypothyroidism with the addition of T3 medications like Cytomel or time-released T3, or prescription of
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