King Solomon in the bible wrote in Ecclesiastes there is nothing new under the sun. Maybe that is why since I was in my residency training I loved reading about doctors and their practice of medicine hundreds of years ago. I have been doing more and more research on the thyroid gland, and in looking at the study of this gland in the neck, I am like a little kid in a candy factory. There is so much the gland affects it is hard to know where to start, so let’s look at the heart. As I am looking at the literature of 100 years ago, doctors noted fat deposits in arteries but there were no statins to give to treat this. They also noted that if the thyroid gland was diseased, there were more fat deposits in the arteries which is very interesting.
Dr. Ord in the 1880’s with other scientists and doctors in England noted that an autopsy, those that had a diseased thyroid also had an enlarged heart and the arteries were clogged with some type of fatty material. 5 years later after studies had been done around the world, the Clinical Society of London met and published a paper in 1888. Later it would be discovered that the material in the arteries were Mucopolysaccharides which causes the arteries to develop atherosclerosis or hardening and narrowing of the arteries. In 1918 a German doctor noted that a number of his patients were bedridden with congestive heart failure. The standard treatment of digoxin did not help these people and they had a puffy look to them. When given thyroid medication their heart returned to normal size and their puffiness disappeared and so did their heart failure.
Then in 1938 a U.S. doctor wrote an article on the use of thyroid prescriptions and its danger. 9 patients were started on thyroid medication that exhibited coronary artery disease and they died shortly afterwards. A review of the cause showed that instead of starting on one gram of thyroid meds, he had them on 4-30 grams of thyroid medication as a steady dose and this dose overwhelmed the heart. Unfortunately, this one report started the danger of using thyroid medication in heart failure and coronary artery disease patients and it has been an uphill fight ever since.
The best test we have found to test the thyroid is an old test from the 1800s. The basal body temperature. Before getting up from bed in the morning reach over and take your temperature under the tongue. No sitting up or going to the bathroom. Check your morning temperature every day for a week. If the temperature is less than 97.8 you may have a low functioning thyroid. Talk to your doctor. This test has been found to be more accurate then TSH or Total T4 which most doctors rely on.
For a menstruating female the best time to take your basal body temperature is on the 2nd and 3rd day after the flow has started. A Dr. Barnes in Chicago years ago followed 1569 patients for 20 years on thyroid prescriptions and only 4 had a heart attack. Maybe, the doctors over 100 years ago discovered a possible answer to heart disease. That why I love these old fashion doctors.