I wasn’t planning on posting today, as my next post was going to be this Monday and discussing the three primary factors that can lead to a weakened immune system. But while checking out the sports news online the other day, I saw that a major league baseball player (Jose Reyes of the New York Mets) was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid. What surprised me while reading this was that his medical doctor recommended conservative treatment, as he just recommended that he not exert himself and change his diet, and didn’t recommend any medications or treatment with radioactive iodine.
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While he wasn’t diagnosed with a serious condition such as Graves’ Disease, keep in mind that there have been many people who have been diagnosed with a mild case of hyperthyroidism and still were prescribed a drug like Methimazole, or even radioactive iodine. In fact, recently I was consulting with someone who a number of years back was diagnosed with a mild case of hyperthyroidism, as her levels weren’t too off and she didn’t have any symptoms whatsoever. But rather than just recommend rest and a change in diet like Jose Reyes’ doctor, her medical doctor gave her three different options:
1) Treatment with prescription drugs
2) Treatment with radioactive iodine
3) Surgery to remove the thyroid gland
Once again, she was not experiencing any symptoms, and yet in addition to the prescription drugs option (which I could understand him recommending) he gave her some harsh treatment options that would either damage or completely remove her thyroid gland. Not knowing anything about hyperthyroidism, she asked the doctor which option he would choose in her situation, and he told her he would choose treatment with radioactive iodine. While it’s better than the third option, it’s still an extreme form of treatment for someone who had a mild case of hyperthyroidism with no symptoms.
So she received the radioactive iodine treatment, and to no surprise, became hypothyroid and took synthetic thyroid hormone daily, which she has been on for eight years so far. So it made me happy to see that this baseball player had a doctor who was somewhat conservative…at least for the time being. This doesn’t mean that I fully agree with the recommendations of his medical doctor, as it was recommended that this person avoid iodine (no seafood), as many doctors mistakenly think that every single person who has a thyroid gland disorder should avoid iodine, without even testing the patient to see whether or not they are iodine deficient, which many people with thyroid disorders are.
Of course Graves’ Disease is more serious than just a mild case of hyperthyroidism, and as a result it takes more than just resting and changing your diet to restore the health of the person with this autoimmune thyroid disorder. I’m curious as to how Jose Reyes’ overactive thyroid condition responds, and hope he has a quick recovery. While the article discusses how no drugs can help with his current condition, if he still has positive blood tests and is symptomatic in a couple of months I can’t imagine them continuing to take a “wait and see” approach. But for the time being I must give some credit to his doctor for taking the conservative approach. I wish more medical doctors were just as conservative with similar cases.