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Thyroid disorders mistreated

27th March 2009

Experts have warned that people with suspected thyroid disorders are being mistreated and misinformed.


Doctors from the British Thyroid Association (BTA) have suggested that some people are being given the wrong tests and the wrong treatment.

An under-active thyroid – or hypothyroidism - is present in around 3% of people in this country and develops when the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroxine. This leads to tiredness, coldness, concentration difficulties, weight gain and fertility problems.

But while doctors in the NHS are governed by expert guidelines over diagnosis and treatment set out by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), problems arise when patients seek treatment outside the NHS.

BTA secretary Dr Amit Allahabadia said: "This is potentially an enormous problem, given that in any one year, one in four people in the United Kingdom have their thyroid function checked."

He said that a "significant minority" of patients were likely to be affected, either directly through misdiagnosis or mistreatment.

"Patients may go to see them when they think they have an under-active thyroid, or when tests have shown they have normal hormone levels but they still feel ill," he said.

Doctors are concerned that patients are often left confused by information available from websites.

Professor Peter Trainer, who chairs the clinical committee of the Society for Endocrinology which represents specialists who treat thyroid disorders, said: "It can be confusing for patients, and it can be difficult for GPs when they are confronted with that information, which is why the RCP guidance was published."


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Article Information

Title: Thyroid disorders mistreated
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 10756
Date Added: 27th Mar 2009


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