Guest Author - Colleen Forgus
"The best doctor gives the least medicines."
Recently I watched a video clip about a one hundred year old physician who had been practicing medicine for 75 years. Even at his advanced age, he continued to be active in treating his arthritis patients and had no intention of retiring. When Dr. Ephraim Engleman was asked what advice he had to offer, he wisely observed, “Go to the doctor as little as possible.”
Another who advocates minimal interactions with doctors is Andrew Saul, Ph.D, Therapeutic Nutrition Specialist and Author of several books including “Doctor Yourself”. Dr. Saul is a proponent of nutrition and vitamin therapy to prevent and reverse disease. On his site, DoctorYourself.com, he lists a wide range of health related topics and methods for preventing and eliminating health disorders. He encourages people to take responsibility of their own health by eating a healthy diet and taking vitamin and mineral supplements. I find his approach to be packed with common sense and self-reliance – something I have found lacking in some traditional medical settings.
Interestingly, Thyroid Health Issues are one topic where Dr. Saul is a proponent of prescription medication. While he recommends healthy living tips to support optimal thyroid function such as reducing stress, consuming organic food, avoiding toxic chemicals in both food and environment and taking vitamin supplements, Dr. Saul acknowledges that there is a place for medicine in treating thyroid disorders.
When it comes to thyroid medication, a one-size fits all approach is definitely not the answer. Patients need a doctor who is well versed in the many subtle functions of the thyroid and willing to work with the patient as part of a team. Blood tests are important in determining thyroid health, but again, tests need to be specific to the symptoms the patient is displaying and the doctor must be both diligent in determining the correct test and willing to listen to the patient’s symptoms and reactions to the medications that have been prescribed.
Thyroid medications need to be prescribed differently for each patient. In my case, I have an allergy to pork, so Armour, which is derived from desiccated pork thyroid glands, would not be beneficial. Instead, my doctor started me on low doses of compounded synthetic T-4 and T-3, and gradually increased the dose over a period of several months, monitoring my progress and making adjustments as needed.
In addition, my doctor prescribed several nutrition and vitamin supplements to ensure my entire body is working optimally. When I have questions about any part of the regimen he recommends, I feel comfortable to ask why he prescribes a specific protocol - which makes me feel like I am a true partner in my treatment. When I know why I am taking a specific supplement, it helps me to understand the bigger picture of how he is treating not just my thyroid, but my overall health and well being.
If you feel dissatisfied with the care you are receiving from your physician, it is your responsibility to search for a new doctor who is willing to help you feel better. I realize this can seem overwhelming and, sadly, I often hear of people who have bounced around from one doctor to another. Try not to feel overwhelmed and please do not give up. Educate yourself on thyroid health and search for a physician who will work with you – not simply prescribe a pill and send you on your way.
In my case, it took several visits and phone calls with my doctor during the first year of treatment until I reached optimal levels of thyroid medication. Then annual visits where all that was needed. Knowing I have a partner in caring for my health is reassuring, but I am happy to see him as little as possible – that’s how I know he has done a good job.
Visit my website oneredpot.com - for tips on Food Health Lifestyle.