An obsession with laboratory results is a real problem in orthodox medicine. With too many diseases, medicine has set standard laboratory values it widely accepts as “normal.” The problem is, people with the beginnings of serious conditions go undiagnosed.
For example, a blood sugar test is considered normal if it falls between 80 and 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl). But, what about people who have a value of 110 mg/dl? Are they diabetic?
The same question should be asked of lab tests showing below-normal results.
If a normal thyroid free T4 level is from 0.7 to 2.0, what about the person who is exactly at 0.7, the lower limit?
What about differences in people, a long-standing problem with medical studies of all kinds. Is the result considered the same for a 250 pound man as for a 120 pound woman?
For this reason, some endocrinologists have begun to talk about “optimal” — or ideal — hormone levels. Instead of a 0.7 to 2.0 being “normal” for free T4 levels, the optimal level would be 1.2 to 1.5. The use of optimal levels rather than a range of lab figures is more logical.
In addition to being aware that lab results labeled “normal” can be misleading, what is considered “normal” often changes. Sometimes changes occur because of better scientific information — and sometimes for less honorable reasons.
For example, in 2003, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) changed the range of normal values for thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). A slight shift in numbers added millions of people to the rolls of those recognized to have hypothyroidism.
Manipulating results can also make a lot of money for pharmaceutical companies.
Consider cholesterol. The National Cholesterol Education Program decided that
the normal values for cholesterol would no longer be 220 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) but 200 mg/dl.
Soon after, it lowered the normal range to below 200, instantly adding tens of millions to the list of people who needed cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. The profits came pouring in. (Learn more about the dangers of statin drugs in my special report “Cholesterol Drugs are Dangerous.”)
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