I just found this site and have already learned so much from reading the other posts. I've been struggling with very strange symptoms for many years and although my doctor keeps checking my thyroid, he says the results are normal so my symptoms must not be thyroid related. I'm finally taking matters into my own hands and going to an Endo on Wednesday. I'm curious about a few things - I've read the many lists of symptoms and seem to have most of them, but has anyone ever had a problem with your fingernails? About two years ago my fingernails became very weak and brittle and the split and vertically, from the tip almost all the way down to the cuticle. They often split clear through to the nailbed which is very painful. My dermatologist told me it was because I had my hands in water too much and should wear gloves anytime my hands are in water. Last April I noticed my hair had become VERY dry and coarse (I've always had oily hair) and one section in particular on the back of my head, the hair has completely broken off - it's actually disintegrating and it will not grow back. I have shoulder length hair with a big "hole" in the middle of the back of my hair. The rest of my hair is also very dry and will NOT hold any kind of curl or bend. Is this common with hypothyroidism?
One more question - is it common for T4 readings to remain constant while TSH raises? I've looked at the past few years of blood work and my T4 was .8 in '99 and '01 and .9 in '02. My TSH was 1.1 in '99, 1.9 in '01 and 2.6 in '02. I've yet to have it checked in '03, but will once I see the Endo this week. I'm just curious if the increase is common.
Sorry to drag on for so long - I'm so very grateful for even the tiniest bit of help anyone can offer!!
I don't know about T4 because my current doc only does TSH. But I can tell you that yes, the fingernails breaking can very well be because of your thyroid. I actually had a toenail seperate and come COMPLETELY off! And I do have the hair coming out too although not in the same spot. It's all over my head.
[This message has been edited by Bosmom (edited 09-08-2003).]
Yes, what you are describing is associated with thyroid problems. It can be assoc. with other things as well though.
Hair and nails- My nails aren't what they used to be either. Mine though tend to peel away much like onion layers until they become very, very thin. I have the same problem with hair too. It seems to be falling out all over, but I notice it more in the front b/c that's what I see most often. I've always had oily hair as well. Now, my scalp fluctuates between very oily and very dry and my hair has become brittle as you described, especially behind the ears and around the back of my head where it is almost "wirey".
As for your labs, I'm not as up on that as some others here are, but just hang in there. Give 'em all a chance to log on and read your post and I'll bet you'll find some folks that can help you out.
Glad to hear your not settling down though and buying everything doctors tell you. Let us know what happens at the endo and be sure to post your labs and someone else can help explain it all to you.
As you know, the story of normal tests with lots of problems is very common, as you can see reading the posts in here.
As far as the T4 readings go, this depends on whether it's TOTAL T4 or FREE T4. Total T4 really doesn't have any reflection on your health, since this measures both protein bound (unusable) and unbound (usable) T4. You want Free T4, which measures the usable amount of T4 in your blood. But if your TSH is going up generally either your Free T3, Free T4, or BOTH are going down.
Originally posted by tinamarie0914: he says the results are normal so my symptoms must not be thyroid related. One more question - is it common for T4 readings to remain constant while TSH raises?
GO grab the book "THYROID FOR DUMMIES"...The same people that do the "...for Dummies" series, have them for different medical conditions too. It helped me know what to ask and what to pay attention to...
Hope this helps! It will relieve some anxiety just knowing that you are able to read up on it!
Also, finger nails, skin and hair can show symptoms of thyroid issues. I can't remember which condition effects them, but you are right, it could be a sign that levels are changing.
Thank you Sky_Eagle for your help on understanding my results a little better. I'm sorry to ask you this as I'm sure you've posted this information many times, but what are the most important tests I should insist on when I see the Endo tomorrow? I want to make the most of this visit and don't want to waste any more time, so knowing exactly what to ask for will help. Also, what has your experience (and anyone else's out there!)been with asking doctors for specific tests? Are they typically open to patient's requesting tests? I know my regular doctor will do just about anything I ask him to do, so I at least have that to fall back on if this guy flakes out, but I'm just curious as to what others have found when they get aggressive with their own diagnosis and treatment.
Thanks also to you Adderall_Angel for your suggestion of the book for dummies - I certainly feel like one right now!
Just having others who understand what I'm going through is such an enormous help!!! I'm grateful to all of you!
Before I was diagnosed, my hair didn't curl, was falling out, dry as the desert. Also fingernails were very dry and brittle. Seems that these are somewhat better, but they have never been the same since. You will need to ask for the Free T3 and Free T4 tests from the endo. These are much more important that the TSH test. Good luck with your appointment and let us know how it went.
It's no problem, I do repeat it, but it's OK. You want FT3 and FT4 - TSH is pretty useless IMO, but the chances of not getting that one ordered are slim and none and slim just walked out the door.
Good luck. The main thing you need to keep in mind with this visit is to stand up for yourself and what your body tells you and don't let the doctor goad you with the tests to believing you are normal and don't have anything like mental problems.
Hope it goes well for you.
Originally posted by tinamarie0914: what are the most important tests I should insist on when I see the Endo tomorrow?