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What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Hypothyroidism

November 26, 2008

Review By: Doris J. Dickson

Type 1 Mentor


Dr. Ken Blanchard, a resident of Newton, Massachusetts, is a board certified endocrinologist specializing in thyroid disorders. He studied as an undergraduate at MIT, received a Ph.D. in chemistry from Princeton and completed his medical studies at Cornell University. He completed his residency at New York Memorial Hospital and his fellowship in endocrinology at Boston’s VA Hospital. "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Hypothyroidism” speaks from Dr. Blanchard’s many years of experience treating patients with thyroid disorders who have been under treated or not treated at all by other physicians.

The book begins with a foreword written by Mary J. Shomon, a thyroid patient, patient advocate, author and manager of the website www.thyroid-info.com. Shomon’s foreword discusses her personal experience with practitioners in her quest for thyroid normalization. In addition, she discusses her thoughts on Dr. Blanchard as she feels that “In addition to his innovative ideas, it was a pleasure … to discover a physician who so truly understood and shared the aims, objective, and philosophy of the patients he treated.”

With more than 20 percent of type 1 diabetics also diagnosed with hypothyroidism and as a dissatisfied patient myself, I was looking for personal solutions when I discovered this book. It did not take long browsing in the bookstore to realize this book contains some vital technical information and solutions as well as “proof” to carry to a personal physician to get thyroid issues resolved.

Dr. Blanchard’s book contains a comprehensive list of symptoms with explanations of the cause of symptoms, which is helpful for a new patient or even a previously-diagnosed patient who doesn't feel well but isn't sure why.

He discusses examples of patients who have been ignored by other practitioners or who have been under-treated and have continued to exhibit symptoms, sometimes for years. Often patients are “borderline” and given no treatment. He describes symptomatic patients but whose test result(s) are within the old (or new) guidelines and, thus, dismissed by their physicians. Sometimes these patients are even sent to psychiatrists.

In Chapter Four, “How I Work With My Patients; Translating Theory into Practice” Dr. Blanchard attempts to educate practitioners on how to determine appropriate amounts of hormones to achieve optimal thyroid well being. It varies from traditional care in that Dr. Blanchard believes some patients require T3 as well as T4. According to Blanchard, it is “based on experience, confirmed by my patients’ almost universal success and rooted in clinical theory.” He says he intuitively follows his patients’ responses as his guide to treatment which is why he claims to have never experienced serious adverse affects with T3.

The book concludes with information to assist those who have encountered thyroid related weight gain, a section on hazards to avoid and tips from Dr. Blanchard’s patients. The book also includes helpful resources and a glossary. In conclusion, “What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Hypothyroidism” is a highly informative book written in plain English for laypeople which is technical enough to enable patients to intelligently and convincingly discuss hypothyroidism with their practitioners.


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