Thyroid UK
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Treating the numbers

Curious to know if anyone else has a doctor who,and I quote 'treats the numbers not the symptoms'.

I went a whole back feeling lousy and was told this. I've been in slow decline since and a couple of weeks ago when I had my asthma review asked for a thyroid blood. Was told I couldn't have one as it wasn't time for my annual review. I've slowly been getting worse to the point where two days ago I was struggling to get up and make myself something to eat. in desperation I took an extra full dose of levo, (100micrograms) and had none of my usual overdose symptoms.

I'm going back to the doctor this week to have a serious chat about their policy as I have never been stabilised and have been seriously over medicated following this policy. Does anyone know any reason why treating numbers is seen as the correct approach?


4 Replies

Welcome jgreen5748,

I would say your doctors quote is very familiar and basically what this whole forum is about.

There are masses of us undermedicated thyroidys out there struggling to be heard and relieve the correct treatment.

On this forum you will heard and receive excellent advice. I'm not clever with blood tests results but if you post yours together with ranges (numbers in brackets), someone will be able to advise you what is going on.

Have you had any Vit D, Vit B12, folate, ferritin blood tests? If you are deficient in any of these if can affect how your thyroid meds work.

Also have you been tested for thyroid antibodies - TPOAb and TgAb? A lot of hypothyroid people have these antibodies causing a disease called Hashimotos thyroiditis.


Most of the NHS works like that. Just follow what the lab techs say.

They get funding points for things like annual reviews. And there is no money in thyroid meds (although asthma is quite lucrative, as is heart disease and depression). There's also no money in having people well and optimally medicated. Not sure where the money for free prescriptions comes from.


I have to say that I had this argument with my endo, he tried to dismiss my symptoms and also tried to discharge me because I would not follow his advice! Luckily his secretary is a lovely woman who stepped in and asked me to e-mail the doctor with a list of problems, I sent 7 A4 pages of references as to why the TSH becomes suppressed and written in large print at the top was 'Stop treating the numbers and start treating me as a person!!'


Thanks for your replies,

In six years since my diagnosis, I've passed through normal range twice, once on the way upto being massively over medicated, and once on the way back down again. My next conversation. Is going to go something like this...I told you I was overmedicated eight months before your numbers did from my symptoms, I told you five months ago I was undermedicated from my symptoms ( not got numbers yet but I know what they will say) so how about you start treating my symptoms and your numbers should match then balance. (Big sarcastic smile)

I take multivitamins to try to keep that side of things in balance, have had a lot if stress in my life over the last 6 years but that is settling down, but the refusal to book a blood test until my 12 month review is particularly annoying. I had so little energy at the weekend that I took double my dose, which should have sent my heart racing and caused a feeling not dissimilar to a panic attack. What actually happened was I was able to get up and do something.


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