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Old 12-05-2001, 04:18 PM   #1
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What is I-131 therapy?

Well, I never got a phone call, but I did get a letter, which in my case is better, so I can refer back to it <IMG SRC="http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/smile.gif">. My serum free thyroxine is 1.03 (normal) free triodothonine is normal at 3.76 and my TSH is at 0.18 a tad low. He recommnends repeating the tests in six months and if the TSH is still low he would consider measuring iodine uptake (what does this involve?) and I-131 therapy. I have no idea what those are, I am sure someone does though. Artful, thanks for you response to my prev post! Thanks to all
Lynda

 
Old 12-05-2001, 09:34 PM   #2
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Re: What is I-131 therapy?

Hi Lynda. This is starting to seem like an exclusive correspondence. <IMG SRC="http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/wink.gif">

I don't know if these are the correct units to interpret your results, but I'm guessing since you said you were in the normal ranges:

Free T4 (thyroxine) was 1.03 (NORMAL 0.7-1.9 ng/dl)
Free T3 (triiodothyronine) was 3.76 (NORMAL 3-8 pmol/l)
TSH was 0.18 (NORMAL 0.5-6 uU/ml )

I'm more uncertain about these units and ranges because they show your TSH indicating hyperthyroidism yet your Free T4 and Free T3 are still normal. Although it may be that's because it's still an early stage.

Hyper matches your symptoms (multinodular nodule et al). Typical treatment is as follows:

1) Medication to suppress your natural thyroid production and regulate your levels.

Then, if that doesn't work,

2) I-131 (or RAI) -- radioactive iodine ablation to permanently kill off the thyroid cells in your body. Then they replace your hormone through medication for the rest of your life.

If that is not an option, or the nodule is causing discomfort, sometimes they'll propose

3) Surgery to remove the nodule and all thyroid tissue.


"Measuring Iodine Uptake" is the thyroid scan I mentioned in one of the earlier posts. This painless test consists of drinking a small amount of I-131 (a form of radioactive iodine -- tastes like seawater) or taking it as a pill. Thyroid tissue loves iodine, so the radioactive tag will be absorbed by your thyroid, and they scan your body to evaluate where the tissue is (and to evaluate your goiter). It's a lot like an MRI or CAT scan, in that you lie on a table and the machine does the work. This test is minimal radiation exposure (like a barium swallow for gastrointestinal studies, or a chest xray).

I'm glad your doctor is considering a scan as your next step. It will help to fully diagnose your nodule as well as characterize where your thyroid tissue is growing. (It's kind of active tissue, and it's not uncommon to have some extra, like your nodule.)

If you and your doctor decide you want to proceed with RAI (I-131) ablation, it is usually an overnight hospital stay. You drink a more irradiated dose of the liquid than you would for a scan, and then you wait for the radiation to leave your system through urine and sweat. It's not too bad (I've done it post-cancer), but I would recommend that you only consider RAI or surgery after much research because once you eliminate your thyroid gland, you can't bring it back. RAI and surgery are also somewhat controversial treatments, particularly in the areas of alternative medicine (who believe hyperthyroidism can be corrected through nutrition). An internet search for "RAI thyroid" will provide much information regarding the pros and cons.

But here's a few links to start:
<A HREF="http://www.endocrineweb.com/hyper1.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.endocrineweb.com/hyper1.html</A>

<A HREF="http://www.endocrineweb.com/hyper4.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.endocrineweb.com/hyper4.html</A>
<A HREF="http://cpmcnet.columbia.edu/dept/thyroid/RAI.html" TARGET=_blank>http://cpmcnet.columbia.edu/dept/thyroid/RAI.html</A>
<p>[This message has been edited by ArtfulD (edited 12-05-2001).]

 
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Old 12-06-2001, 05:12 AM   #3
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Re: What is I-131 therapy?

Hi! I was so scared when I started looking things up on this I-131. I was wondering why destroy it with radiation when there are chance you can have a thyroid storm or worse, why not just remove it? I do have a lot to think about! Thank you for always being there to answer my questions. So the TSH does indicate hyper? Hmmm I have been having palpatations lately, one night so bad that I thought I was having a heart attack. Being an EMT, I was reluctant to call for help, thought I would look the fool if it was nothing. Everything I did find on my own made it sound like it had to be cancer to have this therapy, so I am very grateful for your answer. I will check out the links you provided. I don't know what I would do with out this site! Thank-you again!!!!!!

 
Old 12-06-2001, 06:16 AM   #4
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Re: What is I-131 therapy?

Boy, I went and read up on the symptoms of Hyper, never had because I had been told I was hypo. I sure have a lot of symptoms! Why weight gain? UGH!! Why can't I lose weight instead, I would take that as long as I have to wait 6 months! lol!

 
Old 12-06-2001, 09:02 AM   #5
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Re: What is I-131 therapy?

Your blood test results should indicate the normal ranges, but if I guessed the units correctly, your low TSH would show you as slightly hyperT. (It's so confusing...as the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone lowers increasingly Hyper, the T3 and T4 rise).

Most non-cancerous goiters consist of extraneous thyroid tissue, so a hyper diagnosis tends to follow. And you can be hyper according to your blood levels yet still have a combination of hypo and hyper symptoms, adding to the fun of diagnosis. <IMG SRC="http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/round.gif">

The palpitations (and anxiety) are also part of the hyper scenario. Do make sure you let your doctor know about that. Occasional palps are okay, but anything severe or long-term should be avoided and can be corrected through medication. As for the weight gain or loss, it varies from person to person (some gain, some lose when hyper).

Keep reading, and don't let the docs talk you into anything if you're not comfortable or ready for it. You have time to evaluate all your options before making a decision. <IMG SRC="http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/wave.gif">

 
Old 12-06-2001, 12:14 PM   #6
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Re: What is I-131 therapy?

Hi Lynda,
I have read that some when hyper let themselves get low blood sugar, and then eat more than they need.
That may or may not be you.

It may be best to eat regularly and snacks, avoiding sugar and simple carbs like corn, peas, white bread or flour products, white rice, potaoes, etc. One source says to eat the protein first, then vegetables, then carbs...the idea is by then we are full and won't eat as much of carbs.

We let ourselves get too low blood sugar when hypo, too. It makes us crave carbs/sugar.<p>[This message has been edited by Tree Frog (edited 12-06-2001).]

 
Old 12-06-2001, 02:19 PM   #7
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Re: What is I-131 therapy?

I love the revolving smiley face, fits the situation! I will talk to my doctor about the palpataions, they bug me enough that I think I ought to do something. Good information you have provided! I hope I can hang on the 6 months. I will keep reading thanks again, so much!
Lynda

 
Old 12-06-2001, 02:26 PM   #8
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Re: What is I-131 therapy?

Tree Frog
I do think there is a connection between thryroid and low sugar. I think that when I was on thyroid medication that if I ate sugar I would get those symptoms almost every time! Right now, I don't have much of an appetite at all, which is fine with me, but drives my family nuts. I just this week read that you should eat protein first then starches or carbos, that this slows the absorbsion of the carbos into your system. This was some clear skin diet that I was reading up on.
I am also a little happy that my blood work actually showed something, sad to say, but at least I don't feel like I have a head problem verses a thyroid problem! I forgot to mention that he did find it interesting that I had taken Lithium at one point, but he did say that most enlargments from Lithium self correct with in months of stopping. Thanks again!
Lynda

 
Old 12-06-2001, 03:02 PM   #9
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Re: What is I-131 therapy?

ArtfulD,
Sorry I am a pest! What are your thoughts on the role nutrition plays and what other holistic treatments have you or anyone else here looked into. At this point since I have such a wait, I thought I would take the time to really look into alternative treatments. Can't hurt!
Lynda

 
Old 12-06-2001, 05:34 PM   #10
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Re: What is I-131 therapy?

Oh Lynda, you pest! Just kidding, it's completely fine to ask things as you think of them. We all do it, and it helps us because it triggers things we forgot about.

I'm going to copy your post as a new thread, since it will probably be something to which others will want to contribute.

 
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