Unwanted 'diagnosis'!

  1. I would like to hear from others about an experience I had a few months ago and something that has really annoyed me.
    First of all, I am an EN (LPN in the US) and am halfway through my RN training, so have some idea about signs and symptoms of certain disorders.
    Anyway, a friend and I met up with 3 people we had never met, who share the same hobby, to organise a convention. Mid-way through the conversation, the man turns to me and says (in front of everyone) "By the look of you, I'd say you have a low thyroid. Have you had any blood tests done?". I was floored and uncomfortably said my health is none of his business. He said he was a 'training herbalist'. I pretended to be okay for the rest of the meeting but I've felt awful ever since! Yes I am overweight but I don't have any signs of hypothyroidism and regardless, who is he to make such a personal comment!?

    What do others feel about this scenario? Do you feel he may have a point or right to say something like that? Or has anyone experienced something similar?
    In my career, I have never met even qualified people 'diagnose' strangers.
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  2. 39 Comments

  3. by   blondy2061h
    Herbalists are usually bogus quacks in my opinion who want to add to their self righteous highly inflated egos by trying to fix everyone around them, often wth a coexisting financial motive. Are all herbs worthless? Or course not. Are all herbalists idiots? No. But they're not medical professionals and they don't utilize evidence based practice. If you have symptoms, by all means, see your GP. If you feel well, carry on your merry way.
  4. by   BrandonLPN
    I don't have the highest of opinions of herbalists....but, honestly, I don't think asking you if you've had blood work done to check Thyroid levels to be a particularly "quacky" thing to say. Rude, bold and unsolicited, yes. But it doesn't sound like he was trying to shove some herbalist agenda in your face or anything.
  5. by   SubSippi
    It's probably a tactic he uses frequently, to make people feel bad about themselves so they ask for his help and buy what he's selling.
  6. by   GrumpyRN
    Sorry, double post
    Last edit by GrumpyRN on Jun 7, '15 : Reason: Double post
  7. by   GrumpyRN
    You have a psych background, why not tell him he looks like a borderline sociopath and has he had CBT?

    Same thing.

    Herbalists, training or otherwise are quacks. In a 2010 survey of the most common 1000 plant-derived compounds, only 156 had clinical trials published.

    It's a bit of a worry that he considers - in your words - weight gain to be the only sign of hypothyroid. Perhaps he was being honestly concerned but requires work on his communication skills. Diagnosis takes more than a look at someone, there has to be some form of examination.
    Last edit by GrumpyRN on Jun 7, '15 : Reason: Misssing words
  8. by   Purple_roses
    That was so ridiculously rude of him. And, one cannot spot a thyroid disorder simply by looking at someone. And what in the heck is a "trained herbalist"? I mean, my friend tried an expense protein smoothie and is now a "wellness coach" who sells it. Titles like that mean very little.
  9. by   Alex Egan
    I mean it comes from all sides really. My sister in law, a RN,was convinced my 4 month old baby needed a helmet for his "deformed" head. I had to call the doctor today! I told her every ex NICU kid I ever took care of and most of the typical ones had a flat spot for a while. It kicked off quiet the family fight, as I couldn't know as much as her. FYI six months old and his head rounded out nicely. Now I know. I will nod and say "ok I'll get right on that" next time and ignore what I know to be a non issue or address what is a valid concern.
  10. by   KelRN215
    Quote from Purple_roses
    That was so ridiculously rude of him. And, one cannot spot a thyroid disorder simply by looking at someone. And what in the heck is a "trained herbalist"? I mean, my friend tried an expense protein smoothie and is now a "wellness coach" who sells it. Titles like that mean very little.
    My cousin did the same thing.

    And, yeah, most symptoms of hypothyroid can't be seen. How does one "look" hypothyroid?
  11. by   KatieMI
    Honestly, you can spot untreated and somewhat advanced hypothyroid from another door, especially if you'd been seeing this person for a while.

    The thing is, I look exactly like this after doing 3 shifts in a row. Pale, puffy, slow, sleeping on my feet, constantly feeling cold and tired and vehemently denying all that.

    Anyway, the situation the OP described was so ridiculously rude and out of all lines that I would not hesitate to answer "and why do you think it might be your d*** business?"
  12. by   Horseshoe
    Quote from KelRN215
    My cousin did the same thing.

    And, yeah, most symptoms of hypothyroid can't be seen. How does one "look" hypothyroid?
    How about a big ole goiter?

    https://www.google.com/search?q=hypo...DE%3B502%3B609

    Of course, a goiter could mean hyperthyroidism too.

    To the OP, if you are healthy, I wouldn't give this guy any more room in your head. He probably was going to try to sell you on something if you had expressed concern or given him the impression you were gullible. As it was, you shut him down immediately. Good for you. Now quit thinking about him and go about your merry day and your merry life. Don't give away your power to people like that.
  13. by   klone
    Quote from blondy2061h
    Are all herbalists idiots? No. But they're not medical professionals and they don't utilize evidence based practice. .
    Um, excuse me. Please do not paint all herbalists with the same broad brush. Most of herbalism is evidence-based.

    I no longer practice herbalism, but I was a "trained" herbalist. I trained with Rosemary Gladstar and Matthew Wood.

    And yes, you often *can* tell thyroid disorders based on physical traits. I can also recognize PCOS based on physical traits.

    Now, that's not to say the guy in the OP is not incredibly rude and presumptuous.
  14. by   Horseshoe
    If you watch HGTV, you may be familiar with Tarek el Moussa from Flip or Flop.

    This was one time where speaking up about a suspected thyroid problem actually helped the person:

    'Flip or Flop' Host Tarek El Moussa Battling Thyroid Cancer : People.com

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