Can you choose a GP by speciality? (UK)

Hi, I have hypothyroidism (autoimmune) and although my results are normal after gradually going from 25mcg to 100mcg, I still have some symptoms. These are tiredness, slight dizziness, moderate to severe depression (sometimes suicidal), anxiety, aches and pains, hairloss from childhood (I'm 30 now). The tiredness and pains have improved a lot, as have the condition of my hair and skin (which I didn't even know was a symptom) and I did get a dead leg a couple of times before starting medication which hasn't happened again. My symptoms are still bothering me and, I think, really affecting my quality of life in relation to raising my son and coping at work.

As lovely as my Doctor is (and maybe I'm being unfair and he is totally right in his decision), he has said that he will send me counselling to help me cope with my remaining symptoms but I am stuck with them because of the autoimmune aspect of my condition and there is no other medication that can make these any better. I have had blood tests for numerous things (I am waiting for my records so I know exactly what they are) and nothing else has come back as being out of the ordinary.

After this long essay what I basically want to know is if it is possible to find a Dr to register with based on their interest and experience with my condition. I have read a book about the thyroid but it was written by an American and the advice about "choosing" a doctor based on their experience in your condition sounds like something that is not available on NHS. Hope my post makes sense. Ta.

10 Replies

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  • Fyffee, I very much doubt you will find an NHS GP that specialises in thyroid. There aren't even many endocrinologists specialising in thyroid as most are diabetes experts. You can get a list of recommended endos and private GPs by emailing louise.warvill@thyroiduk.org.uk

    'Normal' range is very broad and isn't the same as optimal. When you get your results post them with the lab ref ranges (the figures in brackets after your results) and members will advise.

    There are alternative thyroid medications to Levothyroxine (T4) but many GPs won't prescribe Liothyronine (T3) in combination with, or instead of, T4 without direction from an endo.

    If your GP only tests TSH it may be worth ordering a private FT4 and FT3 test as low FT3 can cause depression and the addition of some T3 to a reduced dose of T4 can be very beneficial. Private tests are available from Blue Horizon and Genova via thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/testin...

    Natural dessicated thyroid (NDT) contains T4 and T3 but isn't licensed for use in the UK and is, therefore, rarely prescribed on the NHS and most members using it buy it online and self medicate.

    Many autoimmune (Hashioto's) thyroid patients find a gluten-free diet helps reduce flare ups and antibodies and helps manage symptoms of bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhoea.

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/about_...

    If they haven't already been tested, ask your GP to test ferritin, vitamin D, B12 and folate as hypothyroid patients are often deficient/low and these deficiencies can cause musculoskeletal pain, fatigue and low mood similar to hypothyroid symptoms. Post your results with the lab ref ranges (the figures in brackets after your results) in a new question and members will advise whether supplementation is required.

  • Thanks clutter, I have ordered my medical records so will wait for them to come back to me with that then I can put some numbers up here, maybe that will help more. I have also ordered a couple of books on thyroid problems to try and educate myself. I'm sure my doctor will love having someone who hasn't been to college dismissing his years at uni with books and the internet but I really need to get sorted. :)

  • Fyffee, some doctors like patients informing themselves while others hate it. I don't much care either way, if it helps me get the treatment I think I need. It is better to quote from a specific research paper rather than say you read it on t'internet or a forum. Gives 'em less chance to be dismissive although my endo still claimed the study was poor or it wasn't random controlled or it was American etc. so I quoted from the European Journal of Endocrinology and we agreed to disagree. He did prescribe T3 though :)

  • Yeah I see what you mean with the referencing, I am reading a few books hoping that the repetitive reading of the info will make it stick as I can't concentrate on hardly anything at the moment. Sometimes you just have to sort yourself out.

  • I have virtually no choice in GP. I live in Glasgow and local GPs take you strictly by your postcode. Very disappointing considering my GP is a chocolate teapot where my health is concerned and not just thyroid - which is of course a huge problem.

  • I'm sorry that you are having trouble with this as well sandrad. I followed the links supplied by clutter above and have ordered a couple of books suggested on there. I don't know if it will help me but surely it can't hurt. I don't know if you've tried that sandrad, maybe your library has some you can borrow. Hopefully we will all find our answers soon.

  • Thanks Fyffee1984 I have quite a few books and trying to study them, Thyroid UK site has been fantastic but I'm furious about how little choice we have in Dr's. If they refuse to help when you are clearly unwell and even when diagnosed we have next to no options. I changed GP's as my last one told me it was all in my head, eventually went to another, as a visitor, who spotted it straightaway before I opened my mouth - she told me by looking at me and backed it up by tests. I'm not allowed to stay with this GP as she's not in my postcode area. I would love to stay with her. We have more choice over a tin of beans than our doctors. Here's hoping for us all. Sadly the GMC are the biggest chocolate teapot.

  • If you are British then you can just go to another practice and ask to join. You will need to take your NHS no with you so that they can access your records on their computers. Providing that the new practise has openings for new patients there should be no problem.

    A vitamin B12 deficiency can result from hypothyroidism as B12 needs calcium to be absorbed. Many of your symptoms reflect B12 deficiency. The present blood tests are inadequate for showing a deficiency as the body will draw B12 from anywhere in the body to maintain adequate blood levels. This means depleting B12 from the liver which usually stores a year's supply.

    For myself, I only found out by eating a steak & kidney pie one day on its own and feeling so much better afterwards. Realising that meat and kidney are high in B12, I bought some sub-lingual B12 tablets and then started to feel so much better. My main symptoms were irritability, bone aches, food intolerances, inflamed digestive tract, lack of energy and flaky skin.

    B12 deficiency can be caused by high levels of stress, tobacco, coffee, alcohol, lack of meat, gluten sensitivity and lack of absorption in the gut through inflammation.

    I hope this helps you

    Regards

  • Thanks for that, I thought you still had to be in a catchment area to change Drs. It would be a shame to change Drs because he is a nice man but I just feel like he is restricting his decision making by being cautious. I can understand that because who wants to be sued? But it doesn't help me much.

  • I had the same attitude from my old Doctor. It seems that nowadays Doctors are restricted to only giving advice and drugs which are on their computers and controlled by strict NHS rules! This is forcing people to seek help from the Internet.

    Sometimes carefully asked questions may get some response. When I asked my Doctor about B12 supplementation he said you can take them if you want, so I took this as meaning that it would be safe to take.

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