Hypothyroidism- a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone- is common in Hemodialysis patients, and for a long time, it was assumed that those conducting Dialysis must, in many cases, just bear the side effects. Well, now it is clear that impaired thyroid function may, in fact, have very detrimental (harmful) effects on Dialysis patients' health and well-being.
Dr. Connie M. Rhee (University of California Irvine) and her colleagues examined information from 450 Hemodialysis patients from 17 facilities. The results were stunning. Not only were patients dealing with severe fatigue and low energy levels, they also had constant pain and impaired physical function.
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As many patients can relate, leading life with severe pain, limited mobility, and low energy can be demoralizing and over time disrupt and destroy any quality of life that a Dialysis patient may experience. Also, since there is a strong association between Hypothyroidism and low levels of physical activity, it could even put patients lives in jeopardy.
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Treatment is optional in patients with Hypothyroidism. In order to limit risk, some Nephrologists may recommend against immediate treatment and suggest that certain patients should simply have lab tests every 6 - 12 months to determine the progression of low thyroid function.
Still, patients should have a very direct conversation with their Healthcare Teams about how they feel and discuss options if they are experiencing a much lower quality of life. There may be both drug and surgical options depending on a patient's specific circumstances.
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