200,000,000 people worldwide have Thyroid Disease and it's related problems. Thyroid Disease is common, affecting 3% to 5% of the adult population in North America. The estimated number of cases of thyroid dysfunction in America is 13 million. 8 million of these remain undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. 1/4th of 1% of all cases have Graves' Disease.
There are several forms of Thyroid Disease - Hyperthyroidism, Hypothyroidism, Toxic Nodular Goiter, and Toxic Multi-nodular Goiter. The autoimmune disorders, Graves' Disease and Hashimoto's Disease can cause Thyroid Disease, but are more factually dysfunctions of the immune system that play havoc with the endocrine system. Each form of Thyroid Disease has one list of symptoms which are all very similar and one list of individual symptoms supposedly unique to that form. But in reality, as I've seen from my own experience, you can mix and match many of the symptoms depending on the individual who has the disease and how far it has progressed.
The problem with diagnosing Thyroid Disease lies in the fact that most of the symptoms of Thyroid Disease, taken in whole or in part, can be identical to symptoms of highly recognized diseases or conditions. The trouble is that screening for Thyroid Disease is not routine. Many times discovery stops too soon, and the questions are too few. Without routine testing, unless the condition has made itself obvious by manifesting into a mature medical problem, the chances of receiving the correct diagnosis depend entirely upon luck at picking a medical professional who is knowledgeable enough to suspect Thyroid Disease. By the time Thyroid Disease becomes obviously mature, it doesn't necessarily have to but can cause permanent damage to the body, and has most likely caused much unneeded physical and emotional suffering to the person who is ill, and unwarranted stress to relationships with friends and family.
Getting a handle on this disease is the biggest problem. That is the hardest part to overcome, yet would take the least amount of effort to do. A blood test, a simple blood test measuring the amount of thyroid hormones in your system, is the only way to prove if your symptoms are caused by a thyroid dysfunction. Should the blood test be suspicious, then further testing must be done to evaluate the type of Thyroid Disease you have, or to rule out Thyroid Disease and discover what is causing your thyroid to misbehave.
The thyroid is the prime controller of all metabolic processes. The hormones it produces can manage or mismanage your entire person. Thyroid Disease is not an uncommon condition. 8,000,000 people in America have it and don't know it. It can mask itself as many other conditions. It can be a devastating experience. An early diagnosis could save suffering and anguish, and prevent wasted time and money.
Considering these points, what would it take to gain the much needed attention about this disease from the medical profession? What is the reasoning for not making a thyroid blood test part of a routine yearly physical? What reasoning is present for not taking one more test on blood already drawn to test for other common medical problems? And, why is this testing not immediately a routine test for someone who suffers from the signs of depression? Why is Thyroid Disease not suspect?
These are all very reasonable questions. What are the reasonable answers? I wish there was some way I could have all physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors live just a few days of my life, then tell me that suspecting Thyroid Disease is not important enough to make it routine.
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