TSH is a pituitary hormone that moves in opposite direction from thyroid hormone levels. Although TSH is usually inadequate as a diagnostic, when it is as high as yours, it is a pretty good indication that you are hypothyroid. Since Hashimoto's Thyroiditis is the most common cause for diagnosed hypothyroidism, you should ask to confirm that by testing for for both Thyroid Peroxidase antibodies and Thyroglobulin antibodies. Those tests are listed as TPO ab and TG ab.
With Hashi's the autoimmune system erroneously sees the thyroid gland as foreign to the body and produces antibodies to attack and eventually destroy the gland. Along the way to total destruction of the gland, the output of thyroid hormone is diminished, requiring gradually increasing doses of replacement thyroid medication to offset the loss.
After starting on thyroid med, TSH becomes unreliable for determining medication dosages. You should always make sure they test for the biologically active thyroid hormones, Free T3 and Free T4, which are not the same as Total T3 and Total T4.
If you just started on Synthroid last week, you should return for followup tests in 4-5 weeks. That is because it takes that long for T4 meds like Synthroid to build up in your blood.
There is more we need to discuss, but before gong further, please tell us your daily dosage of Synthroid. Also, please tell us about symptoms you are having. Also, if any other thyroid related tests besides, TSH, please post those, along with reference ranges. Also, if tested for Vitamin D, B12 and ferritin, please post those as well. If not tested for those three, then you should also make sue the doctor tests those at next opportunity.
Thank you so much for your detailed response. I asked my doctor if I needed a Free T3 test and he said that was for people that are hyperthyroid. He is a general practitioner and not an endocrinologist. My symptoms are exhaustion, brain fog, frequent headaches, severe depression which I am treating with 150 mg Lexapro. Though I am exhausted, my depression has caused me insomnia and I take 100 mg of Trazodone for sleep. My dosage of Synthroid is 75 mg. Should I see an endocrinologist?
One other thing - when I was a child, around 11 I think, I had nodules on my thyroid and took Synthroid for about two years. It reduced the nodules and I stopped taking medication. My sister was recently diagnosed as hyperthyroid. I think I have probably been hypothyroid for quite some time and I am now 51. My father had the degenerative form of MS and I have read there is some connection between MS and thyroid disease.
You might be interested in watching a video on youtube "Minding your mitochondria: Dr. Terry Wahls at TEDxIowaCity". Dr Wahls reversed her secondary progressive MS changing her diet.
Autoimmune diseases are stated to be a result from the interactions of both genetic and environmental risk factors. With Hashimoto's thyroiditis, two genes mentioned include HLA-DR3 and HLA-DR5. You can check out Wikipedia's articles on both (and links to other genes from those articles).
The following info is from the book "The Everything Guide To Thyroid Disease" by Theodore C. Friedman, MD, PhD and Winnie Yu Scherer:
"Although the majority of people with Hashimoto's will not develop any other disorders, it's important to know what some of these autoimmune conditions are in case you do start to experience symptoms. Keep in mind, too, that you may be more likely to develop Hashimoto's if you have one of these other conditions.
Type 1 Diabetes
Systematic Lupus Erthematosus (SLE)
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)"
From your doctor's response about Free T3 testing, I would not waste any more time there. Since you started on the T4 med last week, you could be ready for re-testing in 2-3 weeks. So, I suggest that you should go ahead and make an appointment with a good thyroid doctor and get tested for Free T3, Free T4, Vitamin D, B12 and ferritin (iron related). Based on those test results and how you are feeling, a good thyroid doctor will gradually adjust your meds as necessary to relieve hypo symptoms. If your insurance allows you to choose for yourself, then I have names of several Atlanta area doctors recommended by thyroid patients.
Thank you so much for the information. I will look at the resources your suggested.
Gomel, thank you. I would appreciate the names of good doctors in Atlanta. I can then check if they are in my network.
Just sent you a PM with doctor info. To access, just click on your name and go to your personal page. Then click on messages.