Originally published December 17 2008
Low Thyroid Increases Risk of Death from Heart Attack by Seventy Percent
by Barbara L. Minton
(NaturalNews) By taking natural thyroid hormone tablets to reduce the level of thyroid stimulating hormone to the low end of the normal range, men and women can reduce death from cardiovascular disease by 70 percent. This earthshaking finding far exceeds results from any drug intervention. The 70 percent is not a statistical manipulation based on relative numbers. It represents an absolute decrease in death.
It has become more apparent that hormonal health and balance is the bedrock of good health. When hormones are present in physiological amounts and in the balance that nature intended, the body is strong, resilient, and able to restore homeostasis in almost every situation. Yet the direct connection between coronary heart disease and thyroid hormone is only now being established.
Understanding thyroid stimulating hormone
Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is made by the pituitary gland for the purpose of stimulating the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormone when it is needed by the body. The medical establishment regards TSH levels as the single most important test for determining thyroid function. If thyroid function is low, the message is sent to the pituitary to produce more TSH to stimulate the production of thyroid hormone. If the thyroid gland is already making plenty of hormone, there is no need for excessive production of TSH. So a high level of TSH indicates a lazy, poorly functioning thyroid that needs constant proding to do its job. A low level of TSH indicates the thyroid is doing its work just fine and doesn't need to be proded.
Findings from the Hunt Study
The Hunt Study is a population-based cohort study begun in 1984 and carried out at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway. It recruited participants from the local population of about 130,000 people. Since the entire Hunt Study involved the participation of more than 100,000 of these people, the results represent a complete and highly statistically significant cross section of almost an entire population.
This examination of Hunt Study findings, reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine, involved the prospective study of the associations between thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and fatal coronary heart disease (CHD) in 17,311 women and 8002 men without known thyroid or cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus. All participants had "normal TSH" levels, meaning the TSH values were in the lab reference range of 0.5 to 3.5. The women were stratified into three groups reflecting lower TSH, intermediate TSH and upper TSH levels. Mortality from heart disease was recorded over an 8 year observation period.
Researchers found that the group with the highest TSH had a 70% increased mortality from heart disease compared to the lowest TSH group, even though all these TSH values were in the range considered to be normal.
Another report from the Hunt Study showed LDL cholesterol to be linearly associated with TSH level. As LDL cholesterol goes up, so does TSH.
What does the term 'normal range' really mean?
The normal range is not some preordained level at which healthy people necessarily reside. The term is defined and used by convention, and simply means the range for whatever test, condition, symptom, behavior, etc. that covers 95 percent of values derived from the general population. Think of it as a bell shaped curve. The normal range represents the upward slope, top and downward slope of the curve, the place where the majority of data resides. If the population used to create the data is composed of sick people, the normal range will be composed of sick people too.
When medical testing is done to determine whether persons falls in the 'normal range' for any given issue, they are most often compared to a group considered 'normal' for their age. As an example, post menopausal women being testing for sex hormone levels will be considered as normal if their values fall into the range where most other menopausal women reside. But clearly, post menopausal women do not in any way produce the amount of sex hormones that a woman in her twenties produces. Yet the woman in her twenties represents the healthy state of sex hormones, not the menopausal woman.
Findings clearly support the need for TSH values in the low end of the normal range
Heart attack is the most common cause of death in the U.S., so to be able to reduce the risk of heart attack by 70% has broad reaching implications. To put this in perspective, cholesterol lowering drugs only decrease heart attacks by 1.4 % in those without underlying heart disease. Based on the study findings, the most effective way to reduce death from heart disease and normalize lipoprotein levels is to reduce TSH to the lower end of the normal range. TSH in the upper end of the normal range is associated with increased cardiovascular mortality and elevated LDL measures.
Optimal thyroid levels offer many more benefits
Thyroid is the most important hormone in the body. Since it simulates cellular energy production, all other hormones will be impacted when thyroid hormone levels are not optimal. This results in every aspect of health being affected, including weight, mental outlook, body temperature, energy levels, and the quality of hair and skin. Symptoms of low thyroid hormone are unexplained weight gain, fatigue, dry skin, irregular or faint heartbeat, sleep apnea, high or low blood pressure, chronic pain, constipation, frequent infections, brittle nails, weak muscles, head congestion and sinus problems, joint pain, hoarseness, and more.
Low thyroid levels slow metabolism and energy production. This is why people with low thyroid hormone levels are always cold, constipated and gain weight without increasing the amount of food they eat. Low thyroid is why old people seem so listless and their simplest movement seems like such a chore. When thyroid levels get extremely low a person simply runs out of energy, like a car runs out of gas. Death soon follows. Nursing homes are filled with people whose thyroid hormone is almost exhausted.
Natural thyroid hormone is dirt cheap, makes you feel great, and is about 50 times more effective than Lipitor or Mevacor (toxic drugs which cost billions of dollars a year). Cardiovascular disease kills 2,800 Americans every day. Much of this is preventable using natural thyroid therapy. If thyroid medication were patentable it would cost a small fortune, and the drug companies would spend hundreds of millions of dollars to make sure every doctor knew the research and used their thyroid treatments.
But natural thyroid hormone is thyroid hormone from a pig. Pig hormone is bioidentical to the hormone produced by humans. It comes from Armour packing house, the company that also produces bacon and hot dogs from their pigs, and it is called Armour Thyroid. As it is a naturally occurring substance it cannot be patented, so there are no huge piles of money to be made. As a result, hundreds of thousands or even millions of Americans die unnecessarily because doctors remain ignorant about the importance of natural thyroid treatment in maintaining health.
As more and more Americans realize the dismal state of medicine in the country, they have made the decision of take charge of their own health. It is unfortunate that Armour thyroid is only available to them by prescription, because the ignorance of most doctors about optimal thyroid levels makes it very difficult to get a prescription.
Most physicians are reluctant to consider thyroid function at all. When they do, they will order a blood test and decide that if the results are in the 'normal range' even at the top end of this range, that's that. There will be no prescription. Yet, if you are a fifty year old woman, for instance, you are being compared with a group of fifty year olds who are notorious for having high levels of TSH because their thyroids are konking out.
If you can get your doctor to come around on the testing and actually agree to a prescription for you, it will most likely be for a synthetic hormone drug, Levoxyl and Synthroid being the most common. These substances are patented molecules that do not occur in nature. They will be recognized by the body as foreign, and the body will mount resistance to them, so that in time they will become ineffective. While all this is going on, your immune system will be compromised by having to deal with this foreign invader, and your liver will be spending its time trying to detoxify this toxic chemical and won't have time to do the job it was meant to do. Synthetic thyroid drugs are known to cause significant side effects, one of which is making you feel like your are ready to jump out of your skin.
The only way around this is to be assertive and firm with your doctor, making it clear that you want a prescription for natural thyroid that will take you to the low end of the 'normal range'. Make it clear that you will only accept natural substances into your body. If your doctor is unyielding, find another doctor.
If you are able to find a naturopath, homeopath or traditional physician that specializes in anti-aging medicine or hormone balance, you probably won't have any difficulty getting thyroid testing or a prescription for the proper amount of thyroid to allow you to attain TSH levels in the low range.
About the authorBarbara is a school psychologist, a published author in the area of personal finance, a breast cancer survivor using "alternative" treatments, a born existentialist, and a student of nature and all things natural.
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