January is Thyroid Awareness Month, and as we come to the end of this month, we saw the usual cast of characters — the various associations of endocrinologists, thyroid organizations, and such — roll out their press releases and PSAs to help get the word out.
For Thyroid Awareness Month 2013, The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists promoted their “Same Same Same” initiative. The idea behind “Same Same Same” was to reinforce the importance of thyroid patients taking the same dosage of the same medication at the same time every day.
Seriously. Isn’t it sad that “Same Same Same” is the best that the nation’s top endocrinologists have to offer the millions of thyroid patients in the U.S.? And the latest estimate, according to the AACE, is that 30 million Americans have thyroid problems, and only half are diagnosed! (I happen to think that the real number is more likely double the AACE estimate, but that’s for another blog post.)
For decades, all thyroid patients have had from the conventional medical world is more of the same… the same overreliance on thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) tests, the same refusal to test Free T4 and Free T3, the same ignorance of the value of testing and evaluating the Reverse T3, the same inexplicable failure to test for thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies, the same insistence on levothyroxine as the only treatment, the same biases against the use of T3 and natural thyroid drugs, and the same attitude that patients are merely lab values and not human beings who deserve to feel and live well.
Well, I for one, had more than enough of the “Same Same Same” approach to thyroid disease two decades ago. That’s when I became a thyroid patient advocate, and made it my mission to help educate and empower thyroid patients with information, options, and connections to innovative doctors who want to help us truly feel well.
And I know that the National Academy of Hypothyroidism’s founder Dr. Kent Holtorf didn’t subscribe to the same old way of doing things, because he made the decision to focus his Holtorf Medical Group practice on integrative hormone balance and innovative solutions for thyroid disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and other complex health challenges. Going far beyond the same old way of doing things is also the mission of the National Academy of Hypothyroidism itself, which is dedicated to disseminating new and innovative information on the diagnosis and treatment of hypothyroidism to physicians, endocrinologists, healthcare providers and patients, and change the standard endocrinological dogma.
Let’s hope that Thyroid Awareness Month 2014 does not bring more of the “Same Same Same” tired dogma from the thyroid establishment, and more of the same worn out old approaches that are not serving patients today, and won’t do any better tomorrow. It’s time to leave the same old ways of doing things behind. Because thyroid patients need — and deserve — different, fresh, innovative, new energy, and approaches to help us feel and live well.