This is going to be long (as it's been a long 3 months!)
I work for a hospital and in Aug of this year I had my yearly physical with them which included blood testing. My results came back and my TSH level was a 7 something I believe which freaked my employee nurse out and she told me to go have more in depth testing done. So I did. Went to a doctor (that's within our hospital) 3-4 days after the initial blood test and had additional (I assume the T3, T4) tests done. Couple days later they call me and say my T3 and T4 were normal and if I remember correctly my TSH level was in the normal range. This baffled my employee nurse (and I, really) but I just put it out of my mind.
We come to Sept 11th when I woke up in the middle of the night with the back of my thigh itching like the devil. Got up the next morning and had a rash like area were I had been itching. Took some benadryl and went about my day. Over the course of the next week the rash got worse and started to spread to other areas. On top of this I have frequent tension headaches (we are talking 3-4 a WEEK) and have had them all my life on top of migraines. Anyway, the first week of all this my tension headaches were out of control. I would barely turn my neck to go to pop it and it would create a headache. As well my upper right side of my lip swelled randomly that first week as well. I ended up going to the ER were the doctor said I had pityriasis.
So a couple of weeks went by and one night the rash just got super bad and I could feel my face start to heat up so off to the ER I went again. This time they said no, it's not pityriasis, it's hives. Mmmmk. So I started trying to eliminate anything that could be causing it or that I introduced at the time it started. This went on for several weeks. Some days I could control them fairly well with a swig of NyQuil in the morning and at night but the only real relief I got was by taking steroids, they were the only thing that made the hives go completely away. I also noticed during all this that when I would get them on my fingers (the hives I mean) the joint for that finger would hurt. It would feel like when you need to pop your finger, I would and no relief would come.
So anyway, I've had the hives for over 3 months now (almost 4) and they just seem to be getting worse and worse. On top of that random places swell for no reason - as I type this the left side of my mouth is trying to swell after the middle of my upper lip tried to earlier in the day. I went to the doctor 2 weeks ago because I woke up one morning (again, covered in hives) and I could not bend my knees. Just, could not. When I did it hurt so much I cried out in pain. On top of that my fingers were so swollen I couldn't even make a fist and it took the nurse at the ER (unrelated case, stomach virus) 20 minutes just to find a vein because I was so swollen! My doctor (or NP shall I say) said she didn't think it as an allergic reaction since they had lasted more than 6 weeks but what worried her was the fact it was effecting my joints. I thought yeah, well, me too.
She put me on a 9 day dose of Prednisone (which I just finished) as well as Zyrtec and Zantac. Since having come off the Prednisone the hives and swelling have obviously returned. She also ran blood work and said it all looked normal except my ANA was positive. Not sure why this made me think of thyroid tonight (I'm due in for a follow up on Wednesday) but I started googling about hives and thyroid and apparently there may be some correlation?
Not sure what I'm asking to be honest... is it possible the hives are related to an undiagnosed thyroid problem? Could a positive ANA mean thyroid?
thank you in advanced for reading this. I plan on getting a copy of the original TSH levels and the follow up TSH test the other doctor did so I can bring them in to my new doctor on Wednesday that way I can have exact levels and such.
OG, hi & welcome. I've read that hives are seen in multiple conditions, like hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Lupus, MS, and a rare AI called Schnitzler's syndrome. BTW, others have posted here very recently on the possible connection to thyroid disorders. Have you seen those threads?
Unfortunately, ANA isn't specific to any one condition. It can elevate in lupus, antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), Sjogren's, scleroderma, polymyositis, dermatomyositis, Hashimoto's tyhroiditis, Addison's, vitiligo, psoriasis, pernicious anemia, ETC.
Since you also mention a long history of migraines, in your shoes I'd ask what conditions feature migraines along with positive ANA. Offhand, I can think of lupus and antiphospholipid---but I bet there are other possibilities. I hope others also chip in. Hope this helps a little, with warm wishes, Vee
P.S. I had a shorter history of migraine-like headaches, from mid-20's to mid-40's. I was finally dx'ed with lupus (was negative for antiphosholipid), started Plaquenil & sun avoidance. No hideous headaches since.
Last edited by VeeJ; 12-18-2012 at 04:42 AM.
VeeJ - I saw them last night but hadn't had time to properly read through them as it was pretty late when I stumbled across the board and posted my own thread. I will def. shift through them as the day goes on.
So a positive ANA wouldn't necessarily mean hypo or hyper thyroidism, right?
I'll def. ask my doctor. I have migraines about 2-3 x a year and they seem to be hereditary as my grandmother, aunt, mother, and father all had them but the tension headaches are weekly, my biggest trigger is pulling my hair up in a ponytail.
I called the follow up doctor today and got the thyroid test results from then so I just have to grab the original TSH level test from work today for my appointment tomorrow.
An ANA can be positive in both forms of autoimmune thyroid disease, (or be elevated by a passing virus). Hives can be associated with thyroid disease. Hives or chronic urticaria can appear just all by it's lonesome, independent of any other autoimmune disease. AAAnnd, just to top it off, can appear also with sclero and UCTD. Migraines also appear in sclero. All that being said, thyroid disease is far more common than any of the others, and TSH can bounce around. I was doing blood work every 2 weeks when I was initially diagnosed with Hashi's by both thyroid function and antibodies. Wishing you the best and Happy Holidays!
Thank you Luca. And that is what is truly frustrating, the fact it could be multiple things or may not even be linked... It's to the point when something new occurs I don't know whether its a new symptom or something different. When the ANa came back positive she said she wanted to wait a month to retest to make sure it wasn't a false positive (or when/if the rash came back).
My TSH level on the first test was 7.4 (the previous year it was 3.2). At the follow up doctor 3-4 day later it was 4.270, T4 was 8.4 and T3 update was 25. Guess all I can do tomorrow is ask her to run another thyroid test.
Like a few weeks ago I had a stomach virus (I think, who knows anymore) and had a fever that wouldn't drop below 100 for 3-4 days with the sweats as well. I felt fine once I started Prednisone but this past Sat out of no were I got the chills again, low grade fever, and the sweats following that.
Most family Dr's are perfectly capable of handling thyroid problems. I had an endocrinologist but am much happier with just my PCP. Repeating the ANA is standard so that is good! It took several months before I got my thyroid levels in order and still need minor adjustments from time to time. Veej, I believe the new reference range is supposed to be the lower one in the US but some labs still use the higher threshold. Now since human beings are not lab results, Dr's treat different patients accordingly. I think I forgot to mention that medications can also alter the TSH level of an individual. It all just makes everything sooo complicated. Does your Dr have a game plan for you to treat the hives? And a game plan to address the cause, if one can be found? I've discovered that the name of whatever isn't so important as getting treated. I absolutely hated getting hives because I got them every where, 24/7 for months on end. I developed dermatographism, even. I'm not sure this helps any except to say that sometimes you have to be patient and methodical to get these things sorted out. Happy Holidays!