A Breakthrough in Comprehensive Home Testing
Amid book tour, lectures, and coaching, we have had the distinct opportunity in recent months to talk individually with health consumers from all over the country. There is a recurring theme (which to many of you will be no surprise) that doctors, especially endocrinologists, are not listening to you. We have known of this dilemma for years, but what's news is just how pervasive and persistent this problem is!
The endocrinologists especially seem perhaps overwhelmed with diabetes care, resulting in less-than-proper numbers of people being diagnosed with other hormonal challenges, and furthermore resulting in less-than-optimal care for those who are diagnosed. So what are you to do to achieve a better result?
One of the main reasons that borderline thyroid sufferers are not getting diagnosed is the tyranny of the TSH test, coupled with the fact that blood tests in general do not always reflect the true metabolic state. Often, our true hormonal levels are better represented by measurement from the tissues themselves (where hormones take their action), rather than measuring the bloodstream (where hormones are inactive and tightly bound to transport proteins). A simple home test, not by blood but rather with blood spot, can frequently yield a different and more representative result.
In our SF Bay area clinic, a number of people with severe thyroid symptoms [who were either not diagnosed or not adequately treated] found that salivary testing became the deciding factor in improving their care. Particularly for those with borderline conditions, this testing-now available without a doctor's prescription- can more readily pinpoint subtle imbalances.
Another major reason for mis-diagnosis and inadequate treatment is the crucial issue of concurrent adrenal and/or sex hormone insufficiency. Truly advanced thyroid care involves an accurate evaluation of adrenal and reproductive hormones, since these glands coupled with thyroid constitute an important metabolic triad.
As you know, excess estrogen is anti-thyroid; the more estrogen increases, the more thyroid-binding globulin is in your bloodstream. This keeps your blood readings for thyroid hormone high, but your tissues actually starved for thyroid hormone. Your blood tests may look good, while you continue to feel lousy.
Also keep in mind that the very important conversion of T4 into active thyroid hormone (T3) requires the right amount of adrenal hormone. Too much - or too little - cortisol interferes with this important conversion mechanism. Some researchers suggest that proper levels of cortisol are needed for thyroid to enter our cells from the bloodstream in the first place.
Standard blood tests are often surprisingly poor measurements of the level of adrenal and sex hormones in the tissues. Much more accurate determinations are made via saliva, which is a truer representation of the amount of free and available hormone.
For these reasons, we would like to invite each of you to participate in a consumer-advocacy group (www.CanaryClub.Org) that will help you measure more accurately the level of thyroid, adrenal, and sex hormones currently in your tissues. The Canary Club was started by two courageous California women who had been through the mill with ineffective testing resulting in inadequate care. They are now ready and willing to work with you to create an effective vehicle for healthy change.
This consumer advocacy group allows people from all over the country to self-order a home hormone test kit for concurrent evaluation of these three major hormones.
Please realize that we are not suggesting you forgo any blood testing you - or your doctor - might want to order. We're simply recommending that, in addition to whatever regular care you have received so far, you might want to further evaluate your thyroid, adrenal, and reproductive hormone status via home saliva and blood spot testing.
You can order your home test kit simply by logging onto the site (www.CanaryClub.org ), becoming a member (it's free), and ordering a test kit.
How to interpret your results is the title of a separate article posted on the Canary Club website. More interpretation and treatment information is available in our book FEELING FAT, FUZZY OR FRAZZLED? (Penguin/Hudson St. Press 2005).
And - for those very difficult problems, we are available for telephone appointments and advanced thyroid coaching via our website www.FeelingFFF.com (click on appointments) should that be necessary.
Most of the time, however, the information from your results can be very useful to you and your practitioners, helping you to either move into a thyroid diagnosis with an accompanying treatment program, or to enhance your current protocol if you have been diagnosed but would like to feel even better.
We hope you take advantage of this exciting new opportunity. This is the same testing we use at our Preventive Medicine Center of Marin offices, where we both see individual patients in San Rafael, CA. This type of testing is being increasingly utilized by health practitioners from all over the country (except the state of New York, which does not yet allow access to saliva testing.
Finally, we encourage each of you to become engaged in other activities of the Canary Club, an environmental organization that will allow thyroid sufferers to create a collective and mighty voice for change. Currently pollution is wrecking the thyroid balance of our society; our new book discusses this epidemic. A great many synthetic chemicals in the air, food and water are significant hormone disruptors, slowing down our delicate thyroid function. There is a lot we can do about this, both individually and collectively.
Please join the Canary chorus, maybe even become a local group leader, and help to inspire the needed changes to reverse this epidemic. There are 40-50 million Americans facing these environmentally-induced (genetically enhanced) gland problems. Help the Canary Club rival the numbers in AARP to be sure our voices are heard on these important and delicate hormone-related issues.
Together we can reclaim our health, and our environment. Speak out now!
Karilee Shames PhD, RN, A-HNC
Richard L. Shames MD
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