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Thyroid issues - TSH

Discussion in 'Thyroid Dysfunction' started by richio76, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. richio76

    richio76

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    I've been having symptoms not related to my ME which seem to point to a thyroid problem. Particularly I've gained a lot of weight (2 stone) without eating too much (I was 11 stone a year ago at 38 and there was no change in diet or activity, but a significant and noticeable loss of appetite when the weight gain began), circles round my eyes, dry skin all over my head and face, dry hair. increasing dizziness and a constant lump in my throat. My mum has hypothyroid. I recently had a TSH test and it came back as normal, with a reading of 0.71, which I understand is at the low end of the normal range. Is it still possible that I have an issue? I'm at a loss as to what is causing the weight gain as I'm now down to under 1200 calories a day and still getting heavier.

    Is should add that I take Tramadol, Amitryptilene and gabapentin, but have done so for years without any of these side effects.
     
  2. Old Bones

    Old Bones Senior Member

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    With respect to the "normal range" for TSH, I am aware that some physicians consider symptoms more important than the results of a blood test. I'm currently taking thyroid medication for hypothyroidism, and based on experimenting with various doses over more than a year, my physician believes my TSH should fall between 1 and 2. Of course, the correct range for another patient could be quite different.

    It's been a while since I've paid much attention to thyroid details, and my memory for what I read is poor. However, there is an excellent book called "Stop the Thyroid Madness" written by a patient advocate. She has helped a lot of people who suspect thyroid problems, but who haven't been helped under the mainstream medical approach. The website www.stopthethyroidmadness.com also provides some good advice.
     
    whodathunkit likes this.
  3. richio76

    richio76

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    Hey, thanks so much for this!
     
  4. whodathunkit

    whodathunkit Senior Member

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    Like Old Bones said, symptoms are a great metric to judge thyroid function. But labs are good, too, and not all of them are as fundamentally useless as TSH as a marker for thyroid health. Labs other than TSH can tell a story that confirms symptoms even when TSH is considered normal by the mainstream.

    For example, two useful tests are T3 and Free T3. The ratio between these two (which should ideally be 20 or higher) has a lot to say about if your body is making and using thyroid hormones appropriately.

    I'm not an expert, so can't give you a rundown of all the tests that will tell you about how your body is making and using thyroid. But a little bit of googling for T3, T4, reverse T3 (RT3) and phrases such as "full thyroid panel" can tell you a lot. Probably the info is at the website Bones recommended, too. I just haven't checked there. That website may a one-stop shop and have all the info you need with regards to labs.

    Other thing I want to throw out there is that SSRI's can have a very deleterious effect on metabolism. I gained all kinds of weight after SSRI's. I don't consider them the whole cause of my weight gain but definitely consider them a root cause. I was never the same afterwards.

    Remember, things often change over time, and things also "catch up" with us over time. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Just saying for you to consider.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Old Bones

    Old Bones Senior Member

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    Some very good information from @whodathunkit . During the period when we were trying to determine my dose of thyroid medication, my doctor set up a monthly "standing order" at the lab for me to have my TSH, Free T3 and Free T4 tested. These days, she occasionally checks only my TSH to see if things are changing (which they did, quickly and dramatically, when I temporarily went off my gluten-free diet), and my Free T3 and Free T4 are done routinely every three months.
     
  6. richio76

    richio76

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    Thanks @whodathunkit. I guess my fear is that it's the meds, because I can't stop it and can't stop the meds as life isn't liveable without them. I was in a dark room before them, unable to tolerate sound, light, touch, movement, in constant agony. I have two young children who I couldn't see, touch, talk to or be around. I'm stuck.
     
  7. bertiedog

    bertiedog Senior Member

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    My TSH before treatment was only around 1.5 which my GP said was fine but going in the wrong direction. My T4 was bottom of the range around 10.5 but this wasn't commented on and I was told my thyroid was fine. I had put 2 stone on in weight and could hardly life my arms above my head to dry my hair.

    In fact I was severely hypothyroid and luckily I found a knowledgeable doctor and gradually worked up to 2 grains desiccated plus just 25 mg thyroxine which seemed to help my muscles. Gradually I have almost lost the 2 stones and my muscles are much better apart from I get a throat infection which in winter is far too often.

    I learned that for some of us the TSH is no guide to the workings of the thyroid gland because there can be a central problem in the brain and the signals just don't go through correctly.

    Pam
     
    Crux likes this.

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