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Thyroid to blame
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Thyroid to blame

I am a 54 year old woman. I have been tested TSH and it was 1.8. Dr. said  in normal range. My symptoms are tired all the time, hair loss, depression (lost a son and daughter-in-law in car accident in 07) weight gain about 25 lbs in 1 1/2 years even though I walk 4-5 miles 6 days a week plus lift weighs 2 days a week. Cold all the time, nails are brittle, imsomia, headaches. Should I have the Dr do the free t3 and t4 tests or do you think the symptoms is something else
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Avatar_m_tn
Those symptoms sound very much like you could be hypothyroid.  You really do need to be tested for the biologically active thyroid hormones, free T3 and Free T4 (not the same as Total T3 and total T4, which are somewhat outdated and not very useful).  If your doctor resists, then you should insist on it and don't take no for an answer.  

TSH is a pituitary hormone that is affected by many variables to the extent that at best it is an indicator, to be considered along with more important indicators such as symptoms, and also the levels of FT3 and FT4.  FT3 is the most important to know because it largely regulates metabolism and many other body functions.  Scientific studies have also shown that FT# correlated best with hypo symptoms while FT4 and TSH correlated very poorly.  

When test results are available, please get a copy of the lab report and post results and their reference ranges shown on the lab report and members will be glad to help interpret your status and advise further.  Be aware in advance that FT3 and FT4 results that are in the low end of the range are frequently associated with being hypo.  The ranges are so broad that many members report that symptom relief for them required that FT3 was adjusted into the upper part of its range and FT4 adjusted to the midpoint of its range.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have Hypothyroid.  My levels showed pretty normal so my doctor told me not to worry about it. But I knew better. I had the tiredness, muscle cramps, feeling blue, cold intolerance and headaches. So I asked my doctor to refer me to an Endocronologist. He said I will but don't know why I am.  When I saw the Endo. she said yes you have hypothyroid and gave me Synthroid. I went back for blood test every month or month and a half or so.  Now I go once a year to make sure my thyroid is balanced.  I am 48.  Hope this helps you. Oh yeah when you have hypothyroid your metabolism is slow and makes it hard to loose weight.  Smileyhappy.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have to ask, where is Gatineau?  Also, I wondered if you have been tested for the biologically active thyroid hormones, Free T3 and Free T4?  If so, would you please post results and reference ranges shown on the lab report?  If not, that would be good to have done.  Also, are you symptom free at present, or do you still have lingering hypo symptoms?
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi there,
I have an Endocronolist so she would of checked that. I don't have the results myself though. I was fine for awhile but lately have been tired a little and my metabolism is slowed down.  She upped my Synthroid a bit at last visit.  Thanks for asking.

I am in Aylmer, Quebec. Do you know it?  

Thanks,

Smileyhappy.
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Avatar_m_tn
No, never had the pleasure of being in that area, only visited Quebec City.  Love it.

Please don't assume that your Endo would have checked for Free T3 and Free T4.  Frequently an Endo is more absorbed with diabetes patients than thyroid problems.  They also seem to be steeped in the "Immaculate TSH Belief", by which they believe that all they need to know is TSH, to diagnose and medicate a thyroid patient.  Even if they do test beyond TSH, many others have a firm belief in "Reference Range Endocrinology", and want to believe that any test result that falls within the reference range limits is adequate.  This too is wrong because the ranges are so broad that many of our members report that symptom relief for them required that FT3 was adjusted into the upper part of its range and FT4 adjusted to at least midpoint of its range.  These too false beliefs are the predominant cause of patients that come to the Forum looking for help.  

Even if your Endo tested for T3 and T4, it may have been for Total T3 and Total T4, both of which tests are somewhat outdated and don't really reveal what you want to know.  Most of the T3 and T4 in your body is bound up with protein molecules and therefore rendered inactive.  Only the unbound (thus called Free) portions are biologically active.  Of these FT3 is the most important because it largely regulates metabolism and many other body functions.  Scientific studies have also shown that FT3 correlated best with hypo symptoms, while FT4 and TSH correlated very poorly.  

A good thyroid doctor  will treat a hypo patient clinically by testing and adjusting FT3 and FT4 as necessary to relieve symptoms, without being constrained by resultant TSH levels.  Symptom relief should be all important to you, not just test results.  You can get some good insight into clinical treatment by reading this link.  It is a letter written by a good thyroid doctor for patients that he consults with from a distance.  The letter is sent to the PCP of the patient to help guide treatment.  I suggest you read it and compare your diagnosis and treatment to the clinical approach detailed in the letter.  

http://hormonerestoration.com/files/ThyroidPMD.pdf

If you haven't been tested for Free T3, I strongly suggest that you request it.  If the doctor resists and gives excuses as to why it is not necessary, just insist on it and don't take no for an answer.  When you have FT3 and FT4 results and reference ranges shown on the lab report available, please post and members will be happy to help interpret ;and advise further.

Another thing you should be aware of is that many patients taking significant doses fo T4 meds find that even if their FT4 level is okay, their body may not be converting T4 to T3 adequately and their FT3 level is too low to relieve symptoms.  Another reason to be sure and test for FT3, as well as FT4 and TSH.

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