My strugge: Hyperthyroidism as the source?
April 16, 2012 4:50 PM   Subscribe

I need some guidance/opinions on my situation with hyperthyroidism because I am losing faith in my doctors.

I will try to make this as clear as possible.


* 27 Male, no major health issues
* 165lbs (always thin)
* low blood pressure
* pulse resting is 85ish and otherwise averages during a normal day 95 to 100
* always have been very tense and unable to relax
* HRV (heart rate variability) tests through my iphone always show I am under extreme stress (just throwing this in since I feel its relevant)


* history of persistant general anxiety for a long time but meds have never really helped and neither has CBT.
* taken zoloft, celexa, and effexor(current) but never any real benefit in my opinion
* also diagnosed inattentive ADHD and on adderall - I always felt overwhelmed and got tired very quick before

Thyroid info

* Dad, grandmothers on both sides of family have thyroid problems

* Note: the lab results below are word for word from copies of actual lab work results

2009 - Lab work and first thyroid test (at my request because of my family history)

TSH - .20 (scale = .27 to 4.20)
T3 Free - 24.4 pg/dl (scale = 2.3 to 4.2) - I assume the scale is divided by zero but either way I am six times the high range
Thyroxine Free - 2.0 NG/DL (scale = 0.9 to 1.8)

- based on this test I was sent to endocrinologist and had a iodine uptake test. it was concluded I was in low normal tsh range and to observe

2011 - Lab work (thyroid hormones not tested for some reason)
TSH - .80 (scale = .34 to 4.70)

2012 - Lab work (again hormones not tested)
TSH - .02 (scale = .34 to 4.70)

So now I have an appointment to get another radioactive iodine uptake test scheduled.

What I hope is going on

In 2010, I posted a question here about a two month period of relief that I thought was from fish oil (because it started at the same time). Now I am starting to think that could have been (assuming my problems are caused by my thyroid) that my thyroid levels were fluctuating and "evened out" for that short period which caused me to feel really swell.

Cynical conclusion of post

I have spent a lot of time and so much mental energy into feeling better and figuring out why I am so anxious to zero results - just see my old post about fish oil and feeling good its almost pathetic how crazy it sounds.

My parents don't really buy into problems like this so while they definitely support me in anything it is really frustrating for them to deal with me because they can't understand it. My old therapist told me I needed to go on medication to get better (so I quit seeing him) but nothing has helped me at all. The psychiatrist is just basically making me go through SSRI's and I am starting to seriously doubt him.

Oh and my question is:

Could it realistically be a life-long thyroid problem causing all this? Is this a stretch based on my test results? Anyone with a similar experience or knowledge on this please share any opinion or feedback. No "i am not a doctor" disclaimers necessary either guys - I generally assume you aren't :) Thanks for any posts!
posted by iz0rz to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You definitely have some abnormal thyroid test results. I don't think that's a stretch. I think you need to see a doctor, including a gp and especially an endocrinologist, who run a thorough gamut of testing to determine really what is going on with your thyroid. I am not a doctor nor a specialist in thyroid disorders, but I do know that the TSH test is not the say-all-end-all of determining the thyroid function. Stop worrying about what your therapists and parents 'think' about your problems and pay attention to how you feel and what your blood tests say. Be persistent with your 'physical' doctors.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 5:46 PM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am not a doctor (I know, you said you realize that), but I have had both hyper and hypo over a course of roughly 10 years. One of the frustrating aspects is that the symptoms are similar to other problems. The thyroid is the thermostat/speed control for the body, and the pituitary is the control for the thyroid. A low TSH (which is the pituitary's communication mechanism to the thyroid) is like the pituitary trying to pull the reins back on the thyroid, but if the thyroid is out of control it isn't listening. I know, scientists are shaking their heads, but this is my understanding. I found this site helpful, but I imagine there's plenty of others.

Let's see, casting my mind back to my hyper-t days. Irregular heart beat, trouble getting to the men's room on time, anxiety, joint pain, irritability, too warm, mental confusion at times, etc. I was lucky enough to have a physical sign (noticed when I was shaving and swallowed that a lump was evident rising up one side of my throat...didn't take long for the doctor to agree on that one).

They said the treatment for my hyper-t might someday lead me to be hypo-t, and someday was about 7 years later. Constipation, lack of energy, cold all the time, oversleeping, and irregular heart beat. Of course that wasn't as easy to "prove", but with my past history they figured they'd try the synthetic hormone and it's worked great since.

Personally, I think the important thing is to get closure on whether it is the thyroid or not, because in both my situations once my problem was treated I felt much better. However, depending on the kind of thyroid problem the treatments are different, so even if you are correct there's still i's to dot and t's to cross.
posted by forthright at 6:14 PM on April 16, 2012

I agree with Tandem Affinity, get it checked out by an endocrinologist. Check out my thread here to see my experiences with my thyroid.

My conclusion to the story is that it turned out that I had Hashimoto's and since I've been put on medication, I have felt the best that I have in years.

Just keep digging into it and don't stop until you get things sorted out. Sometimes that's all it takes.
posted by CZMR at 6:17 PM on April 16, 2012

I would recommend you get a second opinion from an endocrinologist (or a different endocrinologist if you've already seen one). I had hyperthyroidism caused by Grave's disease, almost 15 years ago at this point, so I don't remember much about the different tests and levels, but I don't know why they're not doing your T3 every time, especially if it was that high? They should be doing both TSH and T3. By the time I was finally diagnosed my levels were "off the charts" they told me, and my resting pulse was something like 120/minute. My symptoms included being exhausted all the time, sweating profusely, dry skin, easily winded, and by the end I could barely walk up the three flights of stairs at school; my quads would burn like I had just done a hundred squats. I have also had lifelong (since early childhood) anxiety and depression. Treating the Grave's disease didn't really help much with that, to be honest, but I certainly felt better physically. Anyway sorry I can't be more helpful, it's been such a long time, but definitely get a second opinion. There is an established link between anxiety/depression and thyroid problems (although causality is another question of course).
posted by désoeuvrée at 7:39 PM on April 16, 2012

Sorry, I just noticed that you have in fact seen an endocrinologist, so my advice is to see another one. I think too many people trust their doctors implicitly, but a second opinion is important in situations like this. It's YOUR body and your health, so don't be afraid to take control of your medical treatment. Same goes for therapists!
posted by désoeuvrée at 7:48 PM on April 16, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all the responses guys! I really appreciate you taking time to respond. I am definitely going to an endo very soon and will persist until I feel better as I have to date but in the mean time I am just trying to get my hopes up this is the answer I have been looking for.

* Correction: I said the scale for my 2009 TSH lab results was divided by zero. Obviously thats wrong and what I meant to say was 100. Most of the scales I found while conducting my intarnetz research were 230 to 420 or so depending on the lab. So that would mean I have a 2400 to that scale? Either way its troubling for me because I don't know how else to interpret that result.
posted by iz0rz at 8:03 PM on April 16, 2012

OP didn't elaborate on their health insurance or access to doctors-- do you have health insurance? do you have a gatekeeper [HMO] with managed care? do you live near a metropolitan area that has more than 2 or 4 endocrinologists?

When I look at your pulse rate, it seems LOW for hyperthyroid. When you say that previous generations have "thyroid problems," were they hyperthyroid [too much] or hypothyroid [not enough]?
posted by ohshenandoah at 4:08 PM on April 17, 2012

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