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Levothyroxine and increasing LDL, Cholesterol
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Levothyroxine and increasing LDL, Cholesterol

Hi, I have been on Levothyroxine since July 2011, 50 MCG daily, also 5mg quinapril daily since then. I was under the impression that synthroid improves cholesterol levels. My doctor told me. He also recommended fish two or three times a week, and lamb otherwise. I eat red meat once or twice a week and salmon three times.

Physically, you would not think I need to be on these meds. I am thin and athletic, a swimmer's body. I work out six days a week.

My total cholesterol level one year ago before these meds was 191. My TSH increased from 4.5 to 7.75 and that is when I was put on the meds. My BP spiked at one point due to my panic attack of a diagnosis of hypertensive heart disease, and then I was put on quinapril. Months since, I feel great. Joint pain about gone, much improved digestion. TSH measured 1.83 in November. Blood pressure under control. I am an avid fitness swimmer and swim seven or eight miles a week. I run too.

My latest cholesterol level measures 235. My cardiologist endorses my swimming, did not prescribe meds, and only suggested doubling my supplement of red yeast rice, which I have done.

I am bewildered. Why is my cholesterol and LDL increasing? I try eating healthy. The only "good" thing I gave up was green tea, one because my seven cups a day ended up giving me kidney stones and two, because the flouride in it clashes with synthroid.

Comments please?
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649848_tn?1357751184
Thyroid medications don't directly lower cholesterol levels.  Hypothyroidism does cause high cholesterol, though, so the idea is to get your thyroid hormone levels in line, then your cholesterol would come down on its own.  When my thyroid levels are too low, my cholesterol goes high;  get my thyroid levels in the top of the range, my cholesterol comes down.

Can you please post your latest thyroid blood tests and the reference ranges from your lab report?  Ranges vary from lab to lab, so must come from your own report.  Seeing your actual hormone levels will help members better assess your situation.

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Avatar_m_tn
Also worth mentioning, about six years ago I had a measured cholesterol level of 263. The nurse practitioner suggested meds. I said let me try to droo the level naturally. I gave up red meat and fries and drank lots of green tea. Six months later it was below 200. NP was impressed.
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Avatar_f_tn
You don't mention your FT3 and FT4 levels, which are much more important than TSH.  Please post those with referene ranges, which vary lab to lab.

Is high cholesterol your only hypo symptom?

You don't take a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement, do you?
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649848_tn?1357751184
Thyroid medications don't directly lower cholesterol levels.  Hypothyroidism does cause high cholesterol, though, so the idea is to get your thyroid hormone levels in line, then your cholesterol would come down on its own.  When my thyroid levels are too low, my cholesterol goes high;  get my thyroid levels in the top of the range, my cholesterol comes down.

Can you please post your latest thyroid blood tests and the reference ranges from your lab report?  Ranges vary from lab to lab, so must come from your own report.  Seeing your actual hormone levels will help members better assess your situation.

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Avatar_m_tn
Hi goolara and Barb.

Feb 25 2011
Cholesterol 191
Triglyceride 55
HDL cholesterol 90
NOn-HDL.   101
   LDL cholesterol 90

TSH. 4.55
T4 Free non-dialysis 1.1
(they had no posted T3 measure)


July 15 2011
TSH.   7.64
T4 free non-dialysis.  1.1
T3 free non-dialysis.   2.7
No coleterol reading since I requested specifically a thyroid test. But that summer my total cholesterol was 200.

November 2011
My doctors office phoned me and said my November lab results show 1.83 TSH but did not say the T3 or T4 numbers

Donated blood and my cholesterol was 210 in October.

January 30 2012
Cholesterol 235
HDL. 96
Triglycerides 52
LDL.  129
This was a cholesterol blood test ordered by my cardiologist.

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Avatar_m_tn
High cholesterol is my only symptom and no I do not take glucosamine or chondroit supplements nor combination.

In fact, I have been eating lots of fresh chopped garlic sprinkeled on foods, in reading that garlic cuts cholesterol. Yes I eat lots of oatmeal, at least four mornings a week.
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Avatar_m_tn
Please see my comment above. From what you suggest, perhaps my cholesterol level is adjusting to my meds and over time perhaps will normalize?

I am getting a new job on Monday in a different city and will seek a new doctor. I do not trust the lab results on TSH was 7.65 now. T4 did not budge. I am wonder g why T3 was left off the first test. I do not trust my current GP, but trust my cardiologist.
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Avatar_m_tn
Reference ranges for July 7 2011 TSH 0.45 to 4.5
T4: 0.8 to 1.7
T3: 2.0 to 4.8

For Feb 2011 TSH readings, same reference ranges
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649848_tn?1357751184
Too bad your cardiologist didn't also run the Free T3 and Free T4, so we could see what they were in January, as well.

Many doctors do not routinely order Free T3.  I had one doctor tell me it was used only for "research purposes", not for diagnostic or treatment purposes.  What a crock!!

You said: "I do not trust the lab results on TSH was 7.65 now. T4 did not budge"........... when was that? I see TSH of 4.55 (Feb 25, 2011) and 7.64 (July 15, 2011), and 1.83 (Nov 2011).

You really need new thyroid tests in order to get a clear picture.  
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Avatar_m_tn
T4 of 1.1 Feb 2011 and 1.1 in July 2011. It did not budge. Mtg mother and oldest sister had hypothyroidism for decades. within the last five years two other sisters went on synthroid so I figured there was good reason to go on med. My doctor warned me if heart and cancers if I get worse without meds
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Avatar_f_tn
I agree with Barb that thyroid labs two months old make it difficult to comment on how they might be affecting other things currently.

I have to ask you what about your cholesterol is bothering you.  Your HDL is absolutely stellar at 96.  Since raising good cholesterol is so much more important than lowering bad, it looks to me like you're in really good shape.  What would your goal be for HDL and LDL?
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks!

My goal would be higher HDL than LDL. This is what the Mainstream health whizzes  says is the goal.

My sister at nearly 57 had 300 in early January and brought it down to 265. She was a fitness freak longer than me and inspired me to become one. Both since our 20s. She is working on bringing it down naturally. I did once from 260ish to 191 by drinking lots of green tea.
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649848_tn?1357751184
I guess you're looking at total cholesterol being over 200?  That's a calculation based on the total of HDL and LDL, plus 20% of your triglyceride level.

It might be better to concentrate on the individual numbers, as opposed to the total.
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Avatar_f_tn
I take  one 50mcg pill daily for management of hypothyroidism..my LDL level is higher than average..(157) but my hdl is only 50 and my triglycerides are way down to 37...can the synthroid meds be affecting  up my cholesterol levels??
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649848_tn?1357751184
As noted above, the thyroid medication is not what affects cholesterol levels.  Being hypo causes cholesterol to rise.  Your LDL is not that far above normal, and with your low triglycerides, I'm not sure I'd worry all that much about it, since it's very possible that your level will come down, once you are no longer hypo.  

How long have you been on the 50 mcg thyroid med?  What medication, is it?

If you have current thyroid labs, please post them, so members can better assess your testing/treatment.   You should be getting tested for FT3, FT4 and TSH, on a regular basis.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi,
I just got my blood test results:
my thyroid level is .36 and cholestero is 193.
Im taking medication for thyroid.
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649848_tn?1357751184
"my thyroid level is .36"  Is that TSH?  If so, TSH is a pituitary hormone and is not completely indicative of actual thyroid function and it fluctuates greatly, even intra day.

"cholestero  (sic) is 193. "  Is that total cholesterol?  If so, take a look at the HDL, LDL and Triglycerides individually, and see what they are. As noted above, total cholesterol is a calculation of all three.  And as goolarra said, it's more important raise HDL than to lower LDL.

Do you have tests for the active thyroid hormones, Free T3 and Free T4?  Those are so much more important than TSH.  If you have those results, please post them, along with reference ranges which vary lab to lab and must come from your own report.
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