Ryan Drum PHD, A.H.G. (by permission)

 

Thyroid dysfunction is epidemic in North America. One in ten adult American women have been diagnosed with thyroid disorders and some endocrinologists suggest that as many as 25% of adult American women are presenting with clinically detectable thyroid dysfunction. Health practitioners in Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Ireland (pers. comm) report a similar apparent very startling increase in female thyroid disorders. Most veterinarians in small animal practice are seeing thyroid problems in cats and dogs balloon up to 40% of their respective practices (cats tend to be hyperthyroid and dogs tend to be hypothyroid; the proportional dosage for pets seems to be much higher for thyroid hormone treatments. ) What has happened? ARE PRACTITIONERS FINALLY BECOMING MORE AWARE OF THE MANY FACETS OF THYROID DYSFUNCTION PRESENTATIONS? Or, has something happened in the environment which is responsible for the apparent great increase in clinical and subclinical thyroid dysfunction? In clinical practice I am somewhat incredulous at the recent rapid increase in patients (90% female) presenting with both diagnosed and probable thyroid dysfunction (1995-1999). Just for a reality check, I went back to my old (1967) Robbins' Pathology to see if he had anything to say about frequency of thyroid presentations. He did: " Diseases of the thyroid, while not common in clinical practice, are nonetheless of great importance because most are amenable to medical or surgical management." "NOT COMMON IN CLINICAL PRACTICE"!!! People, practitioners, or the environment has changed, singly or perhaps in concert. I do not believe that Robbins was joking. His so hopeful prognosis for thyroid case management might bring bitter responses from the millions of women who have experienced surgical or radiation ablation removal of their thyroids only to have many or most of their presenting symptoms and others return with a vengeance. The patient help phone lines at the Thyroid Foundation of America are flooded with thousands of calls from women wondering, " how come I feel awful again"? Too often their endocrinologists dismiss their valid complaints as imagination or psychological character flaws. These mostly female patients are being very poorly managed from my viewpoint. Currently, TFA endocrinologists are actively trying to improve this situation. (pers. comm from L. Wood to RD.)
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