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  • How do I get someone to diagnose me???

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    Old 12-19-2010, 02:39 PM   #1
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    Unhappy How do I get someone to diagnose me???

    I need some feedback/advice.

    I am a 29 year old female, I am slightly overweight but have been very active for the past few years (running races and triathlons), until the past few weeks since the fatigue has taken over.

    In the past several months I have been noticing several symptoms. It started with:

    - irregular periods (this has been ongoing, I have never been regular)
    - dry eyes (dry to the point that eye drops barely help)
    - dry skin (VERY dry face and dandruff)
    - thinning hair
    - digestive issues, mostly constipation and stomach pain
    - itchy skin (itchy all over with no apparent rash)
    - flushed feeling after eating
    - heart palpitations

    I went to my PCP two months ago and he referred me to an allergist, a dermatologist, and a gastroenterologist.

    In addition to the symptoms above, in the past several weeks I've developed:

    - increased fatigue (I have not been this run down since I had mono at age 17)
    - diffuse upper back pain
    - depression
    - joint pain, particularly in my fingers
    - pale face with red cheeks and circles under my eyes
    - painless yet uncomfortable muscle cramps in my calves

    Three weeks ago I finally had the first of my appointments, with the allergist, and he did the following labs: CBC, CMP, UA, ANA, RF, TSH and thyroid antibodies. No remarkable findings in the CBC, CMP or UA. My ANA was negative. However:

    TSH = 3.2 uIU/ml (it was 2.2 in Feb 2010 and closer to 1.5 a few years ago)
    RF = 22 IU/ml (reference range 0-19)
    Thyroid Glob Ab = 26 U/ml (0-60)
    TPO Ab - 52 U/ml (0-60)

    In my follow-up he diagnosed me with dermatographism to explain the itchy skin, declared me "normal" otherwise, told me to take Zyrtec for the itching and sent me on my way (side note: I have not been taking the Zyrtec because it makes me sleepy).

    So then this past week I had my dermatology appointment and by this point I was already feeling severe fatigue. He addressed my dry skin/dandruff by prescribing a medicated shampoo, and figured my hair thinning might be caused by low iron. Again, he declared my TSH "normal" but also ordered Free T4 at my request (I asked for Free T3 as well but he said it wasn't necessary). Results of those tests were:

    Free T4: 1.1 ng/dl (0.7 - 1.4)
    Ferritin: 24 ng/dl (10-300)
    Iron: 90 ug/dl (35-150)
    Direct TIBC: 405 mcg/dl (250-450)
    % Saturation (Fe, DIBC): 22% (20-55%)

    After these results came back the dermatologist called and said that my ferritin was low enough to be causing hair loss and prescribed ferrous sulfate to get these levels back up.

    I have yet to visit the GI doc to address the digestive issues, but my appointment is tomorrow. Mainly I've been experiencing constipation, heartburn, and lower abdominal distension and pain (kind of feels like I'm being stabbed near my bellybutton).

    So to you in the HealthBoards community, I ask you, do you think that my ferritin level of 24 could be causing all of the above symptoms? And why on earth would my ferritin level be so low in the first place when I eat plenty of iron? Given my TSH trending upward, the symptoms I have, and family history (I have an identical twin who is hypo) I am somewhat convinced that I am hypo and that is what is causing all of this. But I feel like I am getting the run around from the docs, no one really cares about my symptoms, only my lab results, and am disappointed that I will have to go back to my PCP for a referral and wait several weeks for an appointment with an endocrinologist, who may or may not decide to treat me based on my symptoms.

    What would you all do if you were me? Unfortunately I currently have an HMO (though will DEFINITELY switch to a PPO in April) so I can't choose who I go to if I want to be covered by insurance, so I've been thinking of going to a naturopathic doctor in the mean time and paying cash. Has anyone ever gone this route? Is it REALLY expensive? Any other ideas? I need help. I am feeling like a shell of my former self.

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    Old 12-19-2010, 03:38 PM   #2
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    Re: How do I get someone to diagnose me???

    Hi well according to nih there is a possibility that H. pylori can cause low ferritin levels. However on other sites there were other causes listed such as bleeding or medicines that caused it or heavy menses or tumors with bleeding etc. Naturopaths can be expensive and some are better than others depending on who is picked just like the allopathic doctors. I would not bother with acupuncture nor chinese herbs.

    Old 12-19-2010, 04:00 PM   #3
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    Re: How do I get someone to diagnose me???

    I know I would be having hypo symptoms with your TSH and free T4 levels.

    I would see and endo. I know my endo uses the new TSH range with 3 being the uppermost, so he would treat a level like yours, especially with your family history and symptoms.

    I know low ferritin can cause hair loss and other symptoms, but based on your thyroid results, I don't think all of your symptoms are low ferritin. I don't know much about ferritin but I do know that a lot of hypos have low ferritin.

    Good luck

    Old 12-20-2010, 03:40 AM   #4
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    Re: How do I get someone to diagnose me???

    You should see an endo. I have been experiencing hyper symptoms for a few years now and my test results were always within the normal range (apart from TSH which was always low). My symtoms got so much worse over the last few months that I attended the Dr again and asked to be retested. Suddenly the levels are sky high and the Dr. doesn't think it's in my head anymore! Trust your own body not the Dr.'s advice.

    Another thing I have learned, always go back and pester the Dr. They only treat you serious if you keep on their backs! Thyroid problems are debilitating and can be very serious if untreated.

    Old 12-20-2010, 03:42 AM   #5
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    Re: How do I get someone to diagnose me???

    Further, I am also a twin and have recommended my sister go and have the tests as well. It is reported that a twin has a greater than 20% chance of having an autoimmune disease.

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    ferritin, free t4, hypothyroid, naturopathic, tsh

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