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The Dangers Of Using Predictive Medicine In Preventing Thyroid Disease

There’s a book called “Outsmart Your Genes” by Dr. Brandon Colby, which talks about how using predictive medicine can help determine whether a person has a genetic tendency towards developing certain health conditions.  Although I enjoyed reading the book, there is plenty that I disagree with, some of which I will discuss shortly.  However, there also are a few concepts included in the book that I do agree with.  One of these has to do with the ability to prevent certain conditions from developing, even when someone has a genetic predisposition

I actually discussed this in a recent article, so I won’t go into much detail here about this.  But what I essentially spoke about was that even if you have a genetic tendency to develop a thyroid condition, you can still prevent a future thyroid condition from developing, or cure an existing thyroid condition.  In other words, your genes can play a role in the development of a thyroid condition, but lifestyle factors play an even greater role.

In his book, Dr. Colby talks a lot about how if we use predictive medicine to determine the genetic tendencies of people, doctors can then give specific drugs to prevent such conditions.  So for example, he discusses how if someone is shown to have a genetic tendency for developing high cholesterol, then that person might want to consider taking statins as a preventative measure, even if they currently have normal cholesterol levels.

Another example he gives involves Alzheimer’s Disease, and how it’s been shown that taking NSAIDs can help reduce the chances of someone developing this horrible disease.  And so, if doctors can use predictive medicine to determine if their patients have the genes to develop Alzheimers, then he mentions how they can give these drugs as a preventative measure.

The problem I have with his recommendations is that these drugs very well might prevent certain conditions from developing, but one can’t forget the side effects they can cause.  We’re still not quite sure of the long term side effects of statins, and taking NSAIDs for many years has potential risks as well.  So giving either of these drugs as a preventative measure just because someone has a genetic tendency is in my opinion the wrong approach.  Especially since many of these conditions can be prevented by modifying certain lifestyle factors.

Since millions of people have thyroid conditions, I can definitely see the day when doctors begin prescribing medication to their patients based on their genetic predisposition to develop a thyroid disorder.  I’m not sure exactly what drug they would they give, but it wouldn’t surprise me if one of the drug companies come up with a “miracle” drug that will help prevent people from developing thyroid conditions, but at the same time will potentially cause other side effects.  Or perhaps they will recommend that people who have a genetic tendency for hyperthyroidism or Graves’ Disease receive radioactive iodine treatment BEFORE they ever develop the condition.  I honestly don’t think it will go this far, but then again, you never do know.

This doesn’t mean I’m opposed to predictive medicine, as I’m sure it has some benefits.  But using it as a way to recommend more drugs to people as a preventative measure just isn’t the right approach to take.  No doubt the drug companies will show how taking certain drugs to prevent specific conditions from developing is highly effective, but I’m pretty sure they won’t mention anything about all of the different side effects that can result, as well as other conditions these drugs can lead to.

In summary, predictive medicine may have some great benefits, but in the hands of the drug companies, it could be extremely dangerous.  I personally think the best approach is to use these tests to educate people, and then try to have them improve their health through lifestyle factors and to only use drugs as a preventative measure when absolutely necessary.  Truth to be told, most people probably don’t need to receive these genetic panels in order to improve their health, but if it does a better job of motivating people to take better care of themselves then perhaps it’s not a bad idea for people to receive them.


 

3 Comments

  1. Carmen Hironimus says:

    If cells are OK at birth, why should they develop the disease later in life? I believe that if you are in fear of something you will be congruent with it and influencing the environment of your cell’s intelligence to vibrate a the frequency of that disease. Before we can build something physically we have to have the thought and the emotion together for its creation, whether that is to build a house or a body. I’d say change the though and the emotion to build something that works for you rather than to try to avoid something that would not work for you. It might look like the same thing but it is not. While the first one emphasizes the innate intelligence of the body to maintain healthy the second takes the sickness (effect) as a fact and starts creating a solution for a cause that has not manifested yet!

  2. Denise H. says:

    I also read Outsmart Your Genes and Dr. Colby clearly also advocates lifestyle changes as part of the prevention of many diseases. To exclude medications from all prevention is just not realistic – you have to give people the option – to say that no medications should ever be used in the prevention of disease takes away patient autonomy. While you may not believe medications should be used to prevent disease, other people may not agree – so it should be the choice that is offered to them as opposed to totally one way or the other. Lastly, in his book Dr. Colby also points out that through gene tests doctors can now also predict which medications are likely to give side effects in people so that those medications can be avoided. I don’t mean to disagree with you outright – just that you left out a lot of what Dr. Colby discusses and much of it has to do with ways to personalize lifestyle changes and avoid taking certain harmful medications (exactly what you discussed in your article). God Bless. Denise H.

    • Dr. Eric says:

      Hi Denise,

      I have no problem with people disagreeing with me on this blog, as I appreciate your honest feedback. The post wasn’t meant to criticize predictive medicine or Dr. Colby’s book, as I agree that for some people it might be beneficial to use medicine to prevent disease. My primary fear is that in the future predictive medicine will be used to recommend medicine for EVERYONE with certain diseases. And yes, I understand that people should be given choices, but the problem is that many people don’t know any better, and simply take the advice of their medical doctor, which is why just about everyone with hypothyroidism takes thyroid hormone. In summary, predictive medicine has the potential to help many people if used correctly, but it can also cause a lot of harm if it is used simply to recommend drugs to prevent certain types of conditions and diseases from developing which otherwise might be able to be prevented through lifestyle changes.

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Get Your Free Guide Entitled
“The 6 Steps On How To Reverse Graves' Disease & Hashimoto's Through Natural Methods”
You will also receive email
updates on any future webinars
on natural thyroid health.
 

"We respect your privacy"
 
Free Webinars on
Natural Thyroid Health


Click Here For More Information

 
 
 
Natural Treatment Methods:
Graves Disease Treatment
Hypothyroidism Treatment
Hyperthyroidism Treatment
Natural Thyroid treatment


Conventional Treatment
Methods:
Radioactive Iodine
Thyroid Hormone