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Thyroid UK
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Hypothyroidism and employment, am i supposed to be able to cope??

I'm currently working an average of 50+ hours a week as a hotel receptionist in a very busy hotel and wedding venue (sometimes 6 or 7 weddings a day). On top of that I am newly diagnosed with hypo and have been on 50mcg of levothyroxine for 4 weeks.

Am i supposed to be able to cope with this? I'm finding it so hard, especially as my shifts change on a weekly basis, sometimes early mornings (7am start) and sometimes late nights (11pm finish) and sometimes doing a late shift straight on to an early shift, then of course the odd 12 hr shifts!

I was involved in a car crash in December and I think thats what triggered off the increase in symptoms of my thyroid, as thinking back, I have just gone down hill since my crash... but i can remember vague symptoms on and off for at least 5 yrs and before that i smoked which I've read smoking can mask the symptoms of the disease!

Anyway, i know having hypothyroidism isn't classed as a disability and i should be able to manage to hold down a job and deal with my illness at the same time, I'm just finding it so very difficult and wondered if it was just me being all 'woe is me' because i've just found out i have a life long 'problem' or if I should be able to battle on and cope.

So very very tired

Melissa x

6 Replies

Hi Melissa,

I know it is very hard at the moment.Having been on treatment for so little time, you may actually feel worse at the moment too. Once you are on the correct dose of Levo, ( T4) perhaps also on some T3, you should feel better than you have for a long time. Thyroid disease comes on gradually and is very draining. Unfortunately increases in drugs have to be slowly after repeat blood tests each time. You will suddenly notice a huge improvement.Always ask for a copy of all blood tests with ranges from the receptionist at GP`s, routine. Keep them and then you will also se your self how you are progressing. There are other tests too that you will need, at the moment start with iron/ferritin, which needs to be well in range, and Vit ( hormonal) which if low aggravates symptoms. If low a corrected calcium test before any treatment with D.Later Diabetes and B12 + foliates ( needs to be high in range), these are autoimmune and hormonal and should be repeated all 4, annually.Try not to be so hard on yourself and rest when ever you can and sleep too, gradually things will improve.

Best wishes,


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Thankyou Jackie,

I do feel worse at the moment and keep thinking its just because i am now aware i have this disease rather than actually being worse, but i don't know. I feel like no one has any empathy for me, my family have offered no support at all (i dont know why i would be surprised by this though).

I am a little bit nervous about asking my Dr for the other tests as I have read a lot on here about people and their Dr's not being very helpful, but i will ask exactly what is being tested each time and when the results are in i will ask for the results and say that i want to keep my own record to be able to manage it better.

I have been experiencing symptoms of heat intolerance recently, maybe due to the weather but i've noticed its best for me to keep cool... yet still feel the cold as soon as the sun goes behind the clouds! Also having problems with muscle cramps, restless legs, puffy face, insomnia, depression.

I hate it, it's awful lol

And i've been reading that exercise is great for hypo but how am i supposed to find the energy to do any?!

Melissa x


Hi,Insomnia is often thyroid disease, hypo or hyper but different. Unfortunately you get to now the difference easily!The other tests are routine,It sounds as if you definitely need Vit D, it is quite cheap on line "25, through City hospital, the same test as NHS, not perfect but a good guide. See the TUK site on bloods Exercise is good but does not make much difference without the right treatment, also the Diabetes diet is recommended.

Best wishes,



Hello Melissa,

You are really at the beginning of your road to recovery, and it does take a little time, but in the meanwhile it can be very difficult as you are finding. If you had a broken leg or something visible, not only would you have a lot more sympathy, but you would be allowed time off work while you recover.

First of all, have you an appointment in the next few days for your GP? It is time for a thyroxine increase because 50mcg is a small starter dose and four weeks is enough of a gap between increases. Did the doctor give you a time to go back?

Jackie's advice to check vitamins is good - B12, D, plus ferritin and folate are a good start because lack of any of these can cause tiredness in themselves, plus they are needed for your body to utilise the thyroxine and convert it into the T3 your body can use.

As far as the exercise is concerned, it as good for hypothyroid people as it is for anyone else, but please take care while you are feeling ill. If you try to force your body before it is ready, you can do more harm than good. At the moment you have only tiny reserves of thyroid hormone, and you have a very demanding job, so your reserves will be used up too quickly if you start to push the exercise too much. Keep active by walking as much as you can manage without pain. The time will come once your body has started to get stronger. Remember the broken leg. You want it to get strong again but you would not throw away the crutches and start running marathons until the plaster is off and the bone healed, would you?

Regarding your family, could you try to help them understand what is going on with your body? Perhaps you could help them to see that the thyroid is an essential part of the body's system for using energy, and that every single cell in your body needs T3 (the active form of thyroid hormone) just to function. The includes the brain, the heart, the digestive system, liver, kidneys, the reproductive system, every single muscle, in fact every single thing your body does including breathing needs T3 to work properly. Help them to understand that until your are optimally treated, you are going to be like a car running with almost no fuel. Maybe you could print off some of the information about it from the main Thyroid UK website?


For the immediate future, you do need to see your doctor for your thyroxine increase, because you should not be left on the starting dose for too long. When you have your blood test, ask for the actual figures, and the ranges, and put them on here, so that you can have help and support in your recovery.

Best wishes,

Marie XXX


Is your Insurance company aware of this, Mellisa ?


Hi Melissa, I was diagnosed in May 2012... Like you put on the 50mcg levothyroxine.

I found it very difficult to accept this was a life term illness. People around me thought it was an illness that caused a weight issue.

I really struggled, so think what you are experiencing now is quite normal?

A year on, now on 150mcg struggling to get T3 tested. BUT I feel so much better. And you will too. It takes time to get the dose up, they can't just flood your system with thyroxine.

However, I don't work, I have every respect for anyone who manages this illness and works.

I am a mum to four and am lucky enough to stay home with them. Even then there are some days when it's really hard. Nothing like pre diagnosis tho.

Read what you can, this site is amazing. Find as much info as you can.

One day at a time x

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