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Old 08-17-2006, 11:31 AM   #1
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krprince HB User
13 Year Old with Hypothyroid

Hello Everyone,
My daughter and I are both hypothyroid. She is 13 yrs old, 5 ft. tall and weights about 185 pds. I am very concerned about her weight. She is on Synthroid 125 mg. and has cut out sugar over the summer. Still, she is continuing to gain weight. She has now become depressed.We went shopping for school clothes and had to get a Womens 18. I am overweight, but am in a 14. This was awful for her to realize she was heavier than her mother. Our DR is also hypothyroid, so she just says that it is something we have to live with. I did the diet/exercise/medication thing for 2 yrs. when I was diagnosed, and I didn't lose any weight, but felt better. I am not concerned for myself, though. Is there anyone out there with a young child with hypothyroid that is overweight? Is there any hope for her to lose the weight and feel better about herself? I do not want her on anti depressants. I have read everything I can get my hands on about Hypothyroid and want to take her, if not myself, to an Endocrine Specialist. I just don't know the right questions to ask. I know weight is only a small factor in this disorder, but for my child, it is everything and I can't do anything about it.Thanks for your help.

 
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Old 08-17-2006, 12:48 PM   #2
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Archie343 HB User
Re: 13 Year Old with Hypothyroid

Definitely get an endocrinologist involved. If she is being managed by a regular MD she is probably not being properly tested nor medicated.

I don't want to jump to any conclusions about your daughter's diet but I will say this: if she eats a lot of fast food and junk food (like so many kids do) eliminating sugar will not be enough. She should eat lots of veggies, raw and/or cooked. Red meat should be eliminated or greatly reduced. A vegetarian diet would help but if she has to have meat make it lean chicken, turkey or fish. If you're concerned she won't get enough protein on a low-meat diet substitute legumes, peanut butter, fresh peas, etc. (On the other hand, many people swear by the Atkins and South Beach diets, heavy on the meats with little to no veggies if they contain carbohydrates. It's nearly the opposite of what I suggest and it works for some.)

If you find one of those diets works for her she will not only lose weight she will have more energy. Once she starts seeing progress enroll her in some sort of physical training or a rigorous sport at your local Y.

Good luck to you both.

 
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Old 08-17-2006, 01:10 PM   #3
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krprince HB User
Re: 13 Year Old with Hypothyroid

Thanks Archie Wilson!
She could stand to do a little more exercise. With school starting up, she will have Gym 5 days a week. She has tried the Atkins diet, and it made her sick. So, I made her quit. She changed her eating habits quite remarkably. We only eat out maybe twice a month. She eats mostly brown rice, green beans, peas and lots of chicken. Thankfully, she doesn't like sweets, but she does like bread and pasta (I try to use wheat when possible). I don't like red meat, so that means no one else in our family gets to eat it either! HA!

 
Old 08-17-2006, 02:10 PM   #4
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Re: 13 Year Old with Hypothyroid

My neighbor is a pediatrician that works in a center at our local university hospital that helps kids that are overweight lose, and also works with anorexics at the other end of the spectrum.

I wonder if there are any centers where you live that work specifically with young people and their weight?????You would need a real medical facility run by doctors so that they would take the thyroid condition into account.

It's so good that you are seeking help. With you around, I'm sure she knows she is beautiful and loved by you-----I think it's hard to do this alone---if there is no facility like this near you, insurance co.s also cover nutritionists as well.

 
Old 08-17-2006, 03:06 PM   #5
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elmhar HB Userelmhar HB User
Re: 13 Year Old with Hypothyroid

Hi KrPrince,

I am concerned, with the continuing weight gain along with the depression, that it is possible your DD is not receiving adequate treatment for her hypothyroid. It is relatively common in America for doctors to undertreat hypothyroid. If you are fully confident she is being adequately treated, then of course disregard the suggestions below.

Perhaps you are already doing this: get photocopies of your DD's labwork. Learn all you can about her particular type of thyroid disorder, and follow the labwork carefully.

Do you know whether your DD has had thyroid antibodies tested? This is important to check. There are three different antibody tests. Autoimmune hypothyroid can be slightly trickier to treat than garden-variety thyroid failure.

If your DD does have an autoimmune thyroid disorder, like Hashimoto's disease, you may wish to have her tested for celiac disease. Autoimmune thyroid disorders are several times more common in young celiacs than among young non-celiacs. Celiacs (not to say your DD is one) who get on a gluten-free diet at an early age have reduced risk of acquiring additional autoimmune diseases. And, for those who are gluten-sensitive, the special diet has been shown in several research studies to reduce thyroid autoantibodies. Which is a good thing.

Many docs base treatment of hypothyroid on TSH alone, which is less helpful than regular free T3 & free T4 thyroid hormone testing. When you examine the lab printouts, check to see that your DD's levels for the free hormones are at least mid-range. If they are at the lower end of the range, she may still be symptomatic. There are other T3 & T4 tests, but the free hormone tests are most helpful.

During adolescence there is increased demand for thyroid hormone due to growth & development. For girls, there is an extra glitch that gets thrown in, and that is that adolescent females tend to run extremely high levels of estrogen. The estrogen can bind up the thyroid hormone (whether from pills or homemade ) & make it less easy for the body to use.

Some people find that thyroid meds other than Synthroid are more helpful for them. These are typically meds that include some of the active thyroid hormone, T3. Armour thyroid contains both T3 & T4. It is dessicated from the gland of pigs, and has a huge following -- many of these people who did not do best on T4 meds like Synthroid. The other main T3 med is called Cytomel, a synthetic but bioidentical T3. I myself take T3 in a slow -release form, specially compounded, and have found that it has been a very helpful addition to my T4 med.

It's possible your DD's depression is due to her thyroid problem. Or, it could be simpler, related to weight issues, popularity, etc. Assuming this is not a deep, severe depression, and if you are not interested in antidepressant meds, I recommend you research & consider 2 things. The first is regular, mild aerobic exercise. Doesn't have to be terribly vigorous. Even a walk can kick in endorphins & lift mood. Numerous studies have shown mild exercise is as effective as SSRIs. So, I recommend this to your DD as a life-long habit. The PE/gym is great, but why not go for a walk, or take out your bike for a spin on the weekend. Having a friend to chat with on walks -- or a pet to exercise, can help ease the boredom of the regimen. Ditto for iPods.

The other thing I recommend you research & possibly try for mild to moderate depression, is EPA fish oil concentrate. One to Two grams per day of the EPA fraction (check the label of the supplement). I recommend the molecularly- distilled EPA concentrates, like Carlson's, Nordic Naturals & Omega Joy for purity (you don't have to worry about mercury & PCBs), as well as for taste. The distillation takes out much of the fishy flavor.

The best EPA concentrates are not cheap, however, there has been lots of good scientific research on EPA concentrate (Pub Med is great for research studies) & it has proven time & again to be helpful for depression. It's also great for the heart, soft skin, lots of good side benefits. However, EPA cannot be used by people with bleeding disorders like hemophilia, or people who are on blood-thinner medication. We've used EPA concentrate in our family for over 6 yrs. & find it indispensible.

Best wishes.

 
Old 08-17-2006, 03:08 PM   #6
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krprince HB User
Re: 13 Year Old with Hypothyroid

I have thought about that.The closest center to where we live is UAMS and it is about 1 1/2 hours away plus she can only miss 5 days of school per semester. Of course, so is the closest specialist and a decent nutritionist. The problem with her attitude right now is that she DOESN'T think I care. She thinks everyone hates her and is out to get her. She does try our patience sometimes. Her brother (12) tries to be really helpful but she pushes him away. He even got into a fight at school over a kid calling her names and talking about her at lunch one day. I was like that a few years ago and the DR put me on Effexor. It seemed to work, but it was to the point where I didn't care about anything. I took myself off of it as soon as I realized it. Thank you for your help and concern.

 
Old 08-17-2006, 03:19 PM   #7
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krprince HB User
Re: 13 Year Old with Hypothyroid

Thank you elmhar. I do have the DR fax me her reports when they come in (every 3 months). The thing with our DR, is that she only goes by the TSH levels. She does test the T3 and T4, but she says that is not what she goes by when prescribing meds.She is hypothyroid herself, so she can make you feel like you don't know what you are talking about. I have read just about everthing I can find on this. Testing the antibodies is something else to think about. Everyone responding is helping me more and more to decide to call for a specialist appointment. I will also research the depression thing further. I really appreciate all of your help!

 
Old 08-17-2006, 03:30 PM   #8
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elmhar HB Userelmhar HB User
Re: 13 Year Old with Hypothyroid

You're welcome! And I do hope you find a way to help your DD. Best wishes.

 
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