Thursday, 29 August 2013

More on Thyroid.......and Genetics

This is NOT a medical post and does not reflect any medical or pharmacological details - these are my opinions based upon reading and my professional learning.

Thyroid Disease 101
Image from About Thyroid
A few weeks ago a newsletter I subscribe to, called Stop the Thyroid Madness shared the details of a medical study, which had been conducted in Italy. You can download the study HERE, but it was published in the Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology journal.

The Study was essentially about the potential link between Levothyroxine (T4) and lung cancer. There were several reasons why I read the article several times before writing this post.

  • I am a patient taking levothyroxine (T4) & have done so since 1992
  • I have a keen interest in all matters around the subject of hypothyroidism & hyperthyroidism
  • I have to, for the day job conduct CPD, so this fits the criteria, albeit rather loosely
  • The study was conducted in 18 Italian regions. I am half Italian and Sicily was one of the regions used.
  • Question - what is, if there is one, the genetic link?
There was quite a lot of detail in the study and I am not going to bore readers who do not have an interest in this particular issue, but if you do, read the webpage and the study.It is informative and has made me ponder, question and debate the issue of genetics again.

The thread on the webpage had a few responses from those thyroid patients in the US, and the site is written by an American author, which is worth bearing in mind as in the UK things and thinking are a little different, although not necessarily correct. 

There has always been this debate that T4 alone does not work. The reality is that in the UK we rarely prescribe T3 in addition to T4, although I was prescribed it from 1999 to 2008 when I stopped, on the basis that another study revealed that there was a potential link to heart disease.

Taking T4 is a hormone and as any women will know our hormone levels adjust on a fairly regular basis. Blood tests for T4 levels are should be done at least twice a year, and certainly within 8 weeks of any changes to T4 doses, as it takes 6 weeks for the levels to adjust.

I would like to see if this study is going to be done in the UK; perhaps at Bristol, who in the past have taken part in a number of studies. I am also going to write to the authors and ask the question around genetics.

As I said above, this is not a medical or professional post. This was merely reading which I undertook for my personal use and I know that I shared various thoughts and pondering's about Thyroid and genetics before and I have several thyroid patients among my readership.


  1. Julie, thank you so much for sharing this interesting article. I have been lackadaisical about the whole thyroid issue (members of my family have been taking it since the 1970's) but reading about your experience has opened some serious questions.

    1. Thanks for your comments. I am always a little concerned about studies. Would those people have simply developed cancer anyway? is one question.

      I think we live in such modern times that it is important we question what is happening to our bodies, after all, we only get one body and one chance at life. SO for me, it always paramount to ask questions and challenge reluctance to answer from those professionals who feel that patients should not ask questions.


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