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This is your call to arms for Thyroid Awareness Week! We want you to “Cause a Flutter” about thyroid disorders.
Many people, including clinicians, believe that thyroid disorders are easy to diagnose and treat. However, according to the results of the Hypothyroid Patient Experiences survey, run by Thyroid UK for the Scottish Government as part of a listening exercise into how hypothyroid patients are being diagnosed and treated it is taking a very long time to diagnose - 21% of respondents took over 5 years to obtain a diagnosis of hypothyroidism - and many patients are being denied the treatment they need.
The thyroid produces two hormones, thyroxine (T4) and tri-iodothyronine (T3). The standard medication for hypothyroid patients is levothyroxine (T4) but in up to 16% of patients, this medication does not relieve their symptoms. Of 4,299 respondents, 23% asked for natural desiccated thyroid and 92% were refused this treatment with the main reasons being ‘lack of knowledge’ (about the medication) and ‘no evidence of superiority over levothyroxine’. 27% of the respondents asked for T3 but 72% were refused, the main reasons being, once again, ‘lack of knowledge’ (about the medication) and ‘no evidence of superiority over levothyroxine’.
The survey also shows that 4% of the respondents have been taken off some form of thyroid medication which was helping with their symptoms which Thyroid UK believes is unethical.
In respect of queries from members of the public asking for support, there appears to be a trend in local Clinical Commissioning Groups refusing to continue to prescribe an alternative medication for hypothyroidism causing much distress to patients, especially if they have been well on their medication for years.
This is obviously not acceptable and we want to do all that we can to raise awareness of thyroid disorders and the problems faced by people, both diagnosed and undiagnosed. Our aim is to educate more people about the thyroid and let people know how common it is and that for some people it can be an up-hill battle to get a diagnosis and get the correct treatment for them.
Please help us to raise awareness by taking part in our “Let’s Cause a Flutter” Campaign and by sending a letter to your MP and by purchasing our merchandise.
The more people that help us spread the word, the more people we will have behind us to make the British Thyroid Association and Royal College of Physicians sit up and think again!