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    Old 03-17-2004, 02:53 PM   #1
    Peeps
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    Question Received FT3 & FT4 results, please help with interpreting

    Hi,

    I just received the lab results in the mail for my Free T3 and Free T4 and would like to have your help interpreting them, please.

    A little background: I just started on Levoxl 25 mcg this morning. I have been indicating hypo for at least 8 years worth of TSH tests, but have always been told I was fine or borderline. I pursued getting further testing and evaluation after the Dec ’03 TSH was 6.27 and the doctor again labeled me borderline and instructed me via a letter to retest in 6 months. I replied with my own letter stating symptoms, other info, and requesting further testing and evaluating, to which my GP agreed.

    My labs drawn on 3-9-04 were:

    TSH = 6.21 indicated High on report

    Free T3 = 4.49 (range 2.39-6.79)

    Free T4= 0.44 (range 0.58-1.64) Indicated Low on report

    POSITIVE for antibodies (the nurse did not include the antibody report, so I called to request it again – all I know is that she said I tested positive when phoning me with the results. I don’t know if there are different ones that were done with numbers listed)

    Regarding the antibody test done, is it possible that a test was run that would ‘just’ indicate positive or negative? OR will there always be numbers stated and would there also be a panel of antibody tests run when an antibody test is requested? I requested that I be checked for thyroid antibodies and that is as much as I know in regard to the test done.

    Any input would be appreciated, especially on the FT3 and FT4, as I didn’t have those figures when I last posted for input. Would the FT3 be better if it were higher or is it fine? I would be interested in what the optimal number might be for FT3 and FT4.

    Thanks for any help you can offer!
    Sue

     
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    Old 03-17-2004, 05:40 PM   #2
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    Re: Received FT3 & FT4 results, please help with interpreting

    According to what I've learned, FT4 should be very near the top of the range, and FT3 slightly below that. A good way to judge where your levels stand is to find the middle of the range and see where your levels lie in relation to that. Add together the high and low numbers in the range and divide by 2. That's the "middle". Absolute minimum hormone levels would be midrange. Your FT3 is still below midrange, which for your lab would be 4.59. You have so little FT4 in your system, I don't know how you're still functioning, girlfriend!

    As for antibodies.... The tests usually done are TPO (thyroperoxidase) and Tg (thyroglobulin) antibodies. There are other thyroid antibodies, but they are hardly ever tested for. I think sometimes microsomal antibodies are indicative of thyroid disease, but this test is less specific than the TPO.
    The numbers actually don't matter too much. Just being above range is enough to indicate a problem. Some labs actually stop counting at a certain number because after a high enough number to prove the presence of disease is reached, counting further doesn't give any additional information. For example, the AB result on my own lab report reads ">70" and the normal range is "<2". Presumably, a higher count might suggest the gland will fail at a faster rate than it would if the count is lower, I guess.

     
    Old 03-18-2004, 09:30 AM   #3
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    Re: Received FT3 & FT4 results, please help with interpreting

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by midwest1
    According to what I've learned, FT4 should be very near the top of the range, and FT3 slightly below that. A good way to judge where your levels stand is to find the middle of the range and see where your levels lie in relation to that. Add together the high and low numbers in the range and divide by 2. That's the "middle". Absolute minimum hormone levels would be midrange. Your FT3 is still below midrange, which for your lab would be 4.59. You have so little FT4 in your system, I don't know how you're still functioning, girlfriend!

    As for antibodies.... The tests usually done are TPO (thyroperoxidase) and Tg (thyroglobulin) antibodies. There are other thyroid antibodies, but they are hardly ever tested for. I think sometimes microsomal antibodies are indicative of thyroid disease, but this test is less specific than the TPO.
    The numbers actually don't matter too much. Just being above range is enough to indicate a problem. Some labs actually stop counting at a certain number because after a high enough number to prove the presence of disease is reached, counting further doesn't give any additional information. For example, the AB result on my own lab report reads ">70" and the normal range is "<2". Presumably, a higher count might suggest the gland will fail at a faster rate than it would if the count is lower, I guess.
    Hi Midwest,

    Thanks again for your help!

    It is good to know that little formula and thank you for even doing the math for me!

    So I'm not looking so good in the FT4 department, eh. It is good to at least have a validation for the awful way I have felt for so long. I hope my doc now understands the reason for it - think he should with the results from tests that were run.

    Like I told Jingle, now I hope I don't fall on my face in the meantime, until the low dose is titrated to a helpful level. Sure not feeling so hot today. As you said, I don't know how I function either, some days I don't, other days it is like I am walking around with a lead coat on. I take a low dose of ultram, prescribed for fibromyalgia fatigue and pain and that would often help me at least shed the lead coat, but as I told my doc in my letter, it no longer is helping; I just keep getting worse and no better.

    I just got a call from the clinic while typing this, that no antibody test was done to send me results on - here we go again What I did discover though is that the nurse that called me today is his regular nurse now and she had been gone on vacation, so maybe that explains ALL the mix-ups I have been encountering. I told her today about the mix-up of ordering the antibody test, but that it was done I was told and I was told that the result was positive for anitbodies. She said it must have been done then and she will keep looking for it. Oh boy, maybe misfiled or lost now. Well, I hope things improve with the regular nurse back. I don't know this one either, as the nurse that had been with him for a long time was still there when I was last in to see the doc. I see her around the clinic when I am in for lab work still, but she must have moved to a different doc.

    Thank you for the explanation of the antibody tests too. I so appreciate your help with all of this!

    Have a good day and take care,
    Sue

     
    Old 03-18-2004, 10:09 AM   #4
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    Re: Received FT3 & FT4 results, please help with interpreting

    Lead coat!!! Yes! Those are the exact words I used at my last office visit to describe how I feel. The muscles are not sore to touch or slight pressure in the same way muscles sore from hard work or exercise are. They are heavy and weak-feeling when I intend to use them for something... Not because I have used them for something. Make sense?

    Has anyone here mentioned to you than some thyroid experts propound that fibro is not a disease of its own, but just another manifestation of thyroid disease? I can't remember at the moment which experts by name, but maybe someone will nudge my memory about it in case you want to research that.

     
    Old 03-19-2004, 09:43 AM   #5
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    Re: Received FT3 & FT4 results, please help with interpreting

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by midwest1
    Lead coat!!! Yes! Those are the exact words I used at my last office visit to describe how I feel.
    Hi Midwest,

    So you have the same wardrobe I do - 1 big heavy lead coat, eh! Funny! It really gets fun when you have to wear it year-round, doesn't it!

    I have what you describe too, except that I also do have the tenderpoints that go along with FMS, so touch also hurts.

    Yes, I have read that info about FMS and thyroid (Dr. Lowe) and in fact included it with my letter to my GP when asking him for more thyroid testing and evaluation. He flat out doesn't buy it. He flat out doesn't buy anything I have been reading about thyroid! I was very saddened to find that out. I have posted more on this above under my 'doctor shopping tips needed and update.'

    Hoping today is a GOOD one for you! I am struggling along......but trying to remain hopeful that one day things will improve! Just need to find the right doc that figures out what is best for me - did I say JUST

    I hope you get the lead coat off soon, especially before the heat and humidity hit - I am in the midwest too. Land of 10,000 lakes and we live in an area of more than 1,000 of them just in our area, so a bit of humidity at times. We did get central AC recently - so thankful for that! I drag so much when it is hot and humid and you can't escape it! What a blessing it is to have AC!

    Please take care ~
    Sue

     
    Old 03-19-2004, 11:18 AM   #6
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    Re: Received FT3 & FT4 results, please help with interpreting

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by midwest1
    Lead coat!!! I can't remember at the moment which experts by name, but maybe someone will nudge my memory about it in case you want to research that.

    Dr. Lowe!!

     
    Old 03-19-2004, 12:59 PM   #7
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    Re: Received FT3 & FT4 results, please help with interpreting

    Quote:
    Dr. Lowe!!
    Girlygirly to the rescue! Thanks for that, dear friend...

    And Peeps... glad to see you already found him on your own. Some additional good reading material are these, in case you aren't yet familiar with them ~
    The Thyroid Solution Dr. Ridha Arem
    Solved: The Riddle of Illness Dr. Stephen Langer
    and
    Living Well with Hypothyroidism Mary Shomon

     
    Old 03-19-2004, 01:32 PM   #8
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    Some Good News!

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by midwest1
    Girlygirly to the rescue! Thanks for that, dear friend...

    And Peeps... glad to see you already found him on your own. Some additional good reading material are these, in case you aren't yet familiar with them ~
    The Thyroid Solution Dr. Ridha Arem
    Solved: The Riddle of Illness Dr. Stephen Langer
    and
    Living Well with Hypothyroidism Mary Shomon

    Thanks Girls!

    I have read Mary Shomon's book (including the auto immune one by her as well). I have not read the others, so I will definitely check them out! Thank you for recommending them. I love all recommendations I can get!

    I am feeling very uplifted at the moment! Not physically, haha, but emotionally. I have been searching for a doc and found more encouraging info on the web about the one that had been recommended to me by my S-I-L (uses Armour/T3/T4, treats by symptoms, listens, open to suggestions, works with you, voted one of the Top Ten doc's in our state, etc). AND he is in our insurance network! I just spoke with his office. I told the girl taking my call some of my background and my most recent labs and the philosophy of my GP treating me and she immediately said that this doc does not treat by the lab numbers but by the symptoms. When I told her that my GP said one's symptoms could not be due to thyroid deficiency until their TSH was 50-200 she understood what I was facing, I think. I was looking at the 2nd week in June for the first open appt for a new patient and then after speaking to her and telling her my concern about the low dose I was started on and the rest of the info, she asked if I could do April 13th, as they just had a cancellation, so I grabbed it!

    NOW, I just need to get my GP to give me a referral to him - UGH. Wish me luck! Not quite sure how to approach that one?! I am going to think on it for a bit, as I have some time yet. I don't want to appear that I am 'running' from my GP, haha - but I am.

    I also managed to coordinate our trip to this doctor with my GYN appt. in the same area. It is a 3.5 hour trip. I had to bump the GYN up by a month, but his office thought that would be fine.

    Can you hear my BIG sigh of relief

    Thanks for your guidance and help along the way with all of this!

    Take Care,
    Sue

     
    Old 03-19-2004, 01:55 PM   #9
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    Re: Received FT3 & FT4 results, please help with interpreting

    That's wonderful news, Sue! Yes... I know that sense of relief... I've had it myself!
    Three-and-a-half hour drive, eh? I'm sure it'll be worth every minute.

    If you want to be gentle in asking for the referral, just explain that the two of you have different outlooks about hypothyroidism, and you really need a second opinion.

     
    Old 03-19-2004, 02:16 PM   #10
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    Re: Received FT3 & FT4 results, please help with interpreting

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by midwest1
    That's wonderful news, Sue! Yes... I know that sense of relief... I've had it myself!
    Three-and-a-half hour drive, eh? I'm sure it'll be worth every minute.

    If you want to be gentle in asking for the referral, just explain that the two of you have different outlooks about hypothyroidism, and you really need a second opinion.
    Good advice again, Midwest! Thanks! I definitely want to be 'gentle' in asking for the referral - I am going to write down what you said!

    We will make a 2 day trip out of the doctor appts, since it would just be too much for me in one day and then stay a night in a hotel. I will see the Gyn the first afternoon when we travel. I may then have some of that info to share with the endo regarding my ultra sound for my ovarian cysts and what my gyn suggests I do regarding hormones. I really could use and endocrinologist with the many issues I have with hormones and disease, so this way he can have a fresh update on the Gyn's appt too. I will see the endo the next morning and then we can head back home that day. I can't do more than 3.5 hours in the car with my bod. I just hurt way too bad with that much sitting/confinement. When you live in a rural area and have challenging health problems, it seems you just have to be open to traveling. I have had no choice with the endometriosis, so at least I can combine the appts in one trip

    Be Well!
    Sue

     
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