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    Old 10-29-2010, 10:34 AM   #1
    meowpower
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    Question hypo test results advice?

    Hi All,

    I'm hoping somebody can help me with my recent thyroid test results. I have symptoms of being hypothyroid, but my tests are in the "normal" range according to my HMO. I'm a 35 year old female.

    Here are my tests results, all done this month (Oct. 2010) :

    Component--TSH
    Your result--1.67
    Standard range--0.35 - 4.00
    Units--uIU/mL

    Component--T4 FREE
    Your result--0.95
    Standard range--0.81 - 1.54
    Units--ng/dL

    Component--T3
    Your result--101
    Standard range--58 - 159
    Units--ng/dL

    (Even though I asked my doctor for a "Free T3" test, and was assured by the people at the lab that it was indeed a Free T3 test, I think I got a Total T3 test.)

    And I also got a TSH in April of '09, if that adds anything:


    Component--TSH
    Your result--1.76
    Standard range--0.4 - 4.00
    Units--uIU/mL

    Collected:
    4/22/2009 11:20 AM


    And here are my symptoms, which I've had for most of my adult life, and probably getting worse:

    -low energy
    -mild depression
    -"brain fog"
    -poor memory
    -weight gain (about 20 pounds in the last 4 years)
    -poor/slow digestion (gas)
    -i have dry skin, which is prone to infection
    -i have regular yeast and bladder infections
    -my eyes have been dry and sensitive to light my whole life
    -i've always been on the cold side. my hands and nose will be icy even if i'm warm enough in my core. but sometimes i heat up way too quickly when it's hot out. i've often said that i feel like my "thermostat is broken"


    So that's me! Can anyone tell me if they think my thyroid seems low enough that hypothyroid could be an issue?

    Also, has anyone here listened to the Podcast Your Own Health and Fitness, with Layna Berman? She has a lot of knowledge and advice about thyroid and correct testing and natural-oriented and clinically tested treatment options. I wondered if people here agreed with her.

    Thanks for reading, and thank you all for a very informative and supportive environment here!

     
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    Old 10-31-2010, 09:51 AM   #2
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    Re: hypo test results advice?

    Well, your free T4 is less than 20% of the lab range. An average for a healthy person would be 50-75%. You did indeed get a total T3 test, which also could be called low. Your MD is probably telling you all this is fine, because your TSH looks so "normal". But if you have Hashimoto's disease, the most common cause of hypoT, TSH can appear normal for years after you've become hypothyroid. Insist on the antibody tests for Hashi's - both TPO and Tg antibodies tests. Even if they return negative, however, know that these tests do have a false-negative rate of about 20%.

    I don't know the expert you mentioned, but I know for a fact that others who have the same opinions are correct in their outlook. Thyroid diagnosis is not a true science, it's an art, and not all MDs are such 'artists'. If you are convinced through thorough reading on the subject that you have a thyroid issue, don't stop until you find an MD who agrees to treat it. I had to see 3 doctors total before I got diagnosed and optimally treated. It's been well worth the search.

     
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    Old 10-31-2010, 08:08 PM   #3
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    Exclamation Re: hypo test results advice?

    iodine deficiency causes these, and it does through the low thyroid reaction to the iodine deficiency. I had many similiar symptoms until I heavily got on massive doses of iodine, now I am doing much better. You may want to also pull up the endrcinonology websites as they show more detailed low thyroid numbers as in what is called subclinical low thyroidism that may get you onto a low does though you Dr., I had to literally print the current numbers page and bring it to my Dr. so she listened and started me on Levothyroid. The inattention and sensitivty symptoms are sounding as well like my magnesium defiency and now I'm on massive doses of that as well.

     
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    Old 11-01-2010, 11:10 PM   #4
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    Re: hypo test results advice?

    Thanks, Midwest! I just asked my doc for the 2 Hashi's tests... I'll post the results and updates. I've been reading your posts here, along with other knowledgeable members, and have learned so much. Thank you so much for helping to guide the newbies like me along this terrain I'm so excited to finally have a possible answer to my symptoms...

     
    Old 11-01-2010, 11:15 PM   #5
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    Re: hypo test results advice?

    Thanks, LL37, I'll look into iodine and proper mineral supplementation... and I'll check out the endocrinology charts. Good to know.

     
    Old 11-06-2010, 01:06 PM   #6
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    Question Re: hypo test results advice?

    Well, I got my Hashimoto's antibodies test results. The doc would only give me the TPO, not the Tg.


    Component - TPO AB
    Your result - <3.0
    Standard range - <5.6
    Units - IU/mL

    Collected:
    11/5/2010 5:39 PM

    Date of results:
    11/6/2010 12:31 PM


    Again, I'm in the "normal" range... but can someone help me interpret if I'm truly antibody-free, or if i could have a low state of the disease?

    I'm now looking for a doctor that will help me with my thyroid levels and who will prescribe Armour Thyroid, as my current doc will do neither, and apparently no doc in my HMO will... so I'll need to pay out of pocket, or look into switching health plans... If anyone recommends a plan, or a good doctor for this in the greater Los Angeles area, please let me know.

    Thanks! Good health to you!

    MP

     
    Old 11-06-2010, 02:36 PM   #7
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    Re: hypo test results advice?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by meowpower View Post
    Well, I got my Hashimoto's antibodies test results. The doc would only give me the TPO, not the Tg.


    Component - TPO AB
    Your result - <3.0
    Standard range - <5.6
    Units - IU/mL

    Collected:
    11/5/2010 5:39 PM

    Date of results:
    11/6/2010 12:31 PM


    Again, I'm in the "normal" range... but can someone help me interpret if I'm truly antibody-free, or if i could have a low state of the disease?

    I'm now looking for a doctor that will help me with my thyroid levels and who will prescribe Armour Thyroid, as my current doc will do neither, and apparently no doc in my HMO will... so I'll need to pay out of pocket, or look into switching health plans... If anyone recommends a plan, or a good doctor for this in the greater Los Angeles area, please let me know.

    Thanks! Good health to you!

    MP


    I'd seriously look for a naturopath. Some plans now cover them.

     
    Old 11-06-2010, 02:57 PM   #8
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    Re: hypo test results advice?

    Since you seem negative for antibodies, I wonder about secondary or even tertiary hypothyroidism.

     
    Old 11-06-2010, 09:26 PM   #9
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    Re: hypo test results advice?

    I have seen several people on this board who tested negative for TPO antibodies but strongly positive for Tg ABs. You need both tests. Your MD is pinching pennies for the insurance company at your health's expense.

    Even so, up to 20% of the time, the antibody tests can be false-negative. That's a pretty high error rate, so a negative test in no way means that you don't have Hashimoto's disease.

    Armour Thyroid has a physician finder. Not that I'm saying Armour is the best brand of natural thyroid out there anymore... But at least if you found an Armour prescriber, you could have more confidence that the MD is a more "out of the box" sort of thinker on the subject.

    Good luck.

     
    Old 11-06-2010, 11:48 PM   #10
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    Re: hypo test results advice?

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by midwest1 View Post

    Armour Thyroid has a physician finder. Not that I'm saying Armour is the best brand of natural thyroid out there anymore... But at least if you found an Armour prescriber, you could have more confidence that the MD is a more "out of the box" sort of thinker on the subject.

    Good luck.

    What is the best natural brand out there right now, in your opinion? Which one seems to work out the best for most people that you've seen?

     
    Old 11-07-2010, 08:56 AM   #11
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    Re: hypo test results advice?

    I think any brand works well for some people, while the same brand won't work at all for others. I have seen a few folks who are still having success with Armour after its reformulation; but by and large, it no longer works for most of those who were using it successfully for years. Me included.

    Then the same thing happened with Naturethroid. After Armour stopped working for me, I used NT to replace it ... until they changed the NT formula, too. I haven't seen as many complaints about new NT as I did new Armour. I'm sure it's still working for some, but it no longer does for me. During all the supply shortage problems with the various brands, I switched to a locally compounded T4/T3 formula. It worked well for me, but it's twice as expensive as a factory-made product. That said, an inept compounding pharmacist might produce a product with variations in potency which would be a disaster. Accuracy is everything in compounds.

    Since August, I've been taking Erfa brand from Canada. It works as well as old Armour did for me. Many former Armour users are using it with complete satisfaction, too. Again... What works for me may not work for you. So in that sense, there is no "best" product. Only the one that's best for you.

     
    Old 11-18-2010, 10:50 AM   #12
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    Re: hypo test results advice?

    Gosh, i'm just seeing this last reply now! i guess the notification for it went to my spam filter.

    Thank you again, Midwest, for the info on thyroid meds. I figured I might as well start with the brand that seems to have the highest rate of success, and if it doesn't work as well as i'd hoped, then try some others. But it was far easier to get Armour, and i was anxious to start on something...

    So my update is that I've been taking Armour, 30mg (split into 2 doses) per day, for about a week, and I have another question I read the book Thyroid Solution, and read a lot of info here and elsewhere about how it takes between 2 and 6 weeks (different sources say different things) for you to feel any effect from taking thyroid meds. But then i also read about how T3 is absorbed and leaves your system within a few hours, and that it's best to split up your dose of meds containing T3 into two doses, so that you don't get spikes and slumps in energy or the jitters, right? So, then T3 you can feel within hours? But T4 takes several weeks?

    I know that Armour contains T3 (as well as other minor T's), and I think i'm feeling some gastrointestinal changes already, like things are speeding up a little bit.

    Another question I have is what are the likely symptoms if I will need to add some T4 to my Armour? Do many people need to do that? if i start to feel jittery, but yet don't have relief from some other symptoms of hypo, then should i try some T4, and pull back the Armour slightly?

    Also, a note about the Thyroid Solution book. It was interesting and informative, but I was surprised that it was so highly recommended on this site, because the author, Dr. Arem, seems to have very different opinions on some things from many very experienced members here. He strongly advocates using the TSH test over the T4 and T3 tests, as the most accurate and sensitive, even while titrating! He also seems to be very proud of himself for devising a system of "lingering symptom" management for patients who have reached their "normal" levels of thyroid, but are still having symptoms. Instead of talking about fine-tuning patient's thyroid levels until they are as symptom-free as possible, he advocates doctors to be more sympathetic, and offer psychiatry resources, and supplemental antidepressants. Now, I'm sure antidepressants are appropriate for some hypo patients... but for him to not even talk about how each person's thyroid numbers at which they most thrive are going to be slightly different... i was just surprised that he was such a recommended source on this site.

    Lookin' forward to my full meow power,
    MP

     
    Old 11-19-2010, 08:53 AM   #13
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    Re: hypo test results advice?

    It's a common misconception that all of the T3 in one day's dose gets used up within hours. Some of that T3 gets bound up in protein and is stored for later use when the body calls for extra. I take all of my Erfa in one dose in the a.m. before eating; it works perfectly fine for me. Have no up and down spikes at all. But for those who do have spikes and slumps, twice a day dosing might work a lot better; but you shouldn't assume it has to be done that way.

    It's also a mistake to make too much of any one author's opinions regarding treatment. Each patient's needs are too individual to say that any one doctor's ideas of optimal treatment are correct. I won't name names, but there is a member here who has seen Dr. Arem as a patient. His idea of watching only TSH while prescribing Armour failed her miserably, as it would most people. If I remember right, he accepts no insurance and demands that you use his private lab for testing which insurers won't reimburse. The only credit I give him is for his wisdom in attributing importance to T3 in the role of mental health. Otherwise, IMO, he's a thyroid self-serving whacko. (It's true that I used to recommend his book here, but that's before I met someone who had actually been maltreated by him.)

    As for adding T4 to the Armour -- There are no hard and fast 'rules' about it. For some reason, natural thyroid treatment doesn't allow for a large store of T4 to be built. The body runs more on the readily available supply of T3, so T4 becomes less "important" to the hypothalamus response. I can only tell you that, in general, people who take levothyroxine feel best when their FT4 is roughly proportional to their FT3. That said, while taking natural thyroid, my FT4 has always been below median lab range; but my FT3 has always been between 55-65% of its range. I'm fine like this. But if someone else still doesn't feel well with that kind of a T4:T3 ratio, adding a little levoT to their natural thyroid may help to boost FT4 and eliminate more symptoms. Which symptoms you ask? Can't say for sure. It's too individual. Just watch your FT levels and their relationship to symptoms.

    [Why stop at "meow" power? Go for a full roar! LOL )

     
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