Book Review

Thyroid Power: 10 Steps to Total Health

Richard Shames, Karilee H. Shames
Harper Collins

Written by a husband-and-wife (doctor-and- nurse) team, this book is a 10-step program for evaluating and treating disorders caused by a low level of thyroid hormone. The effect of thyroid function on overall health, the signs and symptoms of thyroid disorders, and testing and treatment options are presented. The authors are very successful in explaining a complicated subject in a thorough, easily understood manner. The clinical examples cited in this book effectively demonstrate the problems caused by disorders of thyroid function. Patients will find the selfassessment questionnaires useful.

The chapter on thyroid blood testing is of interest to the healthcare provider who is counseling patients, because a clear and thorough explanation of the usefulness and limitations of the different types of tests is provided. In the chapter on pharmaceuticals, the authors promote starting therapy slowly and individualizing both the choice of medication and the dosage based on clinical response. They are convinced that each person is his or her own best physician. They allude to the reluctance of most physicians to agree with that perception and include in their book information (a medical version of the “10 steps” and a summary of pertinent articles from the literature) for the patient to present to his or her doctor. In the chapter on reestablishing hormone balance, the authors discuss the essential role of adequate thyroid function in ensuring the success of sex-hormone replacement therapy, explain the ways in which a low level of thyroid function can cause many of the symptoms of menopause, and discuss the interactions of the hormones. Also included is a chapter devoted to the problems associated with a low level of adrenal function, the impact of adrenal function on the effectiveness of thyroid hormones, and an explanation of adrenal function testing. The authors also offer recommendations about avoiding the triggers of autoimmune thyroid disease and suggest diet and lifestyle changes and alternative therapies that improve thyroid health. This book includes many excellent references to pertinent articles and reference books.

Readers can use the clear, concise explanations of the health problems associated with disorders of thyroid function to become more proactive in their own health care. Pharmacists will discover that this book is an excellent resource for use in clinical practice and for the education of their patients and prescribing physicians.

Reviewed By:  James Paoletti, RPh
In:  Jan/Feb 2003