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possible weakened immune system in teenager

My son is 15 years old, and in the past 5 months he has been diagnosed with bronchitis, flu, strep throat, and an ear infection. He is losing weight, and has a lump on his lower sternum, which I believe may be his xiphoid process but not sure. He is nauseous, and tired all the time. I am wondering if his immune system might be weakened, which has allowed him to pick up the different viruses and infections.  If so, what could be the cause of a weakened immune system?
11 Responses
Avatar universal
Is he eating well? Does he eat healthy foods? Does he take a multi vitamin? Yes, he could have a weakened immune system. The best thing to do is take him to see the Dr for some tests. They can check his vitamin levels, blood counts for infection and I would ask for thyroid tests too. Remar
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Has he been checked for mono?
Avatar universal
I took him to the doctors yesterday morning and they ran multiple blood test.  The doctor called yesterday afternoon and said that he had significantly low thyroid stimulating and possible Hashimotos disease, which he said was the reason for the multiple infections/sicknessess.  The only thing that I don't understand is that he has lost weight not gained. We are awaiting a referral to take him to an Endocrinologist.
Avatar universal
I wish you the best. At least he now has some sort of diagnoses. Hopefully the Endocrinologist will be know why he has the weight loss. I know it must be hard seeing your son go thru this. My prayers are with you and your son.
Avatar universal
Some people with low thyroid do lose weight. If he's not feeling good then he probably is'nt eating as much.
I'm so glad to hear you took him to the Dr for more tests. His symptoms did sound like a possible thyroid issue to me.I really hope the Endo your taking him to has an open mind and will treat him not just by his labs but by his symptoms too.  Can you please post his lab results here or in our Thyroid Forum? If it is indeed a thyroid problem he will have this for life. But the good news is, it can be controlled with medication. People on our thyroid forum are very knowledgeable and will be a great support for you and your son.  Remar
Avatar universal
They started him on Synthroid 50 mcg. We have to take him back for more labs in 2 weeks, while we await his appointment with a pediatric endocrinologist at a local childrens hospital. I will post his lab results as soon as I am able to run in and pick up a hard copy of them.  Right now, all I can remember it that the doctor said his T3, T4, and TSH are so low that they are basically non-existent.

Thank you to everyone for all of your kind words and posts.  
Avatar universal
If he has Hypothyroidism then his TSH would be high, not low. Of course TSH is not always a good indicator of thyroid problems. I hope they checked his Frees, FT3 and FT4. Not just t3 and t4. And I hope they did both of the antibodies tests on your son.
He should do alright on 50 mcgs. That's the usual starting dose. But if he feels nervous or has heart palps call his Dr and ask about 25 mcgs.
Do you know if they will be doing an scan on his thyroid? This really should be done.
I feel so bad for your son, but very happy to know that you found out what's going on.
We're here for you. Take care. Remar
Avatar universal
You are correct. The doc said in normal cases that if the t3 and t4 were low then his TSH would be high, but for some unknown reason all 3 of his are low....doc said this happens in rare cases. They are now running test on his pituitary and hypothalamus to find out why. Unfortunately, we are still awaiting our insurance to approve the referral for the Endocrinologist, but while we wait our family doctor is consulting with the Endocrinologist and sharing all test results with him. His doctor said that for most people with thyroid issuse that the thyroid was the main cause, but for our son the thyroid was a symptom of something else going on. They are trying to figure out what that something else is.
Avatar universal
Yes, it could be a pituitary or hypothalamus problem. It's really sad that some people have to wait on the insurance company. Your son is sick and needs to be seen by an Endo. Thank goodness your family Dr and the Endo are consulting. Was it the Endo that said it was alright to start your son on meds? How is he doing on them so far?
Avatar universal
Yes, it was the Endo that started him on the meds. Our family doctor immediately called the Endo and faxed him a copy of the labs.  The Endo is also the one who has requested that our family doctor do more test since it might take us a few weeks to get in to see him.

He has been on the meds for 3 days now and we are already seeing a difference.  He came home from school yesterday and stated that he couldn't believe how great he felt.  He asked if this was normal because he can't remember ever feeling this good or having that much energy.  
Avatar universal
Wow! The meds are working really fast. Usually it takes awhile for them to build up in your system. He's probably going to need an increase. This is very common. By the time he sees the Endo and has more tests he'll probably be ready for a slight increase. Labs are usually done every 4 to 6 weeks in the beginning. He may start feeling tired again in a few weeks. Tell him not to worry because the med increase will help with that. It could take awhile to get him at a steady state, so hang in there.Thank you for keeping me up to date on how he's doing. It's just terrible when someone is sick, especially such a young person. I'm happy to hear he's already feeling better. Remar
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