Can you have very high antibodies results with a "normal" TSH, free T4, free T3 result? I've had two docs in a row refuse antibody testing b/c of "normal" other test results. With all my hypoT symptoms and now aching, ACHING joints for the past several days, could my problem lie elsewhere or should I continue to pursue a thyroid dx?
Yes, you can have elevated antibodies even though your T3 and T4 are normal. At least I do. My doctor said that once it looks like the T3 and T4 are normalized, he will up my meds a bit to compensate for the antibodies. Does that make sense? If it is that easy, I don't know why any of my other doctors didn't do that.
I believe you can have elevated antibodies with normal TSH. I've been having my T4, T3 and TSH checked for years because of my symptoms, but because they've always been normal, my doctor has always said I don't have a thyroid problem. Just last week I finally went to and Endo on my own and he said those tests are great, but we also need to test the antibodies. My TSH came back at 1.0 and my anti-thyroglobulin was 8.0 (normal range is 0.0-2.0) and the anti-TPO antibody was <.5 (normal range is 0.0-2.0). A year ago my TSH was 2.6 - I don't understand why it went down.
I'm guessing my antibodies are only slightly elevated which doesn't make sense to me because my symptoms are so much more severe than they used to be! I'm exhausted beyond belief, my fingernails are split wide open, exposing the nail bed, I can't concentrate at all (I couldn't even write down my phone number the other day) - by hands, feet and face are swollen - especially around my eyes and my hair is not only falling out, but is so brittle, it is disintegrating and breaking off in the middle of the back of my head. Wow - I really didn't mean to unload all of that. I'm curious too what kind of antibody readings others have had - I'm sure mine would seem low by comparison, but my symptoms are so severe I'm hoping my doctor will put me on medication that will help.
Originally posted by imsotired:
Should I then get "ugly" and insist on antibodies testing or just wait 'til my next thyroid testing comes up again in six weeks or so?
I would kindly insist that you get an antibodies test. Joke around, say if the doc is right, you'll buy 'em all dinner. Something just to nudge him along the path you want him to take, yet not "telling him what to do". And anyway, it isn't like your doctor is paying for the tests, you are. If trying to bribe him (or her) with dinner doesn't work, then just look him in the face and say, "well, I guess you aren't the doctor I am looking for. Thank you for your time" and just walk out. I know it is rude, but you aren't paying him to waste your time.
[This message has been edited by TinyTot2 (edited 09-15-2003).]
Thanks for the advice guys. I guess I was a little too colorful by saying I'd get "ugly" about it. I never really would. I'd be to...shy...I guess is the best word I can come up with. I do wish all our doctors would just do what we ask though. You're right- it's not like THEY have to pay for it or anything! It MIGHT even give them the opportunity to "gloat and tease" a little if WE turn out to be the ones who are wrong (not likely though, huh? ).
If you are right about the lab results... gloat, baby, gloat. You'd deserve it. Oh, and I did understand you only WANTED to be nasty... not actually be nasty. I try to avoid the nasties, too.
And honestly, it is hard trying to be "nice" to the doctor by sparing his/her from feeling "bossed around". It just makes frustrated people like us look a little more professional. I mean, being nice is the way to start, but if it gets you nowhere, honestly I would try the "slightly more persistent" approach. Sorry I forgot to add that early. Sometimes I find myself having to "turn it up a notch". I am 24 but look 14, so I have a very hard time with people taking me seriously.
Otherwise, if the doc won't do the test, go to an independent lab, if possible.
I agree with the others. I'd insist on antibody testing.
My TSH, T4, Free T4 are all considered normal. (Free T3 not done yet) but I have hypoT symptoms. My antibodies are EXTREMELY high (TPO is 804 - range 0-34) which indicates Hashimoto's. Since I have symptoms and a goiter with nodules (ultrasound done to confirm this), my doc started me on Synthroid last week. He isn't waiting for my levels to not be "normal" because my thyroid is working overtime to try to keep up. That's why it's enlarging. He is treating my symptoms...not the labs. YAY!!! Eventually my thyroid will stop working since my body is slowly destroying it, so I'd have to be on replacement therapy anyway. My doc says why wait? It'll only get worse if we wait. I love his progressive attitude!
Also, since you mention achy joints you probably should ask for an ANA to be run with your labs. This is a screening for auto-immune diseases. Having red, swollen, hot, aching joints for a couple weeks at a time can indicated Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthitis or several other auto-immune diseases. The ANA can screen to see if you have those antibodies but will not confirm a diagnosis for you. It will only tell you if you have auto-immune antibodies. Mine came back positive and extremely high, which can indicate Lupus, but I am only diagnosed with Hashi's because I don't have Lupus symptoms. Once you have one auto-immune disease then you are more likely to have others, but not in all cases. I am not seeing an endo at this time since my ANA is positive. I see a Rheumatologist (yes, I stand out in the crowd since I'm only 35 yo) because they specialist in ALL auto-immune diseases. I think I get better care this way. He's re-testing me in 10 weeks for everything...not just the thyroid.
Hope this helps,
Good luck - Rhonda
[This message has been edited by happy4us (edited 09-16-2003).]
Thanks for your comments/advice guys. BTW- I am 26 and LOOK 14 as well, so I know what you mean about people not taking you seriously. As much as I hate now being overweight, it has helped me to look somewhat older. Now I just have to deal with the fat=dumb stereotype. Guess we can't have it both ways!
I will try to schedule another appointment soon to get antibodies testing. I'm going to ask about vertigo or something too. My "dizzy" spells seem to be getting more and more frequent, though not really worse.
[This message has been edited by imsotired (edited 09-16-2003).]
It seems that I remember in an earlier post an indivdual sharing the view of a Dr. who indicated that the specific level of elevated antibodies does not always reflect the severity of symptoms. Slightly elevated antibodies may cause extreme hypo symptoms in some folks. This is the case for me as my antibodies were not highly elevated but my symptoms were quite severe.
Until I found this website, I didn't even think of getting copies of my lab results. So, I thought I'd call my last few doctors and get copies now.
Turns out none of them had even been testing my anti-body level even though they knew I have Hashimotos. They would look at my T4 only and think I was fine!
I will never, ever go without copies again. I can't believe I wasted so much money on all those doctors.