It means exactly what the doctor said, everything is in normal range. Your thyroid is on the hypo side of Labs reference range, but you are not officially hypothyroid. Redo test (TSH, FT-4 and FT-3) in 3 to 6 months and see how they stand by then. Go to an endo., internist, or regular doctor. Mean while look for other conditions that could be causing your symptoms, they are not all exclusive to thyroid. For instance, you listed hair falling out, some of the conditions are:
Alopecia, temporary problems associated with pregnancy, unusual stress, chemotherapy, crash diets/anorexia, major surgery, severe infection or high fever, anemia, poor diet and genetic factors. Influence of different factors on hair loss
- Age: Well, everyone ages -- there's just no getting around it. We produce less hair, and the individual hairs we do grow are thinner. Plus, older hair is more prone to dryness and breakage, so be sure to take that into account in your daily hair-care regime.
- Over-processing: Coloring, bleaching, perming and straightening, if done improperly, can cause hair to break off or fall out, and you'll have to wait for healthy hair to grow back in. Frequent relaxing using a hot comb can cause permanent hair loss.
- Traction: Tight ponytails or braids, weaves and extensions, heavy beads and too-tight curlers can all result in hair loss, particularly around the forehead. Fortunately, once you loosen up, your hair should grow right back.
- Clogged follicles: This is uncommon, but it can happen if you use a lot of very heavy, greasy products on your scalp and don't wash them off frequently. If you use a clarifying shampoo occasionally and cut back on the conditioners, you'll be fine.
- Other causes: There's a long list, but most of these are pretty rare: eating disorders; rapid weight loss; severe stress; alopecia areata (an autoimmune disorder); chemotherapy; overdoses of vitamin A, DHEA, or astralagus; thyroid disease; bacterial or fungal infection; syphilis; scarring; and side effects of some medications.
- Drugs: Certain drugs can also take their toll on once flourishing and healthy tresses. However, these conditions are usually temporary, and once the "trauma" is alleviated, the hair shedding stops and healthy re-growth occurs with time.
List of drugs that are known to cause hair loss
- Cholesterol-lowering drug:
clofibrate (Atromis-S) and gemfibrozil (Lopid)
- Parkinson Medications:
levodopa (Dopar, Larodopa)
- Ulcer drugs:
cimetidine (Tagamet), ranitidine (Zantac) and famotidine (Pepcid)
Coumarin and Heparin
- Agents for gout:
Allopurinol (Loporin, Zyloprim)
penicillamine, auranofin (Ridaura), indomethacin (i\Indocin), naproxen (Naprosyn), sulindac (Clinoril), and methotrexate (Folex)
- Drugs derived from vitamin-A:
isotretinoin (Accutane) and etretinate (Tegison)
- Anticonvulsants for epilepsy:
- Beta blocker drugs for high blood pressure:
atenolol (Tenormin), metoprolol (Lopressor), nadolol (Corgard), propranolol (Inderal) and timolol (Blocadren)
- Antithyroid agents:
carbimazole, Iodine, thiocyanate, thiouracil
Blood thinners, male hormones (anabolic steroids)
Thanks for the very informative post. I have done several months of research on hair loss and have read all of this before. The reason I asked if it could be my thyroid is that I have also noticed the following sypmtoms: dry skin, dry eyes, stay cold, blurred vision, problems w/ swallowing, neck pain, stay tired, constipation, arthritis, headaches, forgetful, sweating, ringing in ears, skin laxity....I have also read that a TSH level of over 3 is now considered hypo. I have been referred to an endo. However, I do not go until Feb. 8th. I thought by posting my lab results that I could get an idea of what was going on. I have dealt w/ depression over my hair loss. It just seemed to happen overnite. At one point, I was losing up to 300 hairs a day. I am now losing about 1/2 that amount. However, my hair is difficult to deal w/ ...it doesnt stay in place, it's just not the same head of hair that I had just 5 mons ago...It's amazing how much it has changed. Thanks for your comments.
A good doctor, with or without levels, will or should, fully investigate the reasons for the symptoms.
P.S. Thank you very much for the excellent summaries you have written of the information you have been finding. I think that my endocrinologist is an excellent doc, but I am glad for any evidence that confirms my impression. Reading the overviews you have provided, I am reassured to see evidence that my endocrinologist indeed is thinking in the ways in which a wise endocrinologist should be thinking (and encouraging me to think in those ways, too). The reassurance is good for my morale, which welcomes all the help it can get!
I must specify I don't think iron is the answer to ALL your complaints/symptoms... just every little bit makes a difference when you are feeling under the weather...
And as of March 2003, it is the official recommendation of the america Association of Endocrinologists that the normal range for TSH levels is .3 to 3.0 -- Read the information here. I know I feel terrible at a TSH level of 4 to 5, I also feel bad when it drops too low to .2, but I pretty best at a TSH of between 1 and 2.
(NOTE: TSH levels are usually kept lower than 1 to 2 for thyroid cancer survivors -- a process known as thyroid suppression -- to help prevent cancer recurrence.)
TSH Less than .5/.7 -- This is considered hyperthyroid (too much thyroid hormone) at most labs in the U.S. You may be anxious, find it hard to sleep, hair falling out, diarrhea, and other symptoms
TSH 1 to 2 -- The optimal normal level for most people. This is the TSH range where the majority of people feel best. It is sometimes considered "too low" by less-informed doctors.
TSH 2 to 4.7/5.5 -- "Normal" range according to some lab standards, but the recommended top end of the range was changed as of March 2003 to 3.0 Some people feel well in this range, but many suffer low-grade hypothyroidism symptoms at this level.
TSH 4.7/5.5 to 10 -- Formerly considered "subclinical hypothyroidism" levels, but as of March 2003, above 3.0 is considered evidence of possible hypothyroidism. These levels show hypothyroidism, but amazingly, some doctors won't even treat these levels, and do not attribute hypothyroidism symptoms felt by patients at this level to the hypothyroidism itself. Many people have symptoms at these levels.
TSH Above 10 -- Considered hypothyroid that merits treatment by most doctors
The Need for T3
Some people do not feel well on a levothyroxine/T4 only drug (like Synthroid). I am one those people who feels far better taking T3. I take the drug Thyrolar, and it has worked far better for me than Synthroid. Others have had success adding T3, such as in the form of Cytomel or via compounded, time-released T3, to their levothyroxine. Finally, yet others have had success with Armour, the natural thyroid hormone replacement. For more information on the various thyroid drugs, see A Quick Look at Thyroid Hormone Replacement, and Armour Thyroid and Thyrolar: Alternatives to Synthroid and the Other T4-Only Drugs.
Surprisingly, It's still considered controversial to use T3 for people with hypothyroidism by the less innovative or accepting members of the medical world, despite research that clearly demonstrates the need for T3 in many thyroid patients. In February 11, 1999, the New England Journal of Medicine published a groundbreaking research report that says that many patients feel better on a combination of T4 and T3, not T4 (i.e., Synthroid) alone. Many people have a normal or even LOW-normal TSH level, yet still suffer continuing hypothyroidism symptoms. In these cases, the addition of T3 helped relieve depression, brain fog, fatigue and other symptoms. This information about T3 is quite revolutionary and has major implications for people who don't feel well on their current thyroid therapies!!! For more info, see my full report on this research.