I have so many questions but I don't know where to begin so I guess I will start from the beginning (the short version).
A couple of weeks ago I was dx with a sinus infection and told to take Augmentin and a decongestant (I took Sudafed - a big mistake). Anyway, I had what seemed like a really bad reaction to the medication. I felt dizzy, my arms ached and felt weak, disoriented, groggy, etc. My arms felt so heavy and weird that I thought I was having a heart attack. I went to my doc immediately was was told that I probably had a bad reaction to the meds. At that point, I had been off the meds for a few days but my doc said the reaction could last another week or so. He ended up doing a bunch of blood tests to rule other stuff out and said that he thought I might have hypothyroidsim.
My test results were normal but my TSH level was 3.5, which my doc said still needed treatment given my symptoms. He prescribed Armor Thyroid and told me to take 30mg 2x a day.
Here are my questions....
1) Does that dx sound right? My TSH were within "normal" range and I only seemed to be symptomatic after my bad medication reaction. Could a TSH level of 3.5 still produce symptoms?
2) I am not overweight (I thought that would be a prominent symptom of someone being hypo.) Forgive me if I sound naive asking this question. I just really thought that was a very common symptom.
3) I have been taking Armor thyroid for about 4 days now. I felt fine at first but yesterday I noticed that for about 6 hours after I took it, I felt AWFUL. I felt jittery - almost twitchy and yet tired and weak at the same time. I started feeling better about 6-7 hours later. But when I took my second dose, I got a bad case of vertigo. I called my doc and he lowered my dose to two 1/2 pills a day. Does this reaction sound normal? Does my body have to get used to the medication? How long until I feel better taking it?
4) Final question - in retrospect, I may have had hypothyroid symptoms for a little while. Are these common symptoms? - Fatigue that comes and goes. Feelings of weakness, especially in the arms for some reason, hair loss (lose lots in the shower), mental confusion, dizziness that comes and goes and a recent feeling as though I have a lump in my throat. I should probably mention that I am under a GREAT deal of stress and have been for a year now. I think I may also be experiencing anxiety symptoms.
I don't know if all of this is residual effects of the medications I took for my sinus infection, anxiety or if it's hypothyroid symptoms. It may even be sinus infection symptoms. I am SOOOO confused! Thank you so much for any responses!
Normal TSH range has changed and the lab is not up to date. Your MD is. The new TSH normal range as of 2006 is 0.3-2.5 with the known optimal range being 0.89-1.1.
You needed thyroid supplementation given the TSH. However you needed more bloodwork in the form of an FT3 and Ft4 to determine where you were in the normal range and whether or not you have a T4 T3 imbalance. If your T3 levels are significantly higher than the T4 levels, then you may be facing an adrenal issue that needs to be addressed first. While two out of every three hypoT's need some T3.. your MD started you on a pretty hefty dose.
You might want to try just 30 once a day for 2 weeks then boost to the twice a day regime... which I see your MD did.
It takes 2 weeks for your blood levels to hit equilibrium and your system to adjust to your meds. Then you have another 2-4 weeks in which your body adjusts and determines if that doasge is enough, too little, or too much. It is a hurry and wait process that does frustrate many of us.
You are describing classic hypoT symptoms:
Here is what I recommend:
Get an Ft3 and Ft4 run as well as TPOAb and TGAb. Also request a referral for a thyroid ultrasound. This will give you a good basis on your levels.
Now when you go in for your blood work, you can not take your Armour til after the blood has been drawn. if you take it before you will have artificially elevated levels.
I was just finally diagnosed with hypothyroidism myself.
My symtoms started 20 years ago with a bad case of mono when I was 16. The symptoms kept progressing for years and I bounced from doctor to docter trying to find out what was wrong with me. I never felt good after that.
Over the years the fatigue had gotton so bad that I had days where I couldn't get out of bed and I nearly totaled a brand new car when I passed out behind the wheel. I was running six miles a day and gaining weight.
I became very ill with the flu in Jan of this year. The doctor I went to see found that I not only had sleep apnea but I was also poitive for the epstein bar virus which is just a reaccurance of mono. That didn't explain why my symtoms were getting worse and worse by the day. He tried to force me into getting a cpap machine and told me that I would just have to live with the chronic fatigue.
My TSH levels never left the normal range so the doctors never looked any further. Never mind the fact that my mother is also hypothyroid.
I chose to bypass this doctors advice and wanted to be referred to an Ear Nose and Throat Specialist.
I was amazed when I met this doctor. The first words out of his mouth were how are you feeling. His very next question was, "Does anyone , in your family, have thyroid trouble?" Of course, I said yes and we proceded to go down the list of symtoms that I had.
He said that even though the TSH test was the most comprehensive one in the arsenal, it doesn't tell you everything. He also explained that hypothyroidism can also contribute to sleep apnea. He ordered a full thyroid work up done and sure enough, a week later the nurse called me back and told me that I needed thyroid medication.
I have been on levothyroxin for a couple of weeks now and I can't remember the last time that I felt this good. I go in for surgery next Mon to fix the other causes of the sleep apnea.
I will have to have the thyroid panel done again in about 4 weeks to make sure that the medication is doing what it is supposed to and to see if it needs to be adjusted.
Last edited by photo35; 06-03-2008 at 10:18 AM.
Reason: mispelled word
Sounds like the meds need to be adjusted. It is possible to only exhibit some of the symtoms of hypotyroidism. We are not all text book cases. And it is possible for it to start after becoming ill. That is how mine started. My symtoms are extreme muscle fatigue, sleep apnea, weight gain, skin rashes, unable to concentrate, abnormally heavy menstral cycles, brittle hair and nails, etc... etc.... My TSH levels were in the NORMAL range as well, but the TSH doesn't tell you everything.
Last edited by photo35; 06-03-2008 at 10:30 AM.
Reason: mispelled word
Have you been tested for Hashimoto's thyroiditis? If not, IMO you should be. The lab codes are TPOAb and TGAB.
Hashimoto's and Graves are genetically dominant and passes on to your children. If you have it your daughter is 80% likely to get it... son 20-40%. If your hypoT and Hashimoto's is not treated properly, it can also effect fetal developement and your health during pregnancy. Most MDs see hypoT and do not bother to check for Hashimoto's.. but if it is Hashimoto's you know and your children can start testing for antibodies(TPOAb and TGAb), TSH, FT4, and FT3 during their yearly exams and catch it as early as possible if/when it arises. Another good thing about early testing, they have a baseline in the future when they are adults. So they know what their normal thyroid function was versus if something develops. The sooner you treat hypoT/hyperT onset the better.
I wish my mom had told me about her and her four sisters having various mixes of Hashimoto's and Graves. It would have made my one pregnancy a lot easier. As it was I told my OB over and over to test my thyroid, things were not right, and she never even ran a TSH. Her notes just blew off my statements and request as first time pregnancy angst! Needless to say she is lucky I didn't die and my son came out alright. I do not like that I was in the hospital a month after my son was born.. but at least I got lucky with a healthy 10 lb premie. However it would have been nice to know why I had all the symptoms I had and that it just wasn't a bad first pregnancy. It took five years for someone to finally test the antibodies and discover.. "Hey your pituitary gland isn't working right.. your TSH means squat and you are very hypoT. By the way you have been hypoT for so long.. your adrenal glands died too."
You have to stay on top of your thyroid health and care. Do not trust the MD to do it for you. It is a partnership. Finding the rare MD willing to work with you like a partner is the key.
If we learn by our mistakes, I am working on one hell of an education.
Thanks for the advice... This could explain why I have gone through two miscarriages. You also brought up a few things that I will have to pursue along with finding a regular Doc to deal with these concerns.. So far, other than the EMT, I haven't had much luck in that department.