Thyroid UK

(Just for fun) - Blood Tests and how to interpret them (or not)

I had an idea my TSH might have risen as I have thyroid type symptoms again and haven't been feeling as well as I was. I decided it was time for a retest before adjusting my meds. Back they came yesterday. The receptionist cheerfully informed that they were all "normal, no action". I smiled sweetly down the phone at her, resisted all temptation to tell her that I wasn't interested in her or the lab's interpretation, and thanked her kindly when she offered to print them out for me. (They all know I ask for print outs).

The tests clearly show why I've gone downhill. My TSH has risen from 0.2 to 2.5 and my GFR has fallen from 64 to 60.

I'm going to raise my thyroxine back to 50mcg (from 25mcg). I also take nutri thyroid, but as I don't appear to have a conversion problem I'm going to let the NHS pay for T4. I'm also going to raise my alpha lipoic acid and go back to drinking green and detox teas.

You see. The blood tests DO tell you what's going on if you take a few short seconds to look for changes.

12 Replies

I love the smiling sweetly down the phone bit :D

Out of interest, what have you found the green tea does? Does it help people with Thyroid conditions generally?


yes actually green tea helps for stress and in that way it helps in t4 conversion


Thanks - You posted that while I was typing the answer below. Definitely back on the green tea then.


Hi Em. To be honest, I don't know what green tea does. When I first realised I had kidney issues, I used my "favourite search engine" to find answers to how to improve kidney function. Alpha lipoic acid was one thing I found, along with green tea and a few other herbs. I took to drinking herbal detox and green teas.

I suspect that the missing link might be the paleo diet. I was sticking fairly closely to it before Xmas and then lapsed big time. Time to go back on it I think.

Not til after lunch today. I'm meeting a friend for lunch. She's a retired GP, so I must remember to stick to general topics such as the weather, otherwise it could be an awkward meeting.


Hello. Many thanks for your reply. I realised I was drinking a lot of green tea a while back and then decided to give up all caffeine and herbal teas for a while. Started to feel a bit crappy after that but it probably coincided with Christmas and the "January blues". I will keep it in mind that green tea could be a good thing health wise. Don't like to exclude too many foods altogether personally. I find it too restrictive and then I get obsessed with it. Certainly small steps can make a difference though. Hope you enjoyed your lunch!


I don't understand why GP's don't see changes in TFT as indicators that things are improving/deteriorating. It seems so obvious.

Your retired GP friend might have interesting insights into TSH, especially if she treated by symptoms and not labs.


You are right they do tell you ,pity GP'S could not see this as well, I think as long as you are in range life is easy for them ,just tell patient ok.

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Just for info. This is what Dr Toft (ex president of the BTA) says in his article in Pulse Online.Pity more doctors aren't more knowledgeable (it also goes on to say that some T3 can be added):-

6 What is the correct dose of thyroxine and is there any rationale for adding in tri-iodothyronine?

The appropriate dose of levothyroxine is that which restores euthyroidism and serum TSH to the lower part of the reference range – 0.2-0.5mU/l.

In this case, free thyroxine is likely to be in the upper part of its reference range or even slightly elevated – 18-22pmol/l. Most patients will feel well in that circumstance.

But some need a higher dose of levothyroxine to suppress serum TSH and then the serum-free T4 concentration will be elevated at around 24-28pmol/l.


You're right - its so important to monitor and follow any changes - both symptoms and bloods - and learn how to interpret them. Its so important to find your own optimal, and ignore some of the figures given. I've just had the same experience as you, early symptoms returning and bloods confirm a rise in TSH. I'm at my best at around 2.11(0.35-5.5) last week it was 7.3. I will be getting an official increase next week.


Glad you're able to stay one step ahead of the medics....but what does GFR mean please?


GFR = glomerular filtration rate. I don't know what that actually means!


Do be careful thst ferritin or folate has not dropped rapidly too


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