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  • Thyroid diagnosis elusive

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    Old 08-24-2017, 08:09 PM   #1
    CindyL
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    Thyroid diagnosis elusive

    I am new to posting on this board and am hoping to get ideas and thoughts on what might be going on. I am female and 64 years old with symptoms of what I think are hypothyroid. I recently went to my Dr. with these complaints and she ordered lab work. The thyroid tests that were abnormal were: the Thyroglobulin which was high, a TSH which was on the high normal side, and a T3 which was at the lowest normal level. I also had a high Ferritin level and positive ANA.
    My Dr. sent me to a Rheumatologist who ruled out any connective tissue disease.
    I've asked her again to send me to an Endocrinologist, but was turned down because no diagnosis.
    The other key to this is my sister was just diagnosed with hypothyroidism.
    I've been reading about others with lab results that were borderline upon diagnosis, but non-the less were diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Anyone out there have experience in my situation?

     
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    Old 08-25-2017, 08:44 AM   #2
    midwest1
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    Re: Thyroid diagnosis elusive

    You would be considered hypothyroid by a knowledgeable doctor.
    TSH higher than about 1-1.5 with very low levels of either free T4 or free T3 (or both) aren't "normal" for anyone and would cause symptoms for most. I'm unsure why your thyroglobulin level would even have been tested; it's not indicative of anything except to treated thyroid cancer survivors. That appears to be how little your doctor is aware of thyroid issues.

    If your thyroid antibodies had been tested, one or the other might have been found positive, thus explaining the positive ANA. Autoimmune thyroid disease is familial. Your sister wouldn't be a coincidence.

    These days, as more and more doctors are practicing the misinformation they're taught without researching any further for the rest of their careers, all of us are in danger of remaining undiagnosed or being maltreated even after diagnosis. It would be worth the effort - sometimes major effort - to see as many MDs as it takes to not be ignored.

    Wishing you luck with it.
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    Old 08-25-2017, 12:45 PM   #3
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    Re: Thyroid diagnosis elusive

    I didn't have any health issues at all but kept going for regular checkups. My doctor just decided on his own to have my TSH tested as part of overall blood work. The result came back with a high number. He then scheduled me for another test just to make sure that it wasn't a lab error.

    I asked him if it might have something to do with diet and he said no. Well, I decided to do my own research and found that you need to have enough iodine in your diet. Also, you need to be careful about eating certain foods that block the absorption of iodine. After making changes to my diet, my next TSH result was normal. If it hadn't been normal he was going to prescribe medication.

    The problem is that most doctors will never ask about your diet because they are medical doctors, not dietitians or nutritionists. The vast majority of them are only licensed to practice medicine.

    Last edited by JohnR41; 08-25-2017 at 12:49 PM.

     
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    Old 08-27-2017, 09:32 AM   #4
    CindyL
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    Re: Thyroid diagnosis elusive

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by midwest1 View Post
    You would be considered hypothyroid by a knowledgeable doctor.
    TSH higher than about 1-1.5 with very low levels of either free T4 or free T3 (or both) aren't "normal" for anyone and would cause symptoms for most. I'm unsure why your thyroglobulin level would even have been tested; it's not indicative of anything except to treated thyroid cancer survivors. That appears to be how little your doctor is aware of thyroid issues.

    If your thyroid antibodies had been tested, one or the other might have been found positive, thus explaining the positive ANA. Autoimmune thyroid disease is familial. Your sister wouldn't be a coincidence.

    These days, as more and more doctors are practicing the misinformation they're taught without researching any further for the rest of their careers, all of us are in danger of remaining undiagnosed or being maltreated even after diagnosis. It would be worth the effort - sometimes major effort - to see as many MDs as it takes to not be ignored.

    Wishing you luck with it.

     
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    Old 08-27-2017, 09:34 AM   #5
    CindyL
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    Re: Thyroid diagnosis elusive

    Thank you for the great information, I really appreciate and agree with your answer. Can you tell me what the Thyroid antibody tests are called?

     
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    Old 08-27-2017, 10:54 AM   #6
    midwest1
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    Re: Thyroid diagnosis elusive

    The tests are called anti-TPO (thyroperoxidase) and anti-TG (thyroglobulin). Positive results for either or both would indicate Hashimoto's thyroiditis, which is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in North America.
    But negative results don't rule out Hashi's, because of the false-negative error rate associated with the tests and the waxing/waning nature of the antibodies.

    Iodine insufficiency is uncommon and rarely the cause of hypothyroidism here. On the contrary, iodine overload is thought to be implicated as a trigger for autoimmune thyroid disease. It's not a good idea to supplement it without knowing for sure one is deficient.
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    Last edited by midwest1; 08-27-2017 at 10:55 AM.

     
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    Old 08-27-2017, 08:32 PM   #7
    CindyL
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    Re: Thyroid diagnosis elusive

    Thank you again. I'll check to either see if I already had or if she will order these labs. Is it important to check a T4 in your opinion?

     
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    Old 08-28-2017, 12:39 PM   #8
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    Re: Thyroid diagnosis elusive

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by midwest1 View Post

    Iodine insufficiency is uncommon and rarely the cause of hypothyroidism here. On the contrary, iodine overload is thought to be implicated as a trigger for autoimmune thyroid disease. It's not a good idea to supplement it without knowing for sure one is deficient.
    That's what my doctor was thinking too, that iodine insufficiency is uncommon. He mentioned that on a follow-up visit. And he was correct. The average person gets many times more iodine from their diet than their daily requirement. But doctors should not base their diagnosis on the assumption that everyone is eating the standard American diet.

    I happen to be a vegan so I don't eat many of the foods that are high in iodine, like seafood. And I don't use iodized salt like most other people. Also I was eating a lot of raw crucifierous vegetables known as goitrogens because they block the absorption of iodine.

    If I hadn't researched it I would have been put on medication.

    By the way, I don't supplement iodine; iodized salt is a supplement and I still don't use it. I have learned that there are some natural plant foods that are good sources of iodine and I now make it a point to include them in my diet

    Last edited by JohnR41; 08-28-2017 at 01:10 PM. Reason: Added information

     
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    Old 08-28-2017, 01:08 PM   #9
    CindyL
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    Re: Thyroid diagnosis elusive

    The issue of anything to do with Thyroid is complicated for me, possibly the most complicated health issue I've ever dealt with even after 30 years of being an RN, and most of that as an active Diabetes Educator. The thyroid is definitely a bird of a different feather, and being in this situation awakens me about how much physicians don't know about it. I've learned some important things on this board, and I'm thankful for it.

     
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    Old 09-18-2017, 05:52 PM   #10
    CindyL
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    Re: Thyroid diagnosis elusive

    Headed to a new Dr. tomorrow in hopes of getting some viable answers to all of my symptoms!

    This time an internal med Doc.

    Wish me luck!

     
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