I get e-mails often, in fact one from a woman recently who repeatedly went to Doctors with the full array of hypothyroid symptoms and all of her thyroid hormone levels, including TSH were all in the normal range, even with repeated testing. She finally demanded antibody tests and her Doctor said "they were off the map", meaning they were very highly elevated, so they went ahead and placed her on thyroid medication because of her symptoms.
A lot of med sources still state that Hashimoto's does not cause symptoms, only the resulting hypothyroidism, once detectable by abnormal thyroid hormone blood tests. Far too many patients report symptoms before hormone levels fall outside the normal range, which also means the same disease can also continue to cause symptoms when hormone levels are corrected back into the normal range, even at optimal levels.
The description of expected results from thyroid medications, from those who state that the thyroid autoimmunity is not a factor in symptoms, describe it in almost miraculous or magical terms such as one I read recently that said to the effect; "once on thyroid hormone medication, any symptoms a patient has will resolve and the patient will return to normal within a few weeks".
Improvement, yes! Symptoms completely resolved and a return to normal, no! A percentage of patients may see near-perfect results but for many, there is ongoing struggle with a degree of symptoms because autoimmune thyroiditis is a disease and is not cured by correcting the hypothyroidism that results from it, in fact no cure has yet been discovered.
Thank God for the results we do get from hormone replacement therapy but many in the medical community, need to be a little more realistic with patients who can really feel let down by anything less than what they are told will happen. If perfect relief is not experienced, the patient is told “it is not their thyroid” and usually they will then be diagnosed as psychosomatic/emotional. Emotions may very well be some of the symptoms that do not resolve but it is only fair to the patient for the diagnosis to be described as being “related” to the thyroid disease.
I also read some articles recently stating to the effect that; “patients who do not see their symptoms resolve once optimized on thyroid med, are simply experiencing added stress and worry from the reality of having the disease”.
These are the type things that have given me a passion for this particular aspect of misinformation. It's hard to sit still while literally thousands of thyroid patients are pegged with these wrong and unfair descriptions, that simply are not true in most cases.
You would think from some of these descriptions, that this disease is just a mild condition similar to a cold, that is easily treatable and that seldom ever causes problems once treated. This is why the research articles about the role of "thyroid autoimmunity" in symptoms both physical & emotional and these Health Related Quality of Life of Thyroid Patients poles, that are being done, are so important in my opinion.
Too many medical sources and thyroid medication manufacturers, still state simply that once a patient with Hashimoto’s-hypothyroidism for example, is on replacement hormone, they will get better and no longer suffer symptoms, after about 6-weeks or so on the replacement hormone medication.
While most patients do see lots of improvement, many still suffer a degree of symptoms, no matter how optimized their treatment is because the medication does not cure the underlying autoimmune disease. For this reason, patients should not be patronized and made to feel ridiculous or have it implied to them, that they are hypochondriacs or experiencing psychosomatic symptoms, simply because they do not see complete relief of symptoms from replacement hormone therapy.