What your doctor doesn’t know about your thyroidPosted by in General
It’s a sad thing when doctors don’t really listen to their patients’ complaints, but instead decide to make diagnoses based on old, flawed testing procedures. Unfortunately this is a reality for patients (especially women) who suffer from thyroid diseases (hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and thyroid cancer) and don’t get much sympathy or a very willing ear from their doctors.
There are standard tests for thyroid problems that measure thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and if patients’ test results fall within the normal range, doctors conclude that their patients obviously don’t have a thyroid problem, despite the fact that their hair is thinning, they are inexplicably gaining weight, experience severe headaches and fatigue, and have brittle nails, amongst other symptoms.
There are other tests which measure free T4 and free T3 levels. These tests, combined with the TSH tests will provide doctors with a bigger picture view of what is happening in their patients’ bodies. The fact that the TSH levels are normal does not mean they exist in the patient’s system in adequate amounts; or, if the T4 is normal, it doesn’t mean that it is being adequately converted into T3. The T4 and T3 tests will show where the problems are, even if the TSH levels are normal.
Many patients who have struggled to find well-educated endocrinologists and thyroid doctors reported that they were treated like hypochondriacs; their doctors didn’t hear them out or pay any attention to the symptoms they were experiencing, and merely concluded their diagnoses from the clinical tests. If the tests came back as normal and the patients requested further tests or a second opinion, the doctors came across as supercilious and patronising.
If you are experiencing symptoms that are not congruent with normal thyroid function and your doctor only tests your TSH levels, it’s important that you find a doctor who is more knowledgeable about the technological advancements in hypo/hyperthyroidism testing. It would help if he or she has great bedside manner, as this is a caregiver that you will need to interact with on a long-term basis, so it’s best that you get along and value their opinion.
Image courtesy of: www.fibrocarecenter.com