Thyroid Disorders Community
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Avatar universal

What is wrong with me?!

About 5 years ago, I started having trouble with fatigue and weight gain. I was extremely stressed out and I assumed that was the reason for these new problems.

Then, about 4 years ago, during my 6 month OBGYN exam, my doctor informed me that my blood pressure was through the roof. She immediately had blood drawn to see what the problem was and I made an appointment with my PCP.

No one could tell me why my BP skyrocketed so they just put me on meds to control it and left it at that.

About 3 years ago, my cholesterol started creeping up. I was still suffering from all previously mentioned ailments but I was also falling asleep at work, still not losing any of the weight that I had gained (even on a 1200 calorie a day diet) and just generally feeling like garbage. So, my PCP put me on Phentermine for 3 months and said 'that should keep you awake at work'.

Well, I lost 30 pounds and was definitely awake but as soon as I stopped taking the pills, I gained 15 pounds back in the first month and the rest by month 3. I also went right back to being tired as could be and falling asleep at work.

2 years ago, I started having very severe pains which landed me in the ER. My gallbladder was full of stones and I had surgery immediately to remove it. I then developed an incisional hernia and 10 days later, was back in surgery. After that, I started having sever pains after I would use the restroom and I had constant heartburn. My doctor saw me and had xrays done to make sure i didn't have a cyst or lump or whatever and determined that i was 100% full of poo (literally). He gave me no indications as to why i would be so backed up nor did he tell me what to do about it. He finally sent me to an endocrinologist who was incredibly rude and told me that the only way I would ever lose weight was to stop eating completely. Then he put me on a cholesterol medicine and changed my BP meds to something that didn't make me have to pee so often. He also put me on Phentermine for 3 months and I didn't lose a single pound.

Last year, my PCP retired so I used the opportunity to find a doctor who might actually care about helping me feel better. I was only able to get in to see the Nurse Practitioner but she had good ratings from other patients so I gave her a shot.

By this time, my list of complaints with how i was feeling had grown to an alarming amount. She ran blood work and got all of my old paperwork to compare it too. She explained it all to me and told me that my Vitamin D levels were lower than she wanted them (even though they were within the normal range) and decided to prescribe some astronomical amount of Vitamin D as well as Folbee. So, I am now on BP meds, cholesterol meds, Vitamin D and Folbee and guess what... I still feel like garbage.

I need help! At the moment, I am so tired and just drained that I can barely keep my eyes open at work. This past weekend, well actually, it started on Thursday. Ok, do Thursday night, I fell asleep at work and then again after work and slept for about 4.5 hours before waking up, taking a shower and going to bed where I slept for another 8 hours.  Friday I fell asleep at work then again when I got home. I slept for about 4 hours, woke up and mowed the grass and then took a shower and went to bed where I slept for another 12 hours. On Saturday, I was only awake for about 8 hours total. Sunday was better. I did not take any naps but I slept in until 11 and went to bed at 9:30pm.

I don't sleep in. Sleeping beyond 8am is unheard of for me. I had to force myself tp cut the grass because I haven't had the energy to do it for 2+ weeks. I am also meticulous about my home and a bonafide neat freak. I couldn't tell you the last time I even dusted let alone properly cleaned my home. It took all day Sunday just to do my laundry and dishes because I kept getting so wiped out that I would have to sit down.

I talked with my mom recently and she spoke with my old naturalist back home and he thinks it may be my thyroid. I gave her a list of my regular complaints and ailments to help me figure out what is wrong with me since my doctor isn't doing anything (its been a year and she hasn't asked for a follow up to see how the meds are working).

So, here is my list of complaints (and these are constant and bothersome to my daily life):

Daily indigestion/heartburn
Extreme fatigue/exhaustion with a big drop in energy towards the afternoon
Feeling physically and mentally sluggish
Very forgetful with brain fog and difficulty concentrating
No interest in normal activities
No sex drive
Huge weight gain (in 5 years, I have gained over 40 pounds and this is with daily exercise when I have the energy, watching what I eat and joining a softball team to add some extra running 4 days a week which I never miss no matter how I feel)
My nails are really brittle and crack or break off in chips
Dry, cracked and peeling hands and feet
Dry, brittle hair that is falling out
A full feeling no matter if I have eaten or not
Bruises and cuts do not heal. I have one scrape on my knee that is still healing after almost a year.
I keep get sinus infections
My eyes arw dry and itchy
I feel like I have a frog in my throat when I swallow but I don't feel the need to clear my throat
Dry and itchy skin all over even with drinking tons of water and using moisturizers
Cannot regulate my internal temperature
Muscle cramping and fatigue
Short of breath - I feel like I have to yawn to get a good breath sometimes
My periods are a lot heavier and a lot longer
My hands, feet, legs, face and neck and always puffy or swollen
Abdominal cramps outside of my normal period cramps
I have pimples breaking out all over my neck which I never have had before
And quite frankly, I think I am starting to get either depressed or very close to it.

I am a very active person and I have never had weight issues before. I have certainly never had problems staying awake and other than during college, I never needed caffeine to wake up or stay awake. I never feel right, I don't feel healthy and I hate taking all of this medicine.

When my doctor did my blood work, she did run the TSH, the T3, T4 and the Anti Thyroperoxidase (if I spelled that right) along with all of the normal tests (cholesterol, glucose, etc). Here are my results:

TSH: 2.71 (.35-4.94 range)
T4: 1.1 (.7-1.5 range)
T3: 3.3 (1.7-3.7 range)
Anti Thyroperoxidase: <10 (0-34.9 range)

I have tried to understand my results but everywhere I look says the range used by the lab is wrong and should be like .3-3.0. I don't know what is right or wrong and I am desperate for answers or help or something. I am tired of hearing that I am fat and getting older (I am only 33) and that I need to change my entire diet. If I couldn't lose weight on prescription pills that had me shed 30 pounds before, then how am I supposed to do it on my own if something is maming it impossible for me to do so?!

I am at my wits end and I could really use some help and kindness. My family has a history of diabetes and if I don't figure something out soon, that is where I am headed. A healthy, active 28 year old should not develop these problems overnight... and by 33, she should have an answer as to what is wrong.

Please help!
21 Responses
Avatar universal
100% of all your symptoms are consistent with Hypo (low) thyroid.

Two further questions.  

1) Are you losing or thin hair on the outer 1/3 or so of your eyebrows?

2) with one arm relaxed but outstretched with your bottom of the wrist pointing upward toward the ceiling, can you take the other hand and attempt to "pinch" abouit 2 inched up from the crook of your elbow just skin between your thumb and index finger?  Don't go nuts with the pinch.  You will generally either easily to be able to grab or pinch just skin, or your finger and thumb will simply glide over the skin and be unable to gather any skin.

If you are unable to grab skin and only slip over the skin then this is evidence that you are hypo.

Test # 2 is called in layman's terms the "hypo pinch test"  You can google it or search under You Tube and see people do this.  They claim that this pinch test is extremely acurate to determine if you have Hypo or not.

based on all you describe I would bet a ton of money that you will be unable to pinch any skin.

While your blood labs are within range, and in fact are quite well up into the range.  MOST (but not all)people don't feel well until their Free T4 is about 50% of the range or a bit higher AND their FT3 is about 67% of the range.

Your test results

You don't list whether your tests were "Free" or "total". But the range listed for the T4 is consitent with what is frequently seen for "free T4".  So I'm making the ASSUMPTION that in fact you were tested for the "Free" tests.  "total" tests are obsolete and of little value

That being said your T4 result is: 50% of the range- equal to the rule of thumb.

Your T3 is 80% - Rule of thumb is 67-75%

MOST people would feel OK with these results in that you have almost perfect lab results compared to the rule of thumb.

This suggests to me that there may be something else going on. You appear to have what many layman simply define as "thyroid resistence".  Or it could be Reverse T3 dominance. But with the higher amounts of Free T3 listed that seems a bit unlikely.  You could also have Estrogen dominance.  As thyroid binds to thyroid making it unavailable to be used by your cells.  However it would seem that if this were the case, the "free T3" (free means that the hormone is by itself and not attached to another protein or other molecule) should not pick this up.

All of this is thinking out loud.  But you may want to contact "Red Star" here on the forum who also has had issues with thyroid resistence. And in her case I believe and others with this genetic issue have to have their thyroid levels well in excess of what would seem reasonable. And to a point that almost no PCP or Dr who is not familiar with this rare situation would EVER prescribe that amount of medicine.

Please also test your, Vitamin B-12.  There is a condition called and I may misspell lthis as "perneicious anemia".  which does not allow B-12 to be absorbed and therefore leave you B-12 deficient.  And this can cause incredible fatigue symptoms.  Severe B-12 deficiency can also cause your extremities (hands & feet) to become numb.

Also consider testing for Ferritin. Which is NOT the same as iron.  Ferritin is needed to transport thyroid.

Finally I'm not sure if you've had your adrenals checked. But that would be something to check. I believe you really want a 24 hour test for Cortisol rather than simply a one time snapshot as Cortisol really varies throughout the 24 hours in a day and you really need to know what it is doing for the whole day.  It could be just fine in the day but completely out of whack at night and if you only get a single test during the day you would have no way to know this.

Sorry I could not be of further help.  But the bottom line is that you certainly appear to be Hypo and potentially low B-12 for whatever reason.

Others here may have other ideas and I'm only giving you one idea and stream of thought.
1756321 tn?1547098925
As you mention diabetes in your family, insulin resistance is something to consider if you haven't been diagnosed as diabetic. I had severe insulin resistance which has many symptoms in itself but there is also the long list of magnesium deficiency symptoms as well.

Insulin stores magnesium but if your cells become resistant to insulin you can't store magnesium so you lose it through urination.  I also had zinc deficiency which may of been due to eating too much sugar but could of been due to insulin resistance. Not sure about that though.

High doses of vitamin D worsened my existing magnesium deficiency. And the "normal" range of vitamin D at my lab is dodgy. My lab range was way too low but I was even lower than that.

1756321 tn?1547098925
I just read your answer. Very indepth! :) Yes I do have thyroid resistance issues unfortunately. I'm not sure if I ever mentioned this, but cholesterol or liver enzymes never changed with my cellular issues because my thyroid blood levels were normal.  But when Hashi's showed up my liver enzymes both rose and my cholesterol started to move up in the range.
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for your response!

In answer to your questions:
1. No, I have not been losing any hair from my eyebrows that I have noticed.
2. I absolutely cannot grab any skin in the crook of my elbow. I even tried to do it with gusto after realizing I couldn't do it and I got nothing.

You are correct in that the T3 and T4 tests were both Free and not Total. I am going to put all of my results in another comment in case there is anything else you want to check.

I did find my Vitamin B12 results and it says my result was 497 on a range of 211-911. I also found Ferritin on there and my result was 42.8 on a range of 4.6-204.

I don't think that I have ever had my adrenals checked but I really have no clue. How to they check them? Is it a blood test or is it done another way?

Thank you again for your help! You may not think you have helped very much but the fact that you listened AND took me seriously means the world to me!
Avatar universal
Thank you for responding and sharing your experience!

I have not been diagnosed with diabetes so far. I am going to post my results below for you to see because I honestly have no idea what I should be looking at. I did not see a test for zinc on my test results but it could just be under a name I don't recognize.

Whay is Hashi? Is this something thay I should be worried about or maybe look into?

What kind of doctor did you find the most helpful while you were trying to determine the cause of your problem? A PCP, an endocrinologist,  an internist,  etc? Obviously I am unhappy with my current doctor and would like to switch to someone who cares enough to help me feel like my old self again.

Thank you again!
Avatar universal
I cannot thank you enough for responding! Just to have someone listen to me and take me seriously is more than I could have asked for!

I went back and got all of my test results. There were a few questions about exactly what was run so I am just gonna post it all here and that way you have it to refer to if you have additional questions.

Test          My Result         Range
Vitamin B12     497           211-911
Folate          21.4            > 5.4
Ferritin        42.8           4.6-204
Insulin Total   11               0-17
Vit D, 25-Hydroxy   36          30-100
25-Hydroxy D3 2     36       > or = 30
25-Hydroxy D2 2     <4              ?
Thyroid Peroxidase AB <10.0   0.0-34.9
T3 Free         3.3            1.7-3.7
T4 Free         1.1            0.7-1.5
TSH             2.61          .35-4.94
Hemoglobin A1C  5.5             <5.7
IP Cardio CRP   6.2           3.1-10.0 ^*this is the high risk range. The average risk range is 1.0-3.0

IP Lipid w RFLX to DLDL
   Cholesterol Total  148     125-200
   Triglycerides      55        46
   LDLC               86        60       > 60
Calcium      9.5              8.4-10.5
Bilrubin, Total  0.6           0.2-1.2
Protein, Total   6.6           6.0-8.3
Albumin 2        3.8           3.5-5.0
Alkaline Phosphatase  65        38-126
Alanine Transaminase  14          9-52
Aspartate Transaminase 18        14-36

*Diabetes Interpretation:
         Normal  125
(I have no idea what this Diabetes Interpretation refers to... it was just at the bottom of the page)
1756321 tn?1547098925
While your Hemoglobin A1C (measures the average blood glucose levels over the past 3 months) is 5.5 this could be falsely low if your hemoglobin is low.

Not sure what they mean by normal at 125? If that is fasting blood glucose then that is too high.  A diagnosis of prediabetes is a fasting blood glucose level of 100 - 125 mg/dl.  A fasting blood glucose level of 126 mg/dl or higher is a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.  You'd have to have repeated tests to confirm the diagnosis however.

CRP is an inflammatory marker. A more specific test for cardiovascular risk is high sensitivity CRP (hs-CRP). Either way, the lower the inflammation the better.

Vitamin B12, vitamin D (25-Hydroxy) and ferritin could be higher. D2 should be negative unless you are taking D2 supplements.

That pinch test is called the myxedema skin pinch test (youtube has a demo: Hypothyroidism Type 2: Myxedema Symptoms). Dr Mark Starr created the term hypothyroidism type 2. His book is: Hypothyroidism Type 2: The Epidemic.

The general area of testing myxedema is on the upper arm where it seems to first start showing up.  This is a sign that your cells aren't getting enough thyroid hormone. I'm covered from head to foot in myxedema. You can read more about this: Myxedema - The forgotten Test for Hypothyroidism.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease that can lead to hypothyroidism. Your thyroid peroxidase antibody is negative but you could also check for thyroglobulin antibodies which is another antibody that may be positive with this disease.

Several studies have shown that people with slightly higher cholesterol live longer than those with low cholesterol (less than 181 mg/dL or 4.7 mmol/L). The American Heart Association classify total cholesterol levels below 160 mg/dL or 4.1 mmol/l as hypocholesterolemia (abnormally low cholesterol).    

Excerpt from the study: Primary and secondary hypocholesterolemia...

"The causes of primary hypocholesterolemia are some disorders owing to genetic mutation in the pathway of cholesterol absorption, biosynthesis or metabolism, including abetalipoproteinemia, hypobetalipoproteinemia, Tangier disease, chylomicron retention disease and inherited disorders of cholesterol biosynthesis.

The causes of secondary hypocholesterolemia comprise anemia, hyperthyroidism, malignancy, live disease, critical illness, serious stress, malabsorption or malnutrition, acute or chronic infection, chronic inflammation, and use of some drugs.

In addition, what's more important is that hypocholesterolemia can result in some adverse events, such as increased mortality, intracerebral hemorrhage, cancer, infection, adrenal failure, suicide and mental disorder. Therefore, with the practice of intensive lipid-lowering treatment and the tendency to the increased indications of statins, it's high time that physicians attached more importance to hypocholesterolemia."

Dr Sandra Cabot's article "Don’t worry about cholesterol; inflammation is your biggest problem" goes into various reasons for inflammation...

"The following factors all raise the level of inflammation in your body:

Being overweight
Lack of sleep
Deficiency of omega 3 fats in the diet
Lack of fresh vegetables in the diet
Food allergy or intolerance
Diets high in sugar, alcohol, gluten and omega 6 fats

In most people, the overwhelming cause of excessive inflammation in their body is poor diet choices.

Sugar, flour and vegetable oil high in omega 6 fats (soy, corn, cottonseed, sunflower, safflower oil) all cause wear and tear to your body. Having a fatty liver causes the liver to produce high levels of damaging inflammatory chemicals."

Avatar universal
I'm sorry, I jusy realized that half of my results didn't copy for some reason so I am trying it again:

Test                              My Result         Range
Vitamin B12                      497             211-911
Folate                                21.4            > 5.4
Ferritin                             42.8            4.6-204
Insulin Total                      11               0-17
Vit D, 25-Hydroxy            36              30-100
25-Hydroxy D3 2              36              > or = 30
25-Hydroxy D2 2              <4              ?
Thyroid Peroxidase AB    <10.0         0.0-34.9
T3 Free                              3.3            1.7-3.7
T4 Free                              1.1            0.7-1.5
TSH                                    2.61           .35-4.94
Hemoglobin A1C               5.5             <5.7
IP Cardio CRP                   6.2             3.1-10.0 ^*this is the high risk range. The average risk range is 1.0-3.0

IP Lipid w RFLX to DLDL
          Cholesterol Total  148              125-200
          Triglycerides         55                 46
          LDLC                       86                60            > 60
Calcium                              9.5              8.4-10.5
Bilrubin, Total                   0.6              0.2-1.2
Protein, Total                    6.6              6.0-8.3
Albumin 2                           3.8              3.5-5.0
Alkaline Phosphatase       65               38-126
Alanine Transaminase      14               9-52
Aspartate Transaminase 18               14-36
*Diabetes Interpretation:
         Normal  125
(I have no idea what this Diabetes Interpretation refers to... it was just at the bottom of the page)
Avatar universal
Weird... it did it again.
Avatar universal
IP Lipid w RFLX to DLDL
          Cholesterol Total  148              125-200
          Triglycerides         55                 46
          LDLC                       86                60            > 60
Calcium                              9.5              8.4-10.5
Bilrubin, Total                   0.6              0.2-1.2
Protein, Total                    6.6              6.0-8.3
Albumin 2                           3.8              3.5-5.0
Alkaline Phosphatase       65               38-126
Alanine Transaminase      14               9-52
Aspartate Transaminase 18               14-36
*Diabetes Interpretation:
         Normal  125
(I have no idea what this Diabetes Interpretation refers to... it was just at the bottom of the page)
Avatar universal
Hahaha this is so odd! It just keeps deleting the middle of my test results.
1756321 tn?1547098925
I've had the same thing when I use . Seems to be hit and miss if it will post or not. I'll usually take those symbols out to repost.
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1756321 tn?1547098925
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