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Living Well With Hypothyroidism
by Mary J.Shoman

This 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 a hypochondriac?

This 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."

There 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.

Part 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.

Part 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.

Ms. 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.

The 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.

Becoming 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

To Purchase:
   • Living Well With Hypothyroidism at Amazon.com
   • Living Well With Hypothyroidism at Amazon UK
   • Living Well With Hypothyroidism at Amazon Canada

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