Top critical review
68 people found this helpful
Okay, but some of the information is controversial and outdated (TSH value troubles)
on January 24, 2012
I was very excited to receive this book because of all the positive reviews. I am testing with borderline hypothyroidism but with a lot of symptoms, and getting a correct diagnosis has been challenging. This book was great when it came to explaining what I was going through, giving other patient perspectives, and just discussing the challenges that come with being hypothyroid. However, some of the information in here is outdated. Shomon constantly (over and over and over...) refers to the fact that the AACE (American Association of Clinical Endrocrinologists) recommended changing the lab test standards in 2003, but that they have yet to be adopted, and that is why a bunch of people are undiagnosed and not receiving treatment.
Okay, well a few years later, the AACE released another statement called a "Positions Statement" that a middle ground between the old and new values is correct, and that treating people with borderline (subclinical) hypothyroidism is ineffective and controversial. (Note that subclinical hypothyroidism is different than something like Hashimoto's, where the Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disease that causes hypothyroidism and thyroid antibodies, in which case they reccommend early treatment to preserve the gland.) So you read this book and you think you have all the information, walk into your doctor's office and...it's totally outdated. The AACE is saying that up to 4.5 is normal, and that treatment for subclinical hypothyroidism (between 4.5 and 10.0) is not warranted unless thyroid antibodies or growths are present. Any doctor (or reader) with a computer can Google the information and check it out on the AACE web site's position statements.
Unfortunately, a certain informative thyroid site is run by Shomon as a "Guide" and so it is useless in assisting in getting the links to medical sites. And most thyroid boards and information are FILLED with Shomon's information and quote Mary at length. I work in media, and I'm telling you I wish I had this woman on my team because she is EVERYWHERE and it can be hard to get around her. But, the National Association for Biochemistry also lists that up to 4.0 is a valid TSH, not 3.0 as Shomon writes. NHLBI.gov uses 4.5 (same as AACE), CDC uses normal of up to 5.4 or even 5.6...none of them are using Shomon's 3.0 TSH from an outdated AACE publication. And as much as I would love to believe her, I need a valid scientific agency to back my lab values for my doctor to listen, not just a well published author. You can't just choose one conference publication press release and latch onto it, then use it everywhere. If the AACE was still using this value, they would continue to use this in their position statements and treatment manuals, and send these recommendations to other agencies. These ranges would have to appear somewhere else, even on the AACE web site, and they just don't.
She also wrote extensively on Armour and natural dessicated thryoid. While I do see the advantages, I didn't feel that it was appropriate to insert a bias towards one class of drug into a book that is based on patient education. Armour has in fact reformulated, and many patients are saying that they are not experiencing the same level of quality of life/maintenece that they once had on this drug. I would hope that Shomon's book does not sour any patient on trying synthetic thyroid hormone since it might work better for them...who knows? If hypothyroidism teaches us anything, it is that every body is different.
I feel that the author covered quite a bit of information, the book was well researched if not a bit biased at points, and I did identify with it on so many levels. It does give you courage. Unfortunately, it just had too much outdated information to be useful to me or my physician.