Some experts estimate that as many as 59 million Americans suffer from thyroid conditions -- including Hashimoto's Disease, Graves' disease, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyroid nodules, thyroid cancer. It's therefore crucial for patients and doctors to learn more about these common -- but frequently overlooked -- hormonal health problems.
According to thyroid patient advocate and author Mary Shomon, many doctors simply don't communicate with their patients about thyroid risks, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.
Says Shomon: "It's alarming -- millions of people are suffering from thyroid conditions, but they are not getting properly diagnosed and treated. I don't know whether the problem is a lack of knowledge on the part of doctors, or HMOs and insurance companies trying to curtail costs. Ultimately, patients are paying the price."
To help overcome this information gap, Shomon, the New York Times best-selling author of "The Thyroid Diet," and a series of popular, patient-oriented thyroid books, web sites, and newsletters, has put together "Thyroid 101: 10 Facts Doctors Forget To Tell You," along with a free ebook -- all designed to help educate and empower people around the world with thyroid conditions. [note: this ebook is no longer available]
"Women struggling with fertility still don't get routine thyroid tests. People who can't lose weight are still not having thyroid evaluations. Doctors frequently hand out prescriptions for antidepressants and cholesterol medications without ever testing for hypothyroidism first, which is the recommended procedure." Adds Shomon, "It's gotten to the point where patients must be educated about thyroid disease, because we often need to take the lead with doctors when it comes to our own thyroid diagnosis and treatment."
10 Facts Doctors Forget To Tell You About Thyroid DiseaseSome of the highlights of Shomon's "10 Facts Doctors Forget To Tell You" about thyroid disease include:
- A "normal TSH" means different things to different doctors. The reason: doctors don't even agree on the normal range for the TSH test, even though they say the TSH test is their "gold standard" for diagnosing and treating thyroid problems.
- Some patients need autoimmune thyroid antibodies tests -- not just a TSH test -- to diagnose their thyroid condition.
- Endocrinologists are not necessarily the best doctors to treat all thyroid conditions.
- There are many effective brand-name thyroid medications...and almost all of them are far less expensive than the market leader Synthroid.
- Infertility can be a thyroid symptom -- but many doctors and fertility clinics do not test for thyroid problems.
- Every woman should have her thyroid evaluated before and during pregnancy. Thyroid patients who become pregnant must be knowledgeable, and seek extra attention and care, because obstetricians are generally not knowledgeable about how to treat thyroid conditions.
- When the sex drive is suffering, a lack of thyroid hormone could be to blame and should be thoroughly evaluated.
- Your thyroid can make you fat! An undiagnosed or improperly treated thyroid condition can sabotage even the best diet and exercise plan.
- High cholesterol -- and cholesterol levels that don't respond to medication -- could be due to an undiagnosed or poorly treated thyroid condition.
- Some things we're told are good for us -- like fluoride and soy -- are not good for thyroid health.