Dealing with high thyroid
July 16, 2014 4:24 PM   Subscribe

My doctors (GP and endocrinologist) are currently investigating my thyroid. Historically it's been low then levelling to normal but last blood test was high, and with a follow up 2 week later was high again. I'm booked in for a nuclear scan on Monday. But how do I deal with the symptoms?

I've got the racing heart (periodically, and with exertion), anxiety, I can hear my heart pounding in my ears fairly frequently, and I've just started getting a tremor. I've been advised to hold off on any exercise other than walking (MY GAINS!) but until the scan we can't tell if it's a Hashimoto's thyroid having one last flail, a nodule, or Graves, or something else which means we're holding off on treatment until we work that out as well. Part of this is the fact my blood pressure and resting heart rate are normal (albeit high compared to my standard) so most treatments are a little pre-emptive. Particularly with my co-existing anxiety disorder making 'racing heart' and 'anxiety' something I'd written off until the blood test.

BUT, I have a wedding tomorrow, for most of the day (as a family guest). And I get really anxious in social situations anyway. I'm finding mindfulness meditations extremely difficult at the moment, and I'm constantly grumpy from the heart-racing, anxious spirals and general feeling like shit from lack of sleep. I'm doing okay at mindfully not picking fights with my partner, or being a jerk to my daughter, but it's a constant struggle and getting irritating. I need to get through the wedding and staying with family without panicking into a heart attack or turning into a rabid bear snarling at everyone. I'd dearly love to calm the fuck down in general too.

Any suggestions for non-medical things I can do to get through the weekend. I've cut out caffeine (one cup of tea in the morning, decaf for the rest of the day), should I cut out/down sugar too (wedding!)? I'm going to try and sit through a couple of meditative tracks in the evening. Peppermint tea? Valerian tea? Anything?
posted by geek anachronism to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
Walking helped me the most when I was getting my thyroid levels back to normal: exercise will act as an anti-anxiety agent. I feel for you because people can be extraordinarily irritating when there's a thyroid problem; recruit your partner and daughter into helping you but being a bit more patient (as much as appropriate for your daughter, depending on her age).

Lower your expectations for tomorrow: just showing up is all you need do, you can leave earlier if you need to, and also take socializing breaks (bathroom breaks) if you can.

I would stay away from trying to depend on the alcohol, you could easily overdrink as a way to deal with anxiety/stress and it could then turn into a bad scene quickly.

You have permission to leave early. Socializing is a bear when you have thyroid issues. Good luck!
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 5:17 PM on July 16, 2014

UHG this is my LIFE! (Although my thyroid tested normal so we're moving onto other things, my doctor was really surprised that my levels were normal so we'll see if there's still something to it later.)

YOU AREN'T GOING TO DIE! Just a nice little reminder for when your heart's racing and it feels like your heart's going to explode.

Personally, what helps my palpitations calm down is taking a little walk. So even getting up or going outside (or away from people at the wedding) can help get out some of that excess anxiety.

Take a nice little deep breath. I also like to put my fingers on my neck, because even though my hearts FEELS like it's racing, it's usually actually not going that fast.

Take extra potty breaks. Seriously, getting a little breather in the bathroom is really helpful. Especially if you feel dizzy/nauseous.

Snack often. My heart palpitations get worse if I'm low on food or water. Sipping cold water is also helpful for nerves as it's just something to do. I say no caffeine at all right now. Chewing gum is also helpful as a distraction.

Also, I know it's a family wedding, but I say once you're there fore the reception for a bit, head out. I'd hope your family would understand that you're dealing with medical stuff. I'm sure someone else can help with tasks during the reception.

Take something to help you sleep the night before. (If you don't have problems with those meds otherwise.) That way you can be rested for the event.

Finally, you aren't going to die. It just feels like it. I'm still alive so I think we're in the clear.

Feel to MeMail me if you need someone to whine with. I'm all ears.
posted by Crystalinne at 5:18 PM on July 16, 2014

Best answer: It helps to know when your heart is racing and you feel amped up that you are not dying. You have a thyroid disorder and your body is moving faster than usual, but you're fine. Just take deep breaths, avoid caffeine like the plague, get enough rest, and you'll be OK. Your doctors could put you on a betablocker to control your heart rate a bit. I'm not sure how long they take to start working, but a small dose of Toprol is what I was prescribed. I dealt with this as I have thyroid disease and it was scary waking up from a restful sleep with my heart absolutely racing -- my heart just raced at all times -- but you're seriously going to be fine. Knowing that is half the battle and should help ward off anxiety.
posted by AppleTurnover at 5:54 PM on July 16, 2014

Man, it's just cruel if you don't have a script for propranolol for this, even in a small dose. Because frankly, that was the only relief for me when I swung high. Dress prepared for heat intolerance. Exercise just worsened my cardiac symptoms.
posted by blue suede stockings at 6:59 PM on July 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

Btw, I was on propranolol PRN.....I could use small doses as needed and it didn't take forever to kick in.
posted by blue suede stockings at 7:03 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Take something to fan yourself with. I sweat like crazy when my hyperthyroid was uncontrolled. Cut out the tea too. Caffeine is not your friend right now.
posted by cecic at 7:27 PM on July 16, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks all! I probably should have pointed out that it's a winter wedding (southern hemisphere) so I spent the evening fairly comfortable while everyone else froze. Cutting out all caffeine (my tea *sobs*) seems to have worked well, and I got through without any sort of angry bear attack and only a few instances of "I know I'm not having a heart attack and dying but omg I'm dyyyyyyyying" palpitations. I stayed hydrated, and judicious applications of wine got me through the whole night (fortunately a short evening, since the bride was pretty adamant that everyone had to stick it out the whole night).

Now on to scans and so on. Thank you all so much!
posted by geek anachronism at 2:21 AM on July 19, 2014

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