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Underdiagnosis of thyroid disease in men

As Ohio residents may know, thyroid problems may cause a wide range of symptoms that are easily controlled with medication. Misdiagnosis and underdiagnosis of an underactive thyroid may impact an individual’s life adversely. However, because thyroid problems are more prevalent in women, it may be more difficult for a man to get a correct diagnosis.

Thyroid symptoms in men may include depression, inability to make decisions, hair loss and anxiety. In men, underactive thyroids may cause low levels of testosterone, a hormone that might cause fatigue and sexual dysfunction as well as issues associated with fertility, such as reduced sperm counts.

Left undiagnosed, an underactive thyroid condition in men and women may also lead to other health-related conditions. An increased rate of infection, cardiovascular disease and problems with circulation have been linked to hypothyroidism. The inclusion of hypothyroidism in a differential diagnosis often is done with female patients. However, this may cause the physician to overlook other reasons that could lead to a comparable set of symptoms in women and exclude the possibility in men.

Complete testing for thyroid dysfunction is accomplished through the use of a total thyroid panel that use different antibodies to detect it. Conventional doctors normally only order the THS test, which may be inadequate to permit appropriate diagnosis. Because labs performing this test do not always agree on what normal ranges are, a patient may be diagnosed as having normal thyroid function even though presenting as seriously ill.

Patients who have been misdiagnosed may be seriously impacted by a continuation or amplification of symptoms that may affect their livelihood due to illness and result in unnecessary medical costs. An attorney may assist by reviewing medical records and obtaining the opinion of experts in order to determine if medical negligence was the cause of the harm.