Millions of undiagnosed hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s sufferers moved closer to recognition when the Los Angeles Times published the story “As doctors debate what is ‘low thyroid,’ many with condition go undiagnosed” May 9, 2011.

TSH ranges too broad

For years suffering patients and natural medicine doctors have said  TSH ranges to diagnose hypothyroidism are too broad, typically between 0.4 and 4.5 (milliunits per liter) or even as high as 5.5.

In functional medicine we consider anything outside of 1.8 to 2.5 or 3.0 cause for investigation. Otherwise too many suffering people, 80 percent of them women, fall through the cracks as depression, chronic fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, and other symptoms worsen.

Lab ranges based on undiagnosed hypothyroidism

According to the story, “In 2002, the National Academy of Clinical Biochemists…found that 95 percent of the population had thyrotropin levels of 2.5 or lower.

That same year, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey looked at samples from 17,000 adults and, after eliminating those with thyroid conditions, found that Caucasians have average thyrotropin levels of 1.4, and blacks have an average of 1.18.

” ‘A lot of folks in the 2.5 to 5.0 range have mild depression and wind up taking anti-depressants when they really need thyroid medication,” Lupo said. The same is true for patients taking medication for high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

” ‘If low thyroid is the underlying cause of another problem, if you treat the thyroid, the other problems get better, and the need for other medications often goes away,’ he said.”

LA Times misses the boat on Hashimoto’s

Unfortunately, but not unsurprisingly, the LA Times failed to even mention Hashimoto’s or that for the majority of Americans hypothyroidism is an immune disorder more so than a thyroid disorder. Like most doctors the LA Times falls back on thyroid hormone medication as the only recognizable treatment for hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is an immune disorder for most

We understand that assessing a thyroid condition means not  only looking at much narrower TSH ranges, as well as other thyroid markers (T4, T3, etc.), but also looking at what caused the thyroid condition in the first place.

Management may include:

  • addressing autoimmune Hashimoto’s disease
  • addressing the low thyroid adrenal connection
  • a gluten-free diet
  • a hypothyroidism diet
  • chronic fatigue syndrome treatment
  • treating depression with nutrition