Is Hypothyroidism The Biggest Medical Misdiagnosis Of All Times?

Hypothyroidism misdiagnosis

25th of May is traditionally a World Thyroid Day that aims to raise the awareness of thyroid disease. Approximately 750 million people worldwide are affected by thyroid disorders and this number is constantly increasing.

As hypothyroidism reached epidemic proportions so did the medical ignorance and the amount of people who remain undiagnosed and undertreated.

Do you know that preventable medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the USA right after heart attacks and cancer?

The Institute of Medicine previously reported that medical errors cause up to 98,000 deaths in US hospitals every year. However, new estimates show that this number is much higher and is between 210,000 and 444,000.

These statistics are astonishing and you may wonder how this is possible.

According to Forbes:

“These people are not dying from the illnesses that caused them to seek hospital care in the first place. They are dying from mishaps that hospitals could have prevented.

What do these errors look like? The sponge left inside the surgical patient, prompting weeks of mysterious, agonizing abdominal pain before the infection overcomes bodily functions.

The medication injected into a baby’s IV at a dose calculated for a 200 pound man. The excruciating infection from contaminated equipment used at the bedside. Sadly, over a thousand people a day are dying from these kinds of mistakes.”

Medical Mistakes That Nobody Taking Into Consideration

Unfortunately, medical errors in hospitals are only the tip of the iceberg. They get the most attention because people are dying quickly from causes that are obvious.

But there is also another side to the story.

Many people suffer in silence because modern medicine fails to make a diagnosis and give a proper treatment.

Just think how many tests are part of the standard medical care and are used to make a diagnosis and evaluate the effectiveness of a treatment but are actually unreliable.

Blood tests for celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, most food allergies, most tests for hormones (cortisol, progesterone, estradiol, testosterone etc.) and thyroid are just some of them. There is a high probability to miss the correct diagnosis and don’t receive the  necessary treatment using these tests, relying on normal reference ranges and current standard medical guidelines.

Thyroid disease is one of the increasingly common conditions that can cause debilitating symptoms and even could put your life at risk but still didn’t make it into the official statistics.

While some of thyroid conditions like hashitoxicosis, thyroid storm and hyperthyroidism can be life threatening and send you to the emergency room, hypothyroidism and thyroid autoimmune disease are literally killing you slowly.

On average it takes between 6 and 8 years to get diagnosed with hypothyroidism and autoimmune Hashimoto’s and many patients are misdiagnosed until the thyroid imbalance shows clearly on the lab tests. However, if you look into the standard hypothyroidism treatment guidelines this doesn’t come as a surprise.

There are millions of people (30 million in US alone to be exact) who unknowingly suffer from hypothyroidism because the standard medical care:

– relies on the TSH test alone

– uses too wide reference ranges for diagnosis and treatment

– prescribes T4-only medication absolutely ignoring the biological need of T3 hormone.

Conventional medicine doesn’t treat the autoimmune component of Hashimoto’s disease and thyroid antibodies are rarely tested since their presence doesn’t change the conventional treatment.

As a result, people with hypothyroidism develop many symptoms and other health conditions because their thyroid disease is either not diagnosed or properly treated or both. Most symptoms are treated individually using different medications instead of correcting the underlying thyroid problem.

No one thinks they will ever experience a medical mistake because most people trust and rely on their doctors. And yet a hypothyroidism misdiagnosis is very common. If you are misdiagnosed, the recommended treatment is unlikely to work for you and can even be harmful.

How Hypothyroidism Contributes To Degenerative Diseases

What many patients and their doctors don’t realise is that there is a relationship between thyroid deficiency and common degenerative diseases. In fact, low thyroid function is an unsuspected reason of chronic illness and sets the stage for multiple health conditions rather than just symptoms that get worse over time.

There is a broad range of health issues directly related to thyroid imbalance such as:

  • Persistent back pain
  • Joint stiffness and mild arthritis
  • Back and hips pain
  • Severe muscle cramps
  • Blood disorders (minor bleeding, easy bruising, anemias, heavy menstrual bleeding)
  • High uric acid
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Decreased heart contractility

And many others that are generally not thought to be associated with hypothyroidism, however they can be improved or even completely relieved by thyroid replacement therapy.

According to Dr. Broda Barnes, PhD and the author of the book “Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness”, suboptimal thyroid function is responsible for more than 60 common medical conditions.  He estimated that about 40% of patients in his practice have hypothyroidism or suboptimal thyroid function.

There are also other practicing physicians and researches who have estimated that between 25% and 40% of the US population is indeed hypothyroid.

Many Faces Of Thyroid Deficiency

Here are 7 groups of health conditions that conventional medicine seldom connects to suboptimal thyroid function. Are they really so incurable and non-preventable? In fact, many can be prevented and improved by balancing thyroid hormones.

1. Heart disease

Hypothyroidism is directly related to the health of your heart. It can change your heart rhythm, lower pulse, increase blood pressure and cause cholesterol levels to rise. All these factors significantly increase the risk for atherosclerosis, heart attack and heart failure. Research shows that even subclinical hypothyroidism is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

There are multiple studies confirming that low T3 is a strong predictive factor of death in patients who have undergone a surgical procedure such as a heart transplant or open heart surgery. T3 was also found to be low in people with coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure.

This research now raises the question of whether not only a suboptimal thyroid function but also a low T3 alone could be associated with an increased risk for heart disease.

What modern medicine is just trying to understand, Dr. Broda Barnes has already found an answer many years ago. In his work he discovered that hypothyroidism is responsible for the hardening of the arteries (artherosclerosis) and was able to prevent heart disease in his patients by using adequate doses of natural thyroid extract. By doing so he reduced the incidence of heart disease in his almost 2,000 patients by 90%.

2. Cancer

Subclinical hypothyroidism is an independent risk factor for colorectal, lung and gynecological types of cancer.

Low thyroid function has been shown to be an unfavorable factor contributing to the onset and course of dishormonal breast disorders and breast cancer. Clinical data confirmed that patients receiving thyroid replacement medication have an improvement during the course and a better treatment outcome of dishormonal breast disease and breast cancer.

Multiple studies indicate that Hashimoto’s disease increases the risk of developing thyroid cancer, particularly papillary thyroid cancer. The risk of malignancy increases in patients with higher level TSH within a normal range.

3. Diabetes

Thyroid disease is the most frequent autoimmune condition that is associated with both type 1 and 2 diabetes and many diabetic patients are in fact hypothyroid.

Hypothyroidism affects the way we process carbohydrates delaying the insulin response to the food we eat and predisposing people with suboptimal thyroid function to insulin resistance. Correcting thyroid imbalance is crucial if you want to prevent blood sugar imbalances, weight gain and progression to the type 2 diabetes at some point of your life.

4. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Dementia

Brain healthRecently published data of the Framingham Study that was following about 2000 participants for a period of 12.7 years, raised a big concern about the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in women with thyroid imbalances.

The research shows that women with TSH levels higher than 2.1 and lower than 1.0 have more than double the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.

Thyroid hormones directly affect health of your brain. Furthermore, symptoms of hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s and many other autoimmune conditions overlap with symptoms of brain degeneration.

Depression, fatigue, loss of motivation and drive, brain fog, inability to find the right words, memory loss and many neurological symptoms are often treated as just one more of thyroid related problems when in fact they are early indicators of brain damage.

Unfortunately, this is a common medical mistake with regrettable consequences since researchers have found Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, accelerated brain degeneration is one of the most severe consequences of poorly managed autoimmune hypothyroidism.

5. Fibromyalgia

A well-known expert in the field of thyroidology and fibromyalgia Dr. Lowe found a direct link between hypothyroidism and fibromyalgia. He noticed that fibromyalgia patients have abnormally low metabolic rates and body temperatures and has used it as markers for establishing peripheral thyroid hormone resistance.

He created his metabolic rehabilitation protocol where up to 85% of patients who followed his complete treatment program fully recovered from fibromyalgia and achieved long lasting results.

6. Depression

Hypothyroidism is most common health disorder that can either be a cause of depression or a major contributing factor. Due to low thyroid hormones a person can develop mild hypothyroidism and feel emotionally depressed or burned out.

Women with Hashimoto’s disease who have normal lab test results and are around perimenopause or menopause are affected by depression 3 times more often than those without thyroid imbalances.

Women who are hospitalized for depression have higher incidence of Hashimoto’s disease even if their lab test results are normal.

Studies show that about half of the patients who have major depression and do not respond to antidepressants have mild or subclinical hypothyroidism. In fact, when thyroid dysfunction remains untreated conventional antidepressants usually don’t help to alleviate depression.

Dr. Ridha Arem successfully treated thyroid related depression with T3 medication and helped many women get off antidepressants by correcting thyroid and related neurotransmitter imbalances.

7. Infections

People with hypothyroidism are susceptible to cold, influenza, pneumonia, respiratory, ear, nose, throat, bladder and other infections that tend to become severe and last longer. This happens because low thyroid function is a major factor that lowers our resistance to bacteria and viruses.

According to Broda Barnes: “Mild hypothyroidism may set the stage so that the exposure to another person with an infectious disease may lead to an infection that would not “take” in a person with normal thyroid function who is similarly exposed.”

When given the thyroid medication the resistance to infections increase. An adequate hypothyroidism treatment is your best defence against an infectious disease.

All that said hypothyroidism is not the only cause of all degenerative and chronic disease, however it is one of the major contributing factors. Many traditional treatments fail or are less effective unless the suboptimal thyroid function is properly treated.

Medical Ignorance Needs To Stop

Already over 60 years ago Dr. Broda Barnes’ research and medical practice clearly showed that people affected with hypothyroidism are susceptible to infections, heart disease and cancer.

How many people have died from these conditions, since his work first became available but didn’t reach the mainstream medicine and medical praxis?

And how many more people are at the increased risk for cancer, heart disease and other chronic conditions that he showed occur mainly in people with hypothyroidism but medical establishment didn’t pay any attention?

All these people suffer unnecessarily from hypothyroidism for years and die from chronic and degenerative disease while the medical community continues to ignore the thyroid involvement. This practice and attitude certainly needs to be changed!

Thyroid Health Care

P.S. High metabolic rate is the key to optimal health, prevention and resistance to disease – both infectious and degenerative.

In most cases a simple approach is the best. Using long-forgotten time-tested methods such as taking your morning body temperature, watching how you feel before and after meals and taking your pulse rate can often be a first indicator that something is wrong with your thyroid and metabolic rate.

Sometimes if you want things to be done the right way you have to take it in your own hands. Luckily for people who have hypothyroidism, simple lifestyle and dietary adjustments can often bring big results.

If you are concerned about your health and don’t want to become the next medical mistake, you may want to read more or click below to watch a special presentation about research-based approach on how to prevent degenerative disease by optimizing your thyroid function and recovering from hypothyroidism.

Best Hypothyrodism Treatment


Hypothyroidism: The unsuspected Illness by Broda Barnes, Lawrence Galton.1976

Solved: The Riddle of Illness by Stephen Langer, James Scheer. 2006

Hypothyroidism Type 2: The Epidemic Paperback by Mark Starr. 2015

Thyroid Function and the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease: The Framingham Study. Arch Intern Med. 2008 July 28;168(14):1514-1520

Subclinical hypothyroidism as an independent risk factor for colorectal neoplasm. Clin Res Hepatol Gastroenterol. 2014 Sep 18. pii: S2210-7401(14)00182-X.

Structural and functional thyroid abnormalities in patients with dyshormonal breast disorders and tumors. Probl Radiac Med Radiobiol. 2013;(18):156-68.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, microcalcification and raised thyrotropin levels within normal range are associated with thyroid cancer. World Journal of Surgical Oncology, 2013 , 11:56

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