Patients want a more feasible method for detecting and treating hypothyroidism as many have been misdiagnosed because of unreliable methods, latest report shows.
Statistics from the American Thyroid Association (ATA) approximates that 20 million people in the US are affected by hypothyroidism. This disease is associated with a small gland inside the throat known as thyroid that fails to produce sufficient levels of hormones needed for various functions.
For several years, patients have been blaming doctors as well as the methods used to detect and treat the condition because many discover they are suffering from the condition yet they were told it was something else.
The thyroid, which is shaped like butterfly, produces a number of hormones that assist in regulating different functions in the body. When insufficient levels of hormones are produced, a person is said to be suffering from hypothyroidism which is symptomatic with weight gain, fatigue, fertility problems, depression, mood swings, metabolic issues and more.
At times, the hormonal production may be too little or too much leading to serious conditions such as tremors, heart palpitations, bone loss, and serious fatigue. Unfortunately, many people experience these symptoms believing it is caused by something else and not hypothyroidism.
Many patients visit the clinic or health centre after experiencing the symptoms and undergo checks to verify the cause. Blood testing remains the most popular option; however, they are told that they are suffering from other diseases because of similarity of the symptoms.
Diseases that share similar symptoms with hypothyroidism include diabetes, obesity, sleep apnea, chronic fatigue, kidney failure, depression, and congestive heart failure.
Dr. Antonio Bianca, president of the American Thyroid Association and chief of endocrinology at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, says more and more victims are demanding answers why doctors keep misdiagnosing the condition. They also want a quick solution found as this will save them lots of trouble after discovering the disease while in its early stages.
Late detection and using levothyroxine, a common treatment, doesn’t yield the best results considering the effect will have spread or become worse. This is because a particular gene linked to the disease will have mutated making it hard to eradicate the symptoms as well as underlying causes.
Dr. James Hennessey, Endocrinology Chief at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, says that the existing methods of detecting and treating the disease are not very effective, and it is high time the medical fraternity thought of incorporating alternative forms of treatment.
Unless a more effective technique is discovered and approved, many victims of hypothyroidism will still have to rely on blood testing, by measuring the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), and using common drugs such as levothyroxine which have lately been put under scrutiny.