Do you have to have a specific condition to be hypothyroid?

My husband has been hypo for at least 18 years. He has been tested for all the normal diseases associated with this condition, all negative. Why is his thyroid underactive then? Most people on here seem to say they are hypo because of such and such condition, if my husband has not got any of these conditions shouldn't they be looking for the reason why his thyroid isn't working rather than just supplementing?

19 Replies

  • hi Janee, if hubby has had tests to rule out other auto immune illnesses and has none- that's it,he has none. That's great. As far as I was told,and in my case, the thyroid can just start to fail with no association with other things.

  • It can also go wrong if you have ever suffered whiplash or a bad infection. Have a look at this section I have cut and pasted from the NHS choices website.

    Worldwide, a lack of dietary iodine is a common cause of an underactive thyroid because your body needs iodine to make thyroxine. However, iodine deficiency is uncommmon in the UK.

    In some cases, babies are born with an underactive thyroid because the gland does not develop properly in the womb. This is called congenital hypothyroidism and it is usually picked up during routine screening soon after birth.

    A problem with the pituitary gland could lead to an underactive thyroid. The pituitary gland is located at the base of the brain and regulates the thyroid. Therefore, damage to the pituitary may lead to an underactive thyroid.

    An underactive thyroid has also been linked to some viral infections or some medications used to treat other conditions, such as depression and heart disorders.

    Moggie x

  • Thanks for your replies, is there any research going on regarding non specific hypothyroidism?

  • I think you would have to search google on that one as there is always some research going on as far as thyroid illness is concerned. The only trouble is that no matter how much research seems to be carried out the tests and treatment they offer us does not.

    Moggie x

  • Thanks Moggie that's really interesting info! I had whiplash in a car accident at 26 also 4 years earlier in another boat accident. By age 27 my periods stopped for 6 months, pituitary, bloods, everything investigated but nothing wrong except for very low thyroid function. So on the T4 ever since!

    Would love to look further into this but like you said, whatever the cause they still treat you the same.

    All the best

  • I think that's the problem one size fits all, regardless of whether it makes you feel better or not. Hubby never had any trauma prior to diagnosis, did not even have any hypo syptoms, was diagnosed after investigations into slow digestive problem. They never did sort that out, had to find a solution ourselves after years of trying. Hypo symptoms have got really bad over last 10 years, but no one seems able to help.

  • If you have a copy of your husband's latest thyroid gland blood tests complete with the ranges post them on a new question and someone will comment. Just ask the surgery for a copy if you don't have one - we are entitled.

    He may not be on enough medication as some GP's think that to get the levels 'within range' is enough but that's not the case.

    Digestive problems is also common in hypo. This is a link:-

  • He has had extensive tests, and endo has told gp to replace to keep at very lowest range as he feels best there, have not had any in depth tests for about a year now, just basic tsh, have sort of given up with the doctors as they seem to be bound by NICE rules. They have suggested CFS now as they can't think of anything else. No treatment for that either so it lets them off the hook. Will just have to keep looking ourselves, will post if we find a glimmer of hope.

  • According to this doctor, you can have 22 reasons to be called hypothyroid. This is #1

  • ....Hashimotos is the most common of thyroid conditions throughout the world. However there seems to a lack of understanding with some Docs in the UK and their testing labs. They seem not to test the anti-bodies if the TSH FT4 and FT3 are in range. In my case my results are in range but the anti-bodies were high and treatment commenced. I live in Crete. I think it is mostly down to cost. Have you considered private testing - details on the Thyroid UK website of the various companies with a discount I believe....worth doing to achieve the bigger picture.

    What are the tests that he has done - normal results - mean results within the ranges laid down and what is normal for one is not normal for another.....What other drugs is he taking in addition to the T4.....could be adding fuel to the fire.....

    CFS is just that a syndrome and routinely associated with LOW metabolism - or low thyroid.....pop in into the Search box and see what comes up !

  • We did see quite a good endo privately and he has told gp to keep hubby in the lower end of normal range. Been tested for everything including lupus, heart problems, etc. Did have a trial of T4 but did not seem to make any difference. For his age (63) he has slow pulse, (resting between 50 and 60) low blood pressure (90 over 50ish) trouble keeping weight on and is very easily tired with a long recovery time after fairly normal exertion. Before his problem he always kept himself fit by cycling and walking lots, eats all the right food and absolutely no junk. He had a physical job but has had to retire early because it was wearing him out. He is not as bad as some people seem to be on this site but it's very irritating all the same. Will keep looking and researching and will post if we get a glimmer of hope.

  • Dr Sarah Myhill's website is good for treating chronic fatigue as the metabolism slows and mitochondria are becoming dysfunctional due to a build up of toxins, heavy metals etc. ATP fuel and PQQ with CoQ10 is worth researching to support heart mitochondria.

    Perhaps also consider a private Lyme and co-infections test? Armin labs in Augsburg has robust testing protocols.

    Best Wishes


  • Marz,

    I *think* that iodine deficiency is the leading cause if you count the entire world. There are an awful lot of people who do not get enough iodine.

    In the UK and USA (and many other countries), indeed Hashimoto's is the leading cause.


  • Thank you for the interesting link helvella


  • It would be rather a nice idea to find out why I am hypothyroid. Indeed, addressing the cause might well be a far better thing to do than topping up with thyroid hormone.

    Apparently, around 80% of hypothyroid people in the UK have antibodies which are considered to confirm autoimmune issues - i.e. Hashimoto's. Similar figures in the USA.

    In much of the rest of the world, iodine deficiency is the leading cause.

    And women account for a considerably higher proportion of thyroid cases than we men,

    If you have a thyroid (i.e. you were not born without one) and you do not have antibodies and yet have adequate iodine intake, well, in true Stephen Fry/QI style, "Nobody knows"! Lots of possibilities but, as each will only account for a vanishingly small percentage, the chances of the right one being identified for an individual seem to get smaller and smaller as causes are considered and dismissed.


  • Just a thought. What would the test for antibodies be called,will look to see if he has had that one.

  • The anti-bodies are Anti-TPO and Anti-Tg.. FT3 result - what was that one ?

  • Free T3 3.9 (range 3.1-6.8)

    Thyroid peroxide antibodies negative (<60)

    Those tests were done 23/8/12

    Free T4 24.7 (range 12-22) test done 2/8/12.

    Also had t3 and t4 tested together on 9/5/12 with readings of:

    Ft3 7.2

    Ft4 12.1

    No ranges given as just on consultants letter to gp but done at the same hospital as before so maybe same lab.

    As far back as I have test results for which is 2011, I cannot find any other thyroid antibody tests.

  • I think my hypo. was due to my thyroid being damaged by a cocksakie virus of some kind a few years ago and a lot of stress as I don't have any anti-bodies. I now take 50/75 thyroxine depending on how I feel and Nutri Thyro. Complex a well as giving myself a lot more tlc. and pacing myself a bit more. If I follow these rules I am fine.

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