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  1. #1
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    Default Thyroid Problems

    So I went to the gyno for some problems I've been having and for one of them she decided to run some blood work to check my thyroid levels. Well my rheum usually runs them a few times a year because she has suspected from symptoms that there was something wrong with it in the past but nothing ever turned up abnormal. The gyno office called yesterday and told me my TSH was elevated and to call my rheum to see if she wanted to do more tests and all that. Normal range is like 0.5-4 and mine was 6 something. I've asked around a few other places but knew I would get some of the best info here so I have something useful when my rheum calls me back on Monday.
    "A bad cold wouldn't be so annoying if it weren't for the advice of our friends."~ Kin Hubbard

    Diagnosed: SLE, Raynauds, Interstitial Lung Disease, GERD, Myositis, Vasculitis, Fibromyalgia, Possible Sjogrens.
    Medications: 400mg Plaquenil, 2000mg Cellcept, 60mg Nifedipine, Nitroglycerin Patch, 20mg Prilosec, Trazadone, 8mg Medrol, 81mg Asprin.

    My old profile on here http://forum.wehavelupus.com/member.php?22042-ritzbit

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    Hey Ritz--

    A TSH that is elevated like that likely means you are hypothyroid-- that is, your thyroid is not producing enough thyroid hormone. TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is produced by the pituitary gland to get the thyroid to make its hormones, T3 and T4. When thyroid hormones get too low, TSH goes up, so a high TSH generally indicates hypothyroidism.

    There are a few causes of hypothyroidism, but a common one, especially for people with AI disease, is Hashimoto's thyroiditis, which is autoimmune thyroid disease. To check for this, you rheumatologist should re-check your TSH, check your T3 and T4, and for anti-thyroid antibodies: Thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) and Thyroglobulin antibody (TgAb). If you have high levels of those antibodies, it means you have Hashimoto's.

    I have Hashimoto's. For me, it has not been a big deal. I've had it for six or seven years now, and all I do is take a Synthroid pill every morning, and I'm fine. I do have to get my TSH and T4 checked every six months or so, because Hashimoto's can make your levels go up and down, and your dose of Synthroid has to be adjusted accordingly. My dose has been tweaked up and down a ton of times.

    Once I started on Synthroid, my symptoms went away, and I'm doing fine on that front. Some people have a harder time than I did, but for most people, thyroid hormone replacement is all you need to deal with that.

    Let me know if you have any other questions about thyroid problems. It's one thing I'm pretty familiar with!

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    About the same here with me Ritz. My experience with Hashimoto's is very similar to Derrie's. The only differences being that I've had mine for over 10 years, and that I had to change doctors in order to find it. My old doctor used the TSH blood test only, and when you first start on Hashimoto's, as Derrie says, you'll go up and down with the TSH level. (My thyroid is almost "dead" now.) My doc at the time, never thought a 6 level was bad enough to warrant further investigation. "... it's just elevated a little bit, and that's fine..." I felt like a worn-out old man (still do, but I are one now). If he would have done the other blood tests, he would have found that my T3 & T4 levels were low. By the time I changed doctors, my levels were at dangerous levels. It took me about 3 years to find the correct levels, and we've had to increase my doses a few times over the years, in order to keep up with my failing thyroid gland. I take synthroid and cytomel each day WOF (With Out Fail), even when I had my adverse reaction to a drug, I still took my synthroid, and the first drug I'm taking since "recuperating", is the cytomel. It's important stuff. There are a few "natural" hormone replacements, such as Armour, that might be used instead of the synthetic stuff (hence the "syn" part of the "synthroid" name). The doc also tracks my vitamin D level, since it's very important for hormone absorbtion from the pills. It's no big deal to have it, but it is important to pay attention to symptoms (which are similar to your other symptoms), and to medicate properly with consistent doctor monitoring and consultation. The thyroid regulates just about everything in your body...
    "There but for the grace of God, go I."
    "... His mercy endureth for ever."

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    Derrie (08-12-2012)

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    I'd like to echo jmail that taking vitamin D and calcium is important when you're on thyroid hormone replacement like Synthroid! Synthroid can interfere with calcium absorption and bone density, and keeping up on your D and calcium minimizes that.

    If you don't get it regularly checked, I'd ask to have your Vitamin D level checked, too. When I first had mine checked, three years after I started Synthroid and after I randomly started seeing a new doctor because I'd moved, I was surprised to find my vitamin D level quite low! Now, I take vitamin D and calcium every day.

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    Ritz,
    I'm just catching up here. I'm glad that the gyno caught this. Perhaps now you can finally get some answers out of your rheumy.
    Hugs,
    Marla

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    Well I finally got a call back today from my rheums office and it was kind of stupid. "She says that from the results from your other doctor your TSH is mildly elevated. She wants you to ask if your primary is comfortable treating it or to have him recommend an endocrinologist." She didn't take any more blood work, check for thyroid antibodies or anything like I thought she would. She, yet again, pushed me off onto other doctors when I'm sure she could have prescribed something. Or why couldn't she have just recommended a doctor instead of making me call and bug my primary? That poor man is probably sick of me calling him about stuff that he says she definately could help me with, she just chooses not to.
    "A bad cold wouldn't be so annoying if it weren't for the advice of our friends."~ Kin Hubbard

    Diagnosed: SLE, Raynauds, Interstitial Lung Disease, GERD, Myositis, Vasculitis, Fibromyalgia, Possible Sjogrens.
    Medications: 400mg Plaquenil, 2000mg Cellcept, 60mg Nifedipine, Nitroglycerin Patch, 20mg Prilosec, Trazadone, 8mg Medrol, 81mg Asprin.

    My old profile on here http://forum.wehavelupus.com/member.php?22042-ritzbit

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    Ritz,

    I have Hashimoto's disease, and unlike Derry, mine is awful. I have bad joint pain, extreme exhaustion, tinnitus, peripheral neuropathy, eye inflammation, etc. and at it's worst, seizures. No one can say for sure the seizures are cause by Hashi's, but I couldn't work until it was diagnosed; I was having multiple seizures a week (I'm a teacher, so that was a problem). I have only had two seizures since I started taking Synthroid in February. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.

    My advice: find a doctor who treats Hashi's based on symptoms and not on bloodwork. With Hashi's, your TSH, T3 and T4 will fluctuate. At first, I went to an endo who didn't believe in treating the disease/symptoms until my TSH was off. There are two schools on the topic. I had to find one who would treat it regardless. The latest research supports early diagnosis and treatment. You need to also make sure you find a doc who knows the latest research on healthy levels. There are two schools of thought there. I believe the new thinking bottom range is .1 or .3 (can't remember right now). The bottom line -- normal is when you feel well, not when a number shows it. I know when I'm low because I freeze to death, can't stay awake no matter how much sleep, and I have neurological problems. When I'm high, I get jittery and have heart palpatations. I have a variety of dosages on hand, and my doctor adjusts accordingly. We check blood levels about every three months unless I have a seizure.

    You just have to call around, ask questions, and doctor shop. I made three calls, and I just asked the nurse point blank, "Does your doctor treat Hashimoto's despite TSH levels?" I found mine on the third call. I got lucky. Her husband suffers with Hashi's, so she stays current on the research. She's looking into low-dose naltrexone therapy now. She wants to do a lot more research, but she claims there is a lot of buzz about it for Hashi's. I'm hopeful.

    My rheumy won't treat my Hashimoto's even though it's an autoimmune disease. She will only provide a prescription for Lodine for joint pain and Neurontin for the peripheral neuropathy. Doctor's just aren't treating the disease like an autoimmune disease, YET! For some reason, they don't think of it as a life-altering disease. My rheumatologist told me that while it caused the same symptoms, the commonly prescribed autoimmune drugs like Plaq, etc. were just not worth the side effects and long term risks when weighed against the effects of the disease. Translated: "You're fine. Quite being such a wuss." And he had the nerve to tell me that Hashi's doesn't affect any of the major organs -- it's just a problem for joints. OMG! I know they all have their own specialties, but really. Long story short, I'm still not sure about a full diagnosis (if that's possible with autoimmune), but I do know I have Hashi's, and it has changed my life. My new normal is a constant state of medium level of discomfort and functionally exhausted. I won't discuss the other end of the spectrum for fear of the jinx.

    Good luck, and keep me posted. I'm in and out these days -- a new school and new as an assistant principal -- too busy!

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