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Why Some Doctors Are Threatened by Knowledgeable, Empowered Thyroid Patients

And Thyroid Patient Advocates Like Mary Shomon

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Updated January 27, 2013

Why Some Doctors Are Threatened by Knowledgeable, Empowered Thyroid Patients

Some doctors, endocrinologists and thyroidologists are threatened by informed, empowered thyroid patients and advocates

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The bottom line: Educated, informed patients take more time. These patients read the latest journals -- which means that the doctor also needs to read the latest literature -- or risk being less current and less informed than the patient. We make WORK for some doctors!

And here I am, encouraging you to become a "petit papier patient" and a "Googler." I link to and summarize research articles. I report on the latest from medical journals. My name may even be on your little papers or Google printouts! No wonder some doctors think I'm crazy!

What Do I Think is Crazy?

So we've looked at some of the issues that make some endocrinologists and "thyroidologists" threatened -- even seemingly unhinged -- by empowered, knowledgeable thyroid patients, or even make them call us "crazy."

But here's what I think is crazy!

I think it's crazy that many doctors spend only a few hours studying the thyroid in medical school, less time than they spend on conditions that are far less common.

I think it's crazy that some doctors get the bulk of their current knowledge about thyroid disease from pharmaceutical company advertisements and drug representatives.

I think it's crazy that your doctor is more likely to give you a prescription for an antidepressant than a thyroid test.

I think it's crazy that doctors who call the TSH test the "gold standard" for thyroid diagnosis and treatment can't even agree on a normal range for the TSH test -- and have been arguing and debating about it for more than a decade, while patients suffer.

I think it's crazy that there are so-called thyroid experts who actually believe, and publish articles claiming that thyroid patients who test "normal" but still don't feel well have mental health problems.

I think it's crazy that there are still "fertility experts" who put women through expensive and difficult cycles of assisted reproduction and in vitro fertilization, yet they've never done a thyroid test on the supposedly infertile woman.

I think it's crazy that some self-proclaimed "real thyroid experts" and "thyroidologists" have adopted an especially dogmatic and unscientific approach to thyroid diagnosis and treatment that cherry picks research to support their opinions, and selectively ignores medical research that could help thyroid patients.

I think it's crazy that some doctors ignore clinical thyroid signs, medical history, patient symptoms, and their own common sense, and instead rely solely on the results of blood tests, in order to diagnose patients.

I think it's crazy that doctors will ignore obvious symptoms and refuse to test some people for thyroid conditions, based on their own ignorance, arrogance, or financial motivations.

I think it's crazy that doctors will declare a patient treated, just as long as TSH levels are normal, despite continuing and unresolved symptoms

I think it's crazy that some doctors give more weight and credibility only to lab values, ignoring the patient's own experience of how she/he feels

I think it's crazy that research protocols studying the use of T3 keep using the wrong amounts and type of T3, and then, not surprisingly, declare T3 not to be a useful treatment.

I think it's crazy that some doctors routinely dismiss the use of natural desiccated thyroid, yet will not study why some patients feel better and do better -- and are even able to maintain normal lab values -- using a medication that some condemn as outdated.

I think it's crazy that doctors don't welcome informed, empowered patients, and instead want to dictate to patients

I think it's crazy that doctors don't care whether or not their patients to truly LIVE WELL, they just care whether their patients have normal lab values

I think it's crazy that we have an epidemic of obesity, and no one is looking carefully and closely at the possibly linkage to thyroid disease. Why? Because they don't even recognize the role of the thyroid in metabolism and weight gain.

I think it's crazy that endocrinologists have the time to make fun of thyroid patients, when by their own admission, nearly half of all thyroid patients in the U.S. are undiagnosed, and almost half of those who ARE diagnosed and treated do NOT have "normal TSH" levels, indicating poor treatment protocols. How about a little less time joking around, guys, and more time hitting the books?

So, if I'm crazy, bring it on! And I welcome my fellow patients to go crazy right along with me!

And, to those doctors who say I'm crazy, I say: THANK YOU! It's a compliment coming from you!

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