Thyroid unfairly blamed for health problems

Thyroid unfairly blamed for health problems

Thyroid disorders are on the rise, but with the increase has come a tendency to incorrectly ascribe many health problems to the tiny gland located at the base of the neck, says endocrinologist Dr. Ernest Asamoah of highly rated Diabetes & Endocrinology Consultants in Indianapolis.

The most common disorder, hypothyroidism, occurs when the gland does not produce enough hormone. The symptoms, such as fatigue, also can indicate other issues, such as depression, Asamoah says. “Doctors and patients have to have an open mind. Sometimes I have to treat two or three things together to get people where they want to be.”

56,460 ‑ Estimated new cases of thyroid cancer in the U.S. this year.

30 million ‑ Estimated number of Americans with thyroid disorders. More than half remain undiagnosed.

4.6 ‑ Percentage of U.S. population over the age of 12 with hypothyroidism, the most common thyroid disorder.

1 in 8 ‑ Odds of a woman developing a thyroid disorder in her lifetime.

22.4 ‑ Percentage of women over age 65 using medication to treat thyroid disorders, more than double the percentage in 1994.

5 ‑ Common symptoms of hypothyroidism: Fatigue, weight gain despite not eating more food, sensitivity to cold, joint pain and constipation. These can develop slowly, and also may indicate other health problems.

35 ‑ Recommended age women should start testing for thyroid problems, and every five years thereafter.

18.6 ‑ Incidence rate per 100,000 of thyroid cancer among women, almost double the rate in 1999. It is the fastest-rising cancer in both men and women.

99.9 ‑ Five-year survival rate for localized thyroid cancer.

Sources: National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Cancer Institute; American Thyroid Association; American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists; womenshealth.gov.


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AshDenee

Subject: Agreed

It has taken many years to get appropriate treatment for my hypothyroidism. Anxiety? No, that isn't hypothyroidism they said. My heart having 1500+ PVCs a day? No. Hair falling out, sore joints, can't sleep, top tired... You name it. Then came synthetic hormones. Nightmare. Thankfully my endo allowed me to try NDT despite my free T3 being normal. Improvements galore on nearly every problem above. My initial diagnosis came with my TSH only being 7.8 which isn't extremely high. My PCP said he wouldn't have treated it. Thyroid disorders are poorly managed...

IdahoMom

Subject: And too many doctors don't give enough credit to the thyroid.

Exhaustion, feeling cold, severe constipation, foggy mind, weight gain...typical thyroid problems, as are dry skin, brittle nails, hair falling out. But most doctors don't think thyroid. Neuropathy in my feet, iron and B12 anemias were all diagnosed as their own diseases, but no one put them together with the thyroid. Lucky for me I found a neurologist who recognized the neuropathy for a symptom...I had nothing else wrong with me. I spent 15 months in hell when a PA reduced my medical. I kept coming back every two weeks and telling them that I had a myriad of thyroid symptoms. I knew my body and knew it was low. Finally one of the PAs happened to have a friend who took PA classes with her and had been hired by a thyroid specialist. When I got to the specialist, I found that my hormones were 2/3 of normal. At least normal for you. I have an autoimmune disease and take unprecedented levels of the two different hormones. My labs are taken locally and sent to my specialist. The PA wanted to argue with me because my levels were too high. But for me, that is where it belongs. They do a TSH test for thyroid function. But my autimmune disease affects my TSH levels. Right now, it is less than .0065...in other words, I have too much hormone or at least that is what it thinks. You need to have a full thyroid panel done including antibodies against the hormone.

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