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Nevadan

Member Since 19 Jun 2005
Offline Last Active Jan 06 2014 09:42 AM
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Topics I've Started

Worried About Cholesterol?

14 April 2007 - 08:42 AM

This is OT, but since most folks here are into being healthy, and I found this book so interesting, I thought I would point it out anyway. The book is "The Great Cholesterol Con" by Anthony Colpo. It basically reviews most of the studies that have been done on cholesterol and heart disease and rather convincingly exposes the fact that a lot of us have been conned. After summarizing study after study and paper after paper, his arguments are pretty convincing. He proposes no "silver bullets" or magic diets, but does offer general guidance.

His main conclusion supported by lots of references is that heart disease is not caused by cholesterol or saturated fats (I never thought I'd see the day that I would consider saturated fats as good food, but this book certainly has me reconsidering that). Moreover, statin drugs do not have nearly the great scientific backing that we are led to believe. For instance, when one looks at the various studies quoted to support the sale and use of statins, there are indeed cases in which various heart diseases have been reduced; however, if one also looks at overall mortality from all causes there is often no improvement - in many cases the statins do a good job shortening lives due to non-cardiac events.

He devotes quite a bit of the book to discussing various studies that can explain what does cause heart disease. These include stress, being overweight, eating a poor diet (lots of info here), lack of exercise, etc.

The book isn't particularly cheap (~$25) and it's a pretty long read, but I found it to be one of the best books on heart disease, and other diseases such as cancer, that I have read.

"how Doctors Think"

27 March 2007 - 09:27 PM

Most foks who frequent this forum will have no trouble identifying with the case history presented in the introduction: 30 yr old female who has seen as many as 30 drs over the past 15 yrs, dx'ed with eating disorders and mental issues. In this case she finally sees a dr who correctly dx's her with celiac disease!

Jerome Groopman, the author, tries to explain how dr's think to make their dx's and most importantly how the patient can influence the accuracy of these dx's. I think the book could be extremely helpful to many reading this forum. It's about $15 at Barnes & Noble, probably less at Amazon. Besides it's a very interesting and entertaining read.

Thyroid Testing

09 February 2007 - 06:31 PM

I see several thyroid threads here and since I've been doing a lot of thyroid research lately for myself, I thought what I've found might be worth sharing. Sorry if it bores anyone.

The thyroid gland generates several hormones (T1, T2, T3, T4, calcitonin, and probably some others). It is controlled by the pituitary gland which generates "thyroid stimulating hormone" (TSH). When everything is working correctly the pituitary gland increases the TSH level when the thyroid output (T3, T4, calcitonin, etc) falls a bit low. As soon as the thyroid gland raises its output to a normal level, the pituitary gland lowers the TSH level back to normal. If the thyroid gland itself is defective and can't produce enough output, then the pituitary gland keeps increasing the TSH level, trying to stimulate the thyroid more. Hence typically a high value of TSH indicates that the thyroid is having trouble producing enough output (this is called hypothyroidism).

Modern medicine in its infinite wisdom has decided that usually it is sufficient to monitor the thyroid by just measuring the TSH level. This seems to work for quite a few people, but certainly not all. A far more thorough methodology is to measure the free T3 and free T4 to determine that the output of the thyroid is ok instead of measuring just the TSH level. [T3 is the thyroid hormone that is used by almost every cell in the body, T4 is a storage hormone form that is converted by the body into T3 as needed. The significance of the "Free" terminology is that more than 95% of the T3 and T4 circulating in the blood is bound up with other substances such that they can not be used by the cells; therefore it is critical to measure the "Free" T3 & T4 levels; knowing the total T3 or T4 is almost useless.]

The body's hormone system is extremely convoluted with lots of feedback loops making for great difficulty in diagnosing malfuntcions. For example, while a high TSH value usually indicates low thyroid output (hypothyroidism), there is another less frequent failure mode in which the pituitary gland doesn't supply enough TSH resulting in correspondingly low output from the thyroid gland. In this case it is possible one has a low TSH and low thyroid output.

In my case, a few months ago my body temp started decreasing (down to 95 ish instead of the normal 98.6 which it used to run) and I started being extremely cold all the time. My doctor wasn't much concerned but did finally measure my TSH which was 1.1 which should indicate a normal thyroid condition. I went to a new doctor who took much more interest in my symptoms and measured my Free T3 & T4 levels. My Free T3 was within the "normal range" but near the lower limit. This second doctor agreed based on symptoms alone to prescribe thyroid medicine (Armour Thyroid at my request) to see if my symptoms responded. Sure enough after a few weeks of meds my body temp is increasing toward normal and my cold sensitivity is improving. Since I have an older brother with similar symptoms, we probably share a genetic tendency toward low pituitary function. Unfortunately his doctor is like my first doctor and only measures his TSH and proclaims there is no thyroid problem.

Enough! Hope someone finds this helpful.

Casein Anyone?

08 January 2007 - 08:30 PM

Today's Healthday News had a couple of interesting articles:

Why don't the English see the cardiovascular benefits of drinking tea?
http://www.healthday....asp?AID=600797
The study begs the question of what else does casein interfere with?

A great companion article:
"If industry pays for the research, bias may result, study suggests"
http://www.healthday....asp?AID=600813

George

For Those W/ Hypothyroid Experience

07 January 2007 - 08:17 PM

After experiencing some hypothyroid symptoms I did some research on ways to measure/dx this and turned up several labs that do saliva testing. Does anyone have experience (positive or negative) with this type testing versus the more conventional blood tests with respect to thyroid issues? Thanks.

George