I've suspected a malfunctioning thyroid, so ordered my own thyroid profile test via LapCorp. However, unknown to me, they didn't measure the normal profile of hormone levels. Instead, I was given T4, T3 Uptake %, Free Thyroxine Index, and TSH. The results are as followed:
Thyroxine (T4) in ug/dL: 5.3 (reference interval of 4.5-12.0
T3 Uptake in %: 37 (reference of 24-39)
Free Thyroxine Index: 2.0 (reference interval of 1.2-4.9)
TSH in uUI/dL: 1.810 (referance interval of 0.45-4.50
I've looked over some other messages, but having a tough time deciphering the results. Any help would be greatly appreciated, as it looks like my results (besides TSH) are all borderline acceptable). Thank you in advance.
Sorry for the reason you're here but, glad you found us.
You got a standard thyroid profile which, unfortunately, doesn't consist of the best tests.
The lab you used offers the best tests to evaluate thyroid function (FreeT4 and FreeT3) but, they need to be ordered individually.
Unfortunately, the T3 uptake and Free thyroxine index tests are outdated calculations and not even true measurements of hormone levels.
The T4 test measures T4 that is bound to proteins and not usable by the body. Your very low level indicates that your FreeT4 level would probably be inadequate. (the FreeT4 test measures unbound hormone that is fully usable by the body).
Since healthy people have TSH 1.0-1.5, your higher level indicates that you might be dealing with an underactive thyroid.
Unfortunately, unless you find a thyroid-savvy doctor, your situation might not get the attention it deserves since your levels fall within the normal range.
If you didn't do this already, you might want to get another set of tests done as early as possible in the morning...on an empty stomach. These are the most accurate.
And, instead of the thyroid profile, I suggest the following tests:
That is just the type of information I needed, thank you! I will order those tests, go in the morning on an empty stomach (they did not specify that I should not eat), and I'll post the results here (the following day). Thank you Sammy!
Of course, your post with the results is on a different page than your post with the ranges lol
I will incorporate them here:
Triiodothyronine,Free,Serum: 3.0 range 2.0 − 4.4
T4,Free(Direct): 1.06 range 0.82 − 1.77
TSH 2.43 ( we don't need to know the ranges -you'll understand soon enough )
I'm very happy you got your labs done in the morning (TSH is highest in the morning)....I suggest you do this anytime you get labs done. As you can see, your TSH is higher than it was for your earlier test.
A thyroid-savvy doctor knows that TSH > 2.0 is suspect for hypothyroidism.
That same doctor knows that healthy people have FreeT4/T3 levels around 60-80% of range.
Based upon your lab's ranges, this means FreeT4 at least 1.4 and probably closer to 1.6 (or higher) and FreeT3 3.4-3.8.
You can see that both your FreeT4 and FreeT3 levels are below mid-range.
You have hypothyroidism and would benefit from thyroid hormone replacement.
Unfortunately, many doctors will look at your "normal" (aka in-range) levels and declare you normal.
You might want to read "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Hypothyroidism" that addresses people in your type of situation.
There are doctors out there who will recognize your hypothyroidism.
Before you meet with a doctor, I suggest that you compile a list of any symptoms you are dealing with. There are countless lists of hypothyroidism symptoms online - you may have more than you realize. Sharing a copy of the symptoms list with a new doctor can help with diagnosis.
These are the suggestions I have to offer re finding a thyroid-savvy doctor:
2. check the Top Thyroid Doctors site for a listing in your area
3. ask local pharmacists (not the counter help) for names of doctors that prescribe either Armour or Cytomel. Doctors that Rx either of these tend to be more thyroid-savvy
4. contact the Broda Barnes Foundation and pay ~$18 to get an information packet that includes a list of doctors in your state who follow Dr. Barnes' ideology (Dr. Barnes was the author of "Hypothyroidism - An Unsuspected Illness" and was lightyears ahead of his time)
5. find a doctor that prescribes bioidentical hormones either by checking websites or contacting compounding pharmacies (they are likely to have names of doctors that prescribe Armour which usually means they're more thyroid-savvy)
Idea #1 worked for me....the other ideas have worked for others. I hope one works for you.
Wow what great information! I couldn't have asked for more. Ironically, most of the symptoms I have are of hypERthyroidism. In fact, I suffer from all the major symptoms at a high level (not chronic, but they effect my life thoroughly). I am going in for a TPO test today (3 blood tests in one week, geezzz), so that might add some insight as well. If that comes back negative, I will follow your advice in finding a doctor, otherwise will post back here. Thank you Sammy, your selfless help is rare and very much appreciated!
Happy to help. I'm here to pay forward all the great help I received when I started my thyroid disease journey.
Please know that many hypo/hyper symptoms overlap. If you'd like to share the symptoms you're dealing with, I can help you try to sort them out.
It would also be good for you to let me know if the possibly hyper symptoms occur all the time or if you have certain periods of time (either certain times of the day, for a few weeks, or for a few months) that you just have the symptoms.
Since you do mention hyper symptoms, it would be a good idea to not only get the TPOab test but, a TSI (thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin) test done. People who are basically hypo but have measurable TSI have a certain type of thyroid disease that causes hypo symptoms along with periods of hyper symptoms.
You'll also want to get a TGab (thyroglobulin antibody) test. Some people with Hashi's will test negative for TPOab's but positive for TGab's. Please know that not everyone will test positive for either antibody.
Since hypothyroidism is treated the same, regardless of the cause, you shouldn't need further testing to get treatment. However, some doctors will only treat if you test positive for antibodies.
The TSI result will be very telling....if you continue to use the same lab you did from the beginning, you should get an actual value for TSI. They'll list >139 (if I remember correctly) as positive but, healthy people have TSI <2 so, knowing the actual value of the result is important.
Dang I already went in for the TPO. I can probably get the TSI done next week. I noticed that some symptoms do overlap, but here are the symptoms I suffer from and their frequency:
Fatigue: Everyday for the past 10 years. I take naps almost every single day, and any sleep less than ~8 hours leaves me in a zombie state. Even with proper sleep, I am STILL tired at various points in the day; sometimes to the point where I can't function. This makes my job as an engineer very difficult. I notice that getting up/moving around helps alleviate the fatigue.
Frequent Bowel Movements: I'd estimate a couple days per week, usually in a row. Sometimes over 10 in a day!
Heat Intolerance & Heavy Sweating: I always assumed this was hyperhydrosis, but now I'm thinking otherwise. Slightest exertion causes this. Trapped body heat in 70+ degree environment results in profuse facial/cranial sweating. I can sweat in freezing temperatures, no joke. Been dealing with this since I was in my teens, but my parents say I've been a "sweater" since I was a baby, so it may be unrelated.
Irritability & Nervousness & Difficulty Concentrating: Since I was a teenager, constantly. I was diagnosed by a psychologist with a blend of OCD/Anxiety/ADD at 24 years old, and am treated with an SSNRI (technically an anti-depressant) & Adderall (ADD medication for concentration), however now I'm thinking these may be due to a thyroid issue since I suffer so many other symptoms.
Tremor: Constant, since my early twenties I believe (I'm 30 next month). If I hold my arm in front of me, there is a blatantly visual abnormal tremor.
Weight loss & no appetite: If I am not exercising constantly (I currently work out twice per day), I have no appetite. I struggle to put weight on, and if I am not exercising as mentioned before, I lose body mass very quickly.
Vision Changes: I have excellent vision (20/15 or better), however over the last two years I have developed many issues regarding dark spots in my vision (sort of like floaters, but more like noise). An opthamologist examined my eyes twice, said there is no issue (thanks buddy).
Thinning of hair and hair loss: This is most likely due to male pattern baldness, but I started losing my hair at 19, and my hair is incredibly fine/thin.
Always Thirsty: I read this as a possible sign. I drink over a gallon of water a day because I'm constantly thirsty, yet still have dry skin & chap lips, no matter how well I care for it/them.
I wouldn't say I suffer from other symptoms on any kind of regular basis. When I first stumbled across hyperthyroidism, I was blown away at the number of listed symptoms I suffer from. But I could be wrong, perhaps there is no correlation. But I'm determined to prove that there is NOT a thyroid problem before giving up. I'm treated for the sweating and OCD/Anxiety/ADD with medication, although I hate having to take them (I come from an 'all natural' point of view, but without them my quality of life is SEVERELY diminished). If this IS a thyroid issue, and I'm able to treat it, I would love to stop my other medications.
I'm sorry I didn't suggest antibody testing sooner.
It seemed you were paying out-of-pocket for these tests and I know they're expensive.
Throw in the fact that the first set of labs you posted were so very hypo, I didn't expect to hear about hyper symptoms.
My 20/20 hindsight tells me I should have asked about symptoms. Whatchagonna do with this cheap help?
Anyhoooo, I can understand how you thought your symptoms were hyper and some of them do sound more hyper but, others can be either hyper or hypo while others are usually hypo.
For whatever it's worth, the fatigue you describe sounds more hypo and the digestion issues could be hyper but can also happen when hypo.
The heat intolerance is more often hyper but also happens when hypo.
Irritability is more hyper but, anxiety can be either hyper or hypo. Inability to stay focused sounds more hyper but, inability to concentrate ("brain fog") is more hypo.
Tremor is usually hyper (could your ADHD meds be suspect on that?)
No appetite is definitely hypo so, it follows that weight loss could accompany it. The ability to work out twice/day is confusing in light of your fatigue issues....
Vision issues as you describe are more often hypo......hair loss can be either hyper/hypo (or male pattern as you mention)
Being thirsty and having dry skin/chapped lips is definitely hypo.
I think you might want to consider finding an alternative MD. I suggest this type of MD only because your symptoms could also be due to adrenal issues which have to be treated before or during treatment for hypothyroidism.
Alternative MD's seem to be better-versed with adrenal issues and a competent one will order a 24-hr saliva test for you (best test for adrenal function).
Deficiencies in Vitamin D, iron/ferritin, B12 and selenium can also contribute.
And, due to the thirst issue, I hope you've had your glucose level, etc. checked - just to rule out diabetes.
I'll try to address your questions, probably out of order
The tremor is actually taken AWAY by my ADHD med, but that makes sense as they are supposed to calm the nervous system.
The fatigue is mental, not physical. It's almost like my brain is shutting everything off, I wouldn't call it 'physical weakness'.
I've had a lapse in health insurance the last 3 months, so I am indeed paying for these tests out of pocket. My insurance just kicked in 2 days ago, so I am seeing my doc on Monday. He is a very good doctor, but he is definitely the skeptical type (which is why I am getting the tests done myself so I can bring him the results, don't want him brushing off my symptoms). If he doesn't pay attention to the symptoms or test results, I will request a referral to another doctor that specializes in thyroid issues (or just find one myself). I've been checked for iron deficiency, which came back negative. We even had a very expensive sleep study done (before my psychologist's diagnosis) since my fatigue issues were so bad (the SSNRI medication actually helped take the fatigue away a decent amount, so I assumed that it was a mental issue).
I have a great diet and supplement with great daily vitamins, so I'd assume that I don't have any deficiencies along those lines. I've never been checked for diabetes, but I'd guess I'd be dead already if I had it all along and never got treated These are things I can bring up with my MD, and probably get tested all at once for anything that could be suspect (and have insurance pay for it!). So at this point, it sounds like I should get the TSI test, a diabetes test, and a adrenal test?