book came into my awareness shortly after a friend talked to me
about her hypothyroid symptoms. I was tired, cranky, sleepy no matter
how much I slept. I was gaining weight and not trying to. My period
returned much earlier than I expected even though I was nursing
a newborn, and my hair was falling out much more dramatically than
it had after my two prior pregnancies. My friend told me to check
out a website and that was where I came across this book. What a
revelation for me! These were symptoms I had complained about--two
years prior--to my ob/gyn along with reporting that I could
not remember anything. My doctor had explained that they were symptoms
of a mom who has too much on her plate--in my case, two young
children at the time. I believed her because she is a good doctor.
After reading Living
Well With Hypothyroidism and printing some information from the internet, I visited my doctor's office. I didn't get to see my regular doctor, but I did see someone else in the practice. I told her that I thought I had a thyroid problem. She was dismissive, but did check my level of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). What a surprise, my level came back low which means overactive. I was told to retest in a month and see my regular doctor for another appointment. A month later, my TSH came back high (or underactive) and I was feeling worse than ever. I was put on replacement hormone which made a world of difference.
Ms. Shoman is not a doctor, but a highly-informed consumer. All of us
are consumers of medicine. How often have we put our physicians
on a pedestal when it comes to telling us what is wrong? When did
medicine change as to start basing decisions solely on test results
from a laboratory rather than listening to the patient who knows
what is wrong and tells the doctor only to be ignored or considered
book is wonderfully affirming in letting us know that those who
are hypothyroid are not crazy. The author opens by stating, "Millions
of Americans like you wake up each day with hypothyroidism, a disease
you don't even know you have. You're fatigued, your hair is falling
out, you're gaining weight and depressed... Unfortunately, you don't
recognize these problems as common symptoms of hypothyroidism, a
condition that affects an estimated 13 million Americans. If you're
a woman, you're up against a one-in-eight-chance of developing a
thyroid disorder during your lifetime."
are many different reasons why people become hypothyroid. It can
be a side-effect from some other illness or even an autoimmune condition.
Having one autoimmune condition, in fact, leaves one vulnerable
to other autoimmune conditions as well. Hypothyroidism is a condition
that has been long-recognized by doctors. Prior to the sensitive
lab tests now in use, hypothyroidism was diagnosed and treated on
the basis of symptoms alone.
Part I of Ms. Shoman's book discusses in details the signs and symptoms
of hypothyroidism as well as deals with diagnosis and treatment.
The checklist in chapter four is quite comprehensive.
II deals with the challenges of getting diagnosed as well as dealing
with the subject of complementary and alternative therapies. Complementary
medicine is sometimes considered a buzzword, but there is some value
to looking at this issue and how it deals with hypothyroidism. For
instance, some foods are known to affect how well the thyroid works.
(Turnips and radishes are on this list.) In many people, food is
not an issue. To those who are sensitive, food can make a huge difference
in how well or how poorly we feel. Knowing these things and being
aware how they might affect your thyroid can make a big difference
in how you feel.
III deals with the special concerns of hypothyroidism: depression,
infertility, pregnancy, hypothyroidism in children, as well as hypothyroidism
after thyroid cancer. When one looks at the big picture, it might
be clear in retrospect, that the -presence of these issues could
have been treated by simply making sure the body has an accurate
amount of thyroid hormone.
Shoman writes a good book. Her writing is supported by the information
she took from medical journals and books written on the various
aspects of hypothyroidism. She puts it all together in a most comprehensive
way. This is a self-help book written from the view of a medical
consumer; however, do not let that deter you from reading the book.
information I found in Ms.Shoman's book saved my life. I know that
sounds dramatic, but the long-term effects of chronic hypothyroidism
are life-threatening. I experienced some of those things as well
although I have not written about them here.
an informed medical consumer enables you to participate more fully
in your health care. In these days, when doctors are pushed to see
even more patients, being informed allows you to get the best health care
you can in the time that is allotted for the standard visit to your
doctor's office. Ms.Shoman offers hope for all of us. I found hope
and affirmation in this book. I hope you do too.
Book review by Elaine Menard
• Living Well With Hypothyroidism at Amazon.com
• Living Well With Hypothyroidism at Amazon UK
• Living Well With Hypothyroidism at Amazon Canada