How Hypothyroidism Affects The Quality Of YOUR Life?

Is your hypothyroidism treatment to blame? Hypothyroidism affects quality of life in many different ways. All parts of the body work as an entity. Upon slowing down of the thyroid gland and low thyroid hormone production the body goes into the energy preserving mode.

This affects the function of all organs including muscles, gut, brain, adrenals and heart causing a variety of symptoms that are different from person to person.

Never the less, there is subclinical hypothyroidism. As it name suggests it tends to trouble doctors to make a diagnosis and patients don’t always get  adequate treatment. However, all these narrow down to the symptoms. There are different symptoms for late and early stages of hypothyroidism. The quality of life majorly depends on the severity of symptoms.

According to official studies and publications, only 10 % of people diagnosed with hypothyroidism continue to have hypothyroid symptoms while being on thyroid medication. However, these numbers can be underestimated.

Shocking Thyroid Numbers And Statistics

Recently Thyroid Patients Advocacy, UK (TPA) conducted Hypothyroid Patients Survey and discovered that many more patients are not satisfied with their treatment and continue to suffer. The statistics are shocking: an astonishing 78.4% of respondents felt that they did NOT fully regain their optimal state of health following the thyroid treatment.

About 42.1% had stopped or changed their exercise programs as a result of their physical symptoms and 33.3% felt that the thyroid condition put a strain on their relationships.

The majority or 93.8% of respondents of Hypothyroid Patients Survey had not been told by their doctors about any medication other than Levothyroxine. T4-only thyroid replacement therapy remains the only treatment that is offered by conventional medicine and is pushed by the pharmaceutical industry.

How Hypothyrodism Affects Quality Of Your Life

Two Most Prescribed Drugs For People With Hypothyroidism That Seldom Work

In 2011 the Institute for Health Informatics, IMS issued a report “The use of medicine in the US: Review of 2011”. According to their findings, 10.5 million people were receiving  thyroid prescription drugs including natural and synthetic therapy and 18.5 million people were on antidepressants  such as SSRIs, SNRIs and newer generation products.

Antidepressants is the most prescribed class of medication that were sold through the pharmacies while T4-only medication Levothyroxine sodium is the number two most prescribed drug in US in 2011.

Levothyroxine is the generic name for the synthetic form of thyroxine that is used to replace missing thyroid hormones in people with hypothyroidism. Most common brand names are Levothyroxine, Synthroid, Levothroid and Levoxyl among others.

More than 70.5 million prescriptions are given for Synthroid alone annually.

Looking at these numbers it is not surprising that the majority of patients weren’t told about any alternatives to Levothyroxine therapy by their doctors and do not feel well on T4-only thyroid treatment.

The number of antidepressant prescriptions went up from 4% from ALL doctor’s visits in 1996 to 9% in 2007 and nearly 75% of them were written without a mental health diagnosis. Many thyroid patients are offered antidepressants when their thyroid lab test results are in the normal range but they still experience hypothyroid symptoms, are not satisfied with results of their treatment and/or have depression.

In addition, people who are told they are suffering from depression may actually have undiagnosed hypothyroidism.

Taking into consideration the high prevalence of undiagnosed and untreated hypothyroidism there is a high probability that some of the growth in antidepressant prescriptions may be due to undiagnosed thyroid disease.

How Bad Can It Get?

Hypothyroidism and autoimmune Hashimoto’s disease are NOT considered as a critical and debilitating illness by the medical professionals as for example multiple sclerosis, lupus and many other autoimmune conditions.

The more astonishing are the results of the TPA Hypothyroid Patients Survey showing that 15.5% of respondents had to stop working and 20% had taken time off work as a result of thyroid illness. This accounts for one third of patients who were unable to work on a permanent or temporary basis and is completely against the common belief that hypothyroidism is easy to treat.

The TPA Hypothyroid Survey is a clear evidence that T4-only medication does NOT bring high treatment satisfaction for majority of hypothyroid patients.

What Is The Hypothyroidism Solution?

If T4-only treatment doesn’t work for you and/or you continue to have hypothyroid symptoms a holistic hypothyroidism treatment may be a better alternative to consider:

1. Combined T4 and T3 thyroid replacement therapy

2. A comprehensive 3-step hypothyroidism treatment

3. Custom exercise program for people with hypothyroidism (what types of exercise to do and not to do and why if you have low thyroid function)

4. Leaky gut treatment to stop the progression of autoimmune disease

If you take T4-only medication and still have hypothyroid symptoms, there are other alternatives that can bring better results.

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1.  Hypothyroid Patients Survey by Thyroid Patients Advocacy, UK (TPA)

2. “The use of medicine in the US: Review of 2011” by Institute for Health Informatics, IMS, April 2012

Some base  images are courtesy of David Castillo Dominici and photostock

About Marina Gutner, PhD

Marina Gutner, PhD, researcher, medical writer, thyroid blogger, founder and Admin of Outsmart Disease who writes about life-changing treatments for hypothyroidism, Hashimoto's thyroiditis and autoimmune disease and how to balance hormones in women