Thyroid Disease 101: Ten Facts Doctors Forget To Tell Patients

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January is Thyroid Awareness Month. To help spread the word, thyroid patient advocate and author Mary Shomon has put together 10 important facts about diagnosing and treating thyroid problems that many doctors aren't sharing with patients. Shomon has also put together a free ebook available for download at the website http://www.thyroidawarenessmonth.com online.

January is Thyroid Awareness Month

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January marks Thyroid Awareness Month. With some experts estimating 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 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.

The 10 facts, as well as the free ebook, titled "The Thyroid Awareness Month Guide to Thyroid Disease," are available at http://www.thyroidawarenessmonth.com online.

"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."

Thyroid 101: 10 Facts Doctors Forget To Tell You

Some 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

Complete information on the 10 Facts, links to the 2008 campaign, information on past years' campaigns, the free downloadable ebook on thyroid disease, and web articles about thyroid problems are all located at the Thyroid Awareness Month site site on the web.

Mary Shomon is a nationally-known patient advocate and best-selling author of 10 books on health, including the New York Times Best-seller and Quills Award semifinalist, "The Thyroid Diet: Manage Your Metabolism for Lasting Weight Loss," as well as "The Thyroid Hormone Breakthrough: Overcoming Sexual and Hormonal Problems at Every Age," "Living Well With Hypothyroidism: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You...That You Need to Know," "Living Well With Graves' Disease and Hyperthyroidism," "The Thyroid Guide to Hair Loss," "Living Well With Autoimmune Disease," and "Living Well With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia." She is founder and editor of popular thyroid site http://www.Thyroid-Info.com and in 1997, launched "Sticking Out Our Necks: The Thyroid Patient Newsletter." Since 1997 she has served as the Guide for the Thyroid Disease site at About.com at http://thyroid.about.com -- owned by the New York Times Company.

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