Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Bad medicine: thyroid disease

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 09 November 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7596

Re: Bad medicine: thyroid disease

I am just a mere patient with sub-clinical hypothyroidism. I have had to educate myself about thyroid disease, including looking at the textbooks that doctors learn from in the British Library as well as the medical literature. The reason I have had to do this is that highly educated people (doctors) ignore my symptoms, tell me I am simply depressed (you would be if you felt like I do, a lowered metabolism effects every cell in the body). The symptoms might be non specific, but taken together they form a picture. I am told I am not ill because the infallible test says I am not. Unfortunately, I am not one of those whose symptoms spontaneously correct in two years.

The figures may seem like this because people seek treatment elsewhere and are not officially accounted for. People with Type 1 diabetes have to take insulin for the rest of their lives, so what is the problem with patients taking thyroid hormone for rest of their lives. Surely an injection is crude medical replacement? Hypothyroidism destroys your health, often means you can no longer work, it may kill you n the end. I didn't choose to have this particularly unpleasant disease and would much prefer to have crude medical replacement over decades than be chronically ill. It seems to me that hypothyroidism is poorly understood by the medical profession and treatment. The practice has not kept up with the science.

Competing interests: No competing interests

13 November 2012
Penelope A Lane
retired journalist
not applicable
London N4