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Why Conventional Medicine Gets Thyroid Dysfunction Wrong

By September 10, 2016 No Comments

This is an excerpt from Dr. Amy Myers’ book, The Thyroid Connection.

Okay, so here’s the thing: Conventional medicine is failing far too many people. And nowhere is this failure more evident than with thyroid dysfunction.

The American Thyroid Association says that over the course of a lifetime, at least 12 percent of the U.S. population will suffer from thyroid dysfunction. That’s one person in eight. And women are five to eight times more likely than men to be affected. According to the association, up to 60 percent of people with thyroid dysfunction don’t even realize they have a problem.

With so many suffering, you’d think conventional medicine would sound the alarm. You’d expect your conventional doctor to be all over thyroid dysfunction— testing you regularly, giving you the right amount and type of medication and/or supplemental thyroid hormone, ensuring that you’re getting the right kind of diet and supplements and sleep and stress relief to keep your thyroid in peak condition.

Nope. Not even close. Instead, thyroid dysfunction is one of the most underdiagnosed and improperly treated health conditions. Conventional doctors are failing us in so many ways regarding thyroid dysfunction, it’s hard to list them all, but let’s give it a try.

  • Even when you present with thyroid symptoms, many doctors fail to test for thyroid disorders and misdiagnose the condition, especially if you’re younger than forty or you are a man.
  • When you are tested, you often don’t get all the tests you need.
  • When you are finally diagnosed and treated, if you are hypothyroid (have an underactive thyroid), you often don’t get the right amount or proper form of supplemental thyroid hormone.
  • If you are hyperthyroid (have an overactive thyroid), your conventional medical options carry severe, sometimes disabling side effects or irreversible damage and you aren’t told about natural herbal treatments that might be equally effective while sparing you the downsides.
  • You never learn about the extraordinary effects you can achieve by making certain changes in your diet and lifestyle: consuming the nutrients your thyroid needs, avoiding foods that trigger inflammation (an immune system response that can create numerous problems), healing your gut, getting rid of your toxic overload, treating underlying infections, avoiding overexercising, getting good, restful sleep, and relieving stress.
  • You don’t find out how to reverse autoimmune conditions and support your immune system— a crucial need, since the vast majority of thyroid dysfunction is due to autoimmunity.

As both a functional medicine physician and a thyroid patient, I hate thinking how badly conventional medicine is failing people with thyroid dysfunction, because I know how awful it feels to go through the medical mill. The doctors who tell you it’s all in your head. The treatments that are supposed to work but don’t, or don’t work well enough, or leave you struggling with side effects. The symptoms that get worse and worse and worse, while your doctor brushes them off and insists that you are getting standard‑of‑care treatment.

All that is bad enough. But what really bothers me is that we’ve all been sold a bill of goods. We’ve been told that depression and brain fog and weight gain are an inevitable part of aging— that loss of sex drive and lack of energy and memory lapses are just something you have to learn to live with. We’ve been fooled into thinking that even in our twenties and thirties, we should expect to feel stressed, burned out, and miserable. The ideal of optimal health and function in every aspect of our bodies— and our lives— is made to seem like some kind of impossible dream, some kind of New Age fantasy instead of an absolutely achievable medical goal that every single one of us should be able to attain.

Well, I’m here to tell you that vibrant, glowing health is not a fantasy. My patients achieve it every day, and I know you can too. When you finally get your thyroid back into balance, you won’t believe how terrific you feel.

So welcome to The Thyroid Connection— the book that’s going to turn it all around for you and get you back on track.