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Gail Devers

Olympic champion sprinter and hurdler, Gail Devers, was once the fastest woman in the world despite a life-threatening condition that slowed her down: Graves' Disease. Since being diagnosed, she has also become a world champion women's health advocate. She joined Dr. Donnica on NBC's "Later Today" show to discuss this last year. "ER" TV doctor, Eric LaSalle, was also a guest that day.

Thyroid Dysfunction

Nearly one in eight women will develop some type of thyroid condition in their lifetime.  Despite its frequency, however, thyroid disorders are too often missed, misdiagnosed, or mistreated.  Perhaps the most glaring example of this was experienced by 4-time Olympic sprinter and hurdler, Gail Devers, who was critically ill for more than a year before her condition was properly diagnosed and treated.  Once the fastest woman in the world, thyroid disease slowed her down and almost took her out.  Once a champion on the track, Gail Devers is now a champion of women's health, sharing her experiences in order to help others.  Ms. Devers was a radio guest on "Dr. Donnica's Women's Health Report" 11/27/00.  The following remarks were taken from that interview:

Dr. Donnica:  How did you first notice that something was wrong?

Gail Devers:  "I first started having my symptoms in 1988, and it wasn't until September of 1990 that I was diagnosed, so it took me actually two and a half years to figure out what was wrong with me.  Usually there's a very simple blood test called a TSH that will determine it, but because my symptoms were so vague, no one could figure out what was wrong. It took them that long.

Dr. Donnica:  What specific symptoms did you have?

Gail Devers:  "The symptoms that I had were fatigue, depression, weight loss (I was at my worst under 89 pounds), hair loss and there were just a wide range of symptoms that I had."

Dr. Donnica:  What is the most important thing you want women to know about thyroid disease?

Gail Devers:  "What I want women to know is that if you're having any of these symptoms from fatigue, depression, weight loss, weight gain, dry hair, brittle nails. . . just two of those symptoms, you need to talk to your doctor about having a very simple blood test called a TSH, so you can get your life back on track like I did."

For more information on thyroid disease, click here.
For more information on Gail Devers, click here.
To review books written about Gail Devers' extraordinary life at amazon.com, click here.

Created: 11/30/2000  -  Gail Devers

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