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The people closest to me have seen my struggle with thyroid and adrenal problems, and know just how hard it has been for me. They’ve seen me at my lowest, mentally and physically, and they’ve endured many conversations about the struggles I have been having.
Yet, they seem to be the people who think they’re most immune from having these problems themselves.
I have quite a few close friends who complain to me about feeling tired all the time, feeling achy and depressed. Yet when I throw it out there that they could be suffering from an underactive or overactive thyroid, adrenal fatigue, or even vitamin deficiencies, they bat it off like I’m just using this as another opportunity to preach about my own health conditions.
No, I am wanting to help you. Don’t you see that I am trying to stop other people from going through what I went though? Stop others from feeling what I did? Experiencing what I unfortunately had to? That’s why I’m bringing it up.
It is estimated that 750 million people in the world have some form of thyroid disease, including 1 in 20 people in the UK. As many as 60% are undiagnosed, and of those diagnosed, many are not adequately treated.
So don’t assume you’re not one of them. World respected Dr Barry Durrant-Peatfield expects it’s closer to 1 in 3 people having thyroid problems.
If you read my blog, it’ll be no surprise to you that I am less than thrilled with the NHS’ attempt at treating my hypothyroidism adequately, and I won’t stop trying to prevent that from happening to other people.
No one should be made to feel like it’s all in their head, as if their views and opinions do not matter, and as if they do not know their own body better than anyone else. This is a fundamental problem in the care, diagnosis and treatment of thyroid problems.
And when you someone tells me that they’ve already been checked by the doctor, and told their thyroid function is fine, I may ask what tests they actually did.
Not because I’m being righteous but because, when you explain that your doctor only ran one test, TSH, when you need Free T3 and Free T4 doing too, I’m trying to help you. Don’t think I’m being pedantic. I’m sharing with you what I learnt about my bad experience. It got me better to monitor all thyroid levels, so why can’t it help you, too? You might not have a thyroid condition after all, but only checking TSH doesn’t rule it out.
When I bring up adrenal dysfunction, and you’ve never even heard of the adrenal glands, don’t think it therefore can’t be important. Yes, they’re tiny, but they are very important.
Part of the same system as the thyroid gland, the adrenals should work in harmony with the thyroid, but they can go wrong, too. With or without good thyroid function. Even if your thyroid is fine, your adrenals could well be struggling.
Trust me when I say that most doctors won’t test adrenal function, and if they do, the urine and blood test they’ll offer isn’t the best.
Don’t brush off my suggestions without a thought, think I just love talking about myself and my own problems, or assume that it couldn’t be applicable to you because you don’t feel ‘as bad’ as I once did.
Because at the end of the day, I didn’t think that tiny butterfly shaped gland in my neck could almost kill me. But it did almost, and it would have done if I hadn’t have stepped in. This could be you too.
You’re not immune.
You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.
Please remember that if you’re a thyroid patient living with poor mental health or lingering physical symptoms, that you don’t have to live this way. To address why you may still be feeling unwell (often despite being on thyroid medication too), please see this article and go through each suggestion, putting your thyroid jigsaw back together.
Have you experienced people brushing off your concerns for their health?
The book Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate: When You’re Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired, which gives the full story on how I went from undiagnosed and ill with autoimmune hypothyroidism, to finally getting on top of my health again and living life fully.
Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes authoring books, writing articles, blogging and speaking on podcasts, as well as being a board member for The American College of Thyroidology and The WEGO Health Patient Leader Advisory Board. Rachel has worked with The National Academy of Hypothyroidism, The BBC, The Mighty, Yahoo, MSN, ThyroidChange and many more. She is well-recognised as a useful contributor to the thyroid community and has received multiple awards and recognitions for her work and dedication. She has authored two books: ‘Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate‘ and ‘You, Me and Hypothyroidism‘. Rachel is British, but advocates for thyroid patients on a global scale.