Hi. I'm new to this forum. I will try to keep this as short as possible. About six years ago I had real problems with swollen feet and ankles. It had gone on for months and my GP wasn't finding the root of the problem. I'd tried diuretics but they made no difference. I was at the stage where I couldn't get shoes to fit. After trawling the internet I kind of self diagnosed COPD. It was the wrong diagnoses but it led me to decide to stop smoking. I stopped for 3 months but was at the end of my tether and could take it no more and started smoking again. I then began to feel really ill. Regular palpitations, shaking, found it hard work just getting up the stairs without getting out of breath. I noticed that when I did smoke I would shake more, that I wouldn't be able to see properly for about 10 minutes after having a cigarette. I had to walk quite a long way to work and I would get so far and then feel like I was walking on marshmellow, I couldn't feel the ground beneath my feet. I then started to lose weight rapidly despite eating loads. - I lost a stone within a couple of weeks. I then started experiencing gold flashing zig-zag patterns in the corners of my eyes and I was getting really worried. I was finally diagnosed with an overactive thyroid. By this time my ankles and feet were huge. They itched like mad and were so bad that when I was referred to a consultant for thyroid treatment he had photo's taken of my feet and ankles as he had never seen such bad fluid retention associated with Graves disease and wasn't sure if that was the cause. I was given Beta blockers to bring down my heart rate which worked within a week of taking them and also an 18 month course of Carbimazole. The fluid retention vanished within a few weeks. After putting all the weight I had lost back on I decided to go on a diet as I was overweight. I lost 3 1/2 stones and by the time I had finished the 18 month course of medication I was as fit as a fiddle, cycling, slim and happy but still smoking. I have never had a problem with swollen feet ever since.
In January this year I decided to have another attempt at stopping smoking. I have been stopped for just over 3 months. A couple of weeks ago I noticed my feet starting to swell. They're not too bad, although my size 9 (yes 9) shoes which were a little bit on the big side have now become quite tight. My engagement ring which I couldn't wear for years but have worn for the last 3 years since I lost all the weight is starting to get very tight even though I have only put on a few pounds since stopping smoking. This is how it all started last time, and I'm very concerned that the thyroid problems are beginning to flare up again now that I've stopped smoking. Last time the consultant I saw refused to accept that stopping smoking had triggered the problem. There's a lot on the internet to say that smoking seems to mask an underactive thyroid but I can find little to say that stopping smoking triggers a flare up of Graves disease. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? I refuse to start smoking again just to make it all go away so what can I do?
I was also quite alarmed to find on the internet that thyroid problems can lead to heart problems if it goes unchecked. It seems strange that the left side of my body ie my left foot and ankle and my ring finger on my left hand seem to swell up more than the right side. Why does Graves disease cause fluid retention, does anyone know?
Any similar experiences or help and advice would be much appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read, sorry its so long.