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Old 12-11-2004, 10:57 AM   #1
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Jane in England HB User
Calling any runners with underactive thyroid

Hi

I am new to this and haven't had a chance to go through the whole Thyroid board - so thought I would post a thread myself.
I was wondering if there are any runners out there who also have under-active thyroid. I am 47 years old and have been running since I was about 33. At the age of 43 I was diagnosed as having a (severely) underactive thyroid. I was put on medication - we call it Throxine here in England - but think that in the States you may refer to it by several brand names? Anway, I digress I am a combination of T4 and T3. But despite medication I have never been able to get back to running like I used to. I manage to train now 3 x a week, 4 if I am lucky. I do take part in road races sometimes although my first love is track and I complete at Masters Events usually over 800m. Is there anyone else out there who either runs or participates in other sports who also has an underactive thyroid? I would really appreciate hearing from them and knowing how they 'manage' their condition with their sport.

Thanks
Jane

 
Old 12-11-2004, 12:18 PM   #2
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Re: Calling any runners with underactive thyroid

I just had my thyroid taken out a week ago. Fortunately, I was able to resume running about 3 days after the surgery. From Sunday through Saturday, I ran 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 6, and 13 miles. My TSH on Thursday was 18. I keep waiting for the hypo symptoms to set in, but I haven't noticed them yet. Next Wednesday, I will be getting my radioactive iodine ablation done. Hopefully, as soon as possible after the radioactive iodine is done, the doctor will start me on thyroid meds (Synthroid or Levoxyl). Once the dosage is adjusted correctly, I have heard I will be back to normal. There is a girl who is hypo in our running club and she also said that after getting meds she felt alot better. Her racing times are about the same or a little better than pre-diagnosis. Reading your post, I couldn't help but to wonder if increasing age may have something to do with not being able to run like you used to (if your meds are adjusted appropriately)??!! I have heard that as we get older, our bodies need more recovery and it takes more effort to run the times we used to.

 
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Old 12-11-2004, 01:43 PM   #3
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Divermon HB User
Re: Calling any runners with underactive thyroid

I biked about 30 miles per day, until I crashed hypo in May 2003. I've been on Levoxyl since. Levoxyl is a T4 only med. Thyroxine is just the chemical name for T4.

I was able to bike a little, after that, but it just went down hill from there. At this time I am not able to bike at all.

I did notice that it seemed that after biking (and I'm only talking like 10 miles, at an easy pace) I would go more hypo for the next few days..... as if I used up the T4 or something. I thought that maybe if I just took more, that might work. But I haven't really found the answer.

I have found someting on a research site that suggested that in exersize, adrenal hormones increase, and that anytime adrenal hormones increase, thyroid hormones decrease, and vice versa. However, I would imagine they are refering to PRODUCTION of hormone in a healthy individual. If your thyroid hormone is not being produced, and comes from a pill, I would imagine that whole equasion would be different.

At any rate, I am not wholely convinced that thyroid is my only problem, and I am currently investigating other casues of the fatigue.
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Old 12-11-2004, 05:54 PM   #4
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abigchocoholic HB User
Re: Calling any runners with underactive thyroid

I ran for about 20 years. Gave it up a couple of years ago because of the pain. Hips, knees even ankles hurt bad. I know it was the thyroid.

Currently I'm on a combination of thyroxine and armour. And when I hit a balance point--wow--what a difference. All of a sudden, everything works and no pain. It happened the other day and I got in 7 games of racketball in one day. Just felt great.

My take on it is that either hypo or hyper can shut down your body. And I'm talking hypo or hyper that is below being able to measure, something that is so subtle only you know when you are just right because the blood tests won't pick it up.

Athletic related hyper symptoms:
1. calf pulls. It's like the muscle signals don't work and 1/2 way into a work out something will pull.
2. muscle tightness. And they won't loosen up after stretching.
3. Joint pain.
4. heart rate elevation without cause.
5. Muscle weakness. Big difference in the weight lifting.

hypo symptoms
1. No desire, no motivation. No fire to get out there and compete.
2. muscle tightness
3. joint pain
4. hands fall asleep at night.

Another way you can tell if you play ball sports is your mind and body don't work well together. For example if your hypo you'll overreact and hit the ball too soon.

Balance is everything. That perfect combination of thyroid and all of a sudden the body works just right again.
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Old 12-12-2004, 03:13 AM   #5
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soccerspeed HB User
Re: Calling any runners with underactive thyroid

i've been on medication (25 mcg cytomel and 50 of synthroid) for a little under a month. i was (am?) severely hypothyroid, and it was most definitely affecting my running. i'm really hard on myself however, and still pushed past what is healthy (i still ran 10 - 20 miles per day prior to meds, but boy did it hurt).

i am happy to say that it's getting better almost every day. no way am i competitively back to where i was before this whole mess, but i think it's because i'm undermedicated. i get more blood tests in mid january so i can't do much abt it until then.

i refuse to believe that i will never be able to compete seriously again. i simply refuse. i'm only 24, for heaven's sake! i want to play soccer for a living, and if the professional league resurrects itself, i will NOT let this ridiculous disease stop me.

boy, is hashi's a slap in the face. especially to athletes.
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Last edited by soccerspeed; 12-12-2004 at 03:13 AM.

 
Old 12-12-2004, 08:05 AM   #6
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Meep HB UserMeep HB UserMeep HB User
Re: Calling any runners with underactive thyroid

I am not a runner, but maybe I can give you some insight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jane in England
...we call it Throxine here in England - but think that in the States you may refer to it by several brand names? Anway, I digress I am a combination of T4 and T3.
Yes, we have several brands in the US. Other brands, such as Eltroxin are available in other countries, including the UK. Thyroxine means, literally, T4. It is a T4-only med, not a combination of T3 and T4. If you are taking Thyroxine, then your T3 would be from a separate pill.

Most doctors assume that when you take T4, that your tissues will convert it to T3 as needed, and this may be why your doctor lead you to believe that you were taking a T4/T3 combination.

Quote:
But despite medication I have never been able to get back to running like I used to.
You are not alone. You may be undermedicated (very common) or you may need some additional T3. Without seeing lab results, I couldn't tell you. There may be other health factors, too. How is your Iron (Including Ferritin, Hemoglobin, Iron, and Red Blood Cell count)? That can keep you down, too.

Meanwhile make sure you are getting not just adequate nutrition, but optimal nutrition. Selenium is an especially common deficiency in the UK. One article I just read states "levels of the mineral selenium (Se) declined 50% between 1974-1991 and the UK population selenium levels are lower than many other European countries. Scientific studies show selenium is an essential nutrient associated with the function of major metabolic pathways...." Since thyroid hormone fuels our metabolism, you can see the importance,here.

20% of the T3 in a healthy person's body is made by the thyroid gland. The other 80% is derived from T4 by conversion, elsewhere, but mostly in the liver. Selenium is CRITICAL in both the enzymatic process of producing T4 and T3 in the thyroid gland, and more importantly in your case, the conversion of T4 to T3 by the liver and other tissues, including the brain.

If you can get a Selenium supplement, then I bet you would start to feel somewhat better. I dont' recommend more than 200mcg a day. Start at that level, then drop back to 100mcg a day for maintenance after a month and see what that does for you. Selenium may be available as a supplement from your local chemist (pharmacist in the US) or you may have to order it online, but I believe it would be well worth your effort.
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Old 12-13-2004, 06:00 AM   #7
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Jane in England HB User
Re: Calling any runners with underactive thyroid

Meep

thank you very much for your reply. I am on a combination of T3 and T4 already. But thanks for the tip about Selenium - I will get some at the chemist later, and will let you know how it goes.

Jane

 
Old 12-14-2004, 09:15 AM   #8
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Jane in England HB User
Re: Calling any runners with underactive thyroid

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sol88
I just had my thyroid taken out a week ago. Fortunately, I was able to resume running about 3 days after the surgery. From Sunday through Saturday, I ran 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 6, and 13 miles. My TSH on Thursday was 18. I keep waiting for the hypo symptoms to set in, but I haven't noticed them yet. Next Wednesday, I will be getting my radioactive iodine ablation done. Hopefully, as soon as possible after the radioactive iodine is done, the doctor will start me on thyroid meds (Synthroid or Levoxyl). Once the dosage is adjusted correctly, I have heard I will be back to normal. There is a girl who is hypo in our running club and she also said that after getting meds she felt alot better. Her racing times are about the same or a little better than pre-diagnosis. Reading your post, I couldn't help but to wonder if increasing age may have something to do with not being able to run like you used to (if your meds are adjusted appropriately)??!! I have heard that as we get older, our bodies need more recovery and it takes more effort to run the times we used to.
Thanks for your reply. On the subject of increasing age - I have already taken that into account when looking at my race times. Even allowing for age (there are some very specific calculations available) my track times should not have dropped as much as they have done. I know a lot of other track runners of my age (or thereabouts) who complete on the Masters circuit and their times have not dropped nearly as much - but then they dont have a problem with their Thyroid. the main problem seems to be that I just don't have the energy to train. And according to my consultant I am on enough medication. In fact if a doctor was just looking at my blood tests alone and not looking at it holistically they could be forgiven for thinking that I was on the over-active side rather then the under-active that I am!! I definitely have no symptons of over-activity!! I guess the problem for a lot of us with medication is that no-one takes these blood test readings when our Thyroids are healthy - so we have nothing really to compare it to, and the range within which they base dosage of medication is rather narrow I think. Who knows what those readings were before!!

Jane

 
Old 12-14-2004, 03:59 PM   #9
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frogy HB User
Re: Calling any runners with underactive thyroid

I am also a runner (and weight lifter) and had my thyroid out over 20 years ago. I have actually found that over medicating really hurts my activity. I know its hard to accept because of fear of weight and tiredness. However, everyone's normal is different. More medication is not always the right answer. I had many fights with my doctor about me not wanting to lower my medication because I was still cold all the time and had could not lose weight even though I was working out 6 days a week. As soon as I lower my dose just a little -- my running got much better! I wasn't nearly as hungry and I lost weight! (15 lbs).

Its been over a year now, my blood work now shows me on the lower side of normal. However, this is the best I have felt in years. I am still always cold (but I can live with that) Keep in mind -- more medication is not always best and everyone's normal is different.

 
Old 12-15-2004, 04:20 AM   #10
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Jane in England HB User
Re: Calling any runners with underactive thyroid

Frogy

thanks for your reply. Sadly I have tried going on slightly less medication - but that was just unacceptable as I started to feel hypo again!! and my running really went down hill again. I guess (as my consultant says) it just isn't an exact science!!

Regards
Jane

 
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