According to a 2017 survey of hypothyroid patients, the majority are unhappy with their current treatment plan–and all of the 12,146 individuals who completed the survey said there was a need for new treatments.
That's a lot of dissatisfied patients. Let's take a look at the reasons for such dissatisfaction and what care providers can do about it.
Satisfaction with treatment was only rated an average of 5 out of 10. Patients who take desiccated animal thyroid (animal-derived natural thyroid preparations) rated their satisfaction with treatment the highest, at an average of 7 out of 10. Patients who take a synthetic preparation of thyroxine (T4) alone have the lowest satisfaction with their treatment (rated at a 5), while patients who take a combination of thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) were the median (rated at a 6).
Pure synthetic thyroxine (T4), taken once daily by mouth, is the standard treatment option for hypothyroidism, designed to fully replace the thyroid gland and treat symptoms. However, many patients are unhappy with this treatment because they still do not feel completely normal with a synthetic preparation of T4 alone. Unfortunately, it's too common for doctors to take this one-size-fits-most approach, leaving patients feeling unheard or dismissed.
If only it were as easy as one medication that worked for all of us — but the reality is that we are all unique with individual sensitivities. Our bodies will not all react the same way to a specific medication or dosage. Doctors should work closely with their patients to investigate which treatment is ideal and what dosage is optimal.
Many hypothyroidism patients report continued symptoms like sluggishness, memory problems, lethargy, sleepiness, depression, hoarseness, dry skin, cold intolerance, weight gain, and constipation despite treatment. This causes immense amounts of frustration that their treatment plan isn’t relieving all their symptoms.
Doctors should consider that these stubborn symptoms may present from other sources than hypothyroidism. Find yourself a doctor and health coach to help you with a holistic approach to your health beyond medication - from diet and lifestyle, to managing stress, to the right exercises to help maintain your best thyroid health.
Most of the study participants rated the impact hypothyroidism has on their life as a 10 out of 10. That’s a significant number of people whose daily lives are immensely impacted by their medical condition. It’s natural that will cause unhappiness amongst hypothyroid patients.
It’s important for doctors to be sympathetic to the fact that their patients are greatly affected by their symptoms and treatment. A prescription alone is often not enough to improve a hypothyroid patient’s quality of life. Doctors should think outside the box to seek out treatment options that improve their patient’s life.
Every participant in the study agreed that new hypothyroidism treatment options are needed.
Paloma Health is excited to offer an end-to-end medical practice focusing exclusively on elevating the care and experience of patients with hypothyroidism. We know that what is currently available is causing dissatisfaction and unhappiness, and we have built Paloma to provide exceptional care and relieve some of the burden of managing life with hypothyroidism.
Discover how a good thyroid doctor - one who takes the time to understand your symptoms and frustrations - can change your life.
Find inspiration for a healthy way to support your thyroid