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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Excess thyroid meds weaken bone

Peter Gott United Media

Dear Dr. Gott: Is it true that women who take additional thyroid medication because it gives them more zip and stamina risk developing osteoporosis?

Dear Reader: The answer to your question is a qualified “yes”: Women who need thyroid supplements should take them.

Although the precise cause of osteoporosis is unknown, one fact is abundantly clear: Excess thyroid hormone accelerates the loss of calcium from the bones of both men and women, causing a more severe form of osteoporosis to appear earlier. This is the reason that good doctors are so fastidious about monitoring patients who require thyroid supplements. It’s vital that such patients not be over-dosed.

In my view, and in the opinion of experts, blood tests of thyroid function performed at least annually are mandatory for good care. Using such blood tests, physicians can adjust the dose of thyroid medication to avoid inducing accelerated osteoporosis.

Thyroid hormone is powerful medicine. It must not be used in a cavalier fashion to provide more “zip” or to lose weight. Thyroid supplements should be prescribed only on the basis of a documented deficiency (as judged by blood tests), for which careful monitoring is available.

To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report “Osteoporosis.” Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

Dear Dr. Gott: In 1980, I was diagnosed with systemic lupus and central nervous system involvement. I do have temporal lobe seizures associated with this condition. Two separate biopsies of the lesions and blood work were positive.

I’ve since moved and now am told I don’t have lupus, nor did I ever have it. As you can realize, this has left me totally confused and frustrated. While in remission, does this disease show up in blood work or does it lie dormant and undetectable?

Dear Reader: Lupus, an autoimmune disease, causes skin and kidney damage; sometimes the brain is affected, too. Ordinarily, once blood tests reveal lupus, they remain positive indefinitely, even though the disease may enter a prolonged state of remission.

It seems to me that you are caught in a quandary because your doctors cannot agree on what disease is affecting you. Therefore, you should obtain a third opinion, preferably from a diagnostic clinic in a teaching hospital. The specialists will review the results of your previous testing and correlate the findings with your symptoms.

More testing may be required, but this is a small price to pay; for your own peace of mind and continuing health, you need to know the score. Ask for a referral.

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