t3.. t4.....???????????????????

please can any one tell me what a normal reading of this sort should be and what all this t3. t4 mean

please can any one tell me what a normal reading of this sort should be and what all this t3. t4 means im confused,,

I had a row with my gp today as i said that if shed treated me in time i wouldnt have put on so much weight as its been about three months now,, and two out of four wrong blood tests,,,

I asked to see a specialist as im feeling really rough on levo and my gp said i have to get worse before i get better..

i said ive now got thyroid ringing in my ears and thyroid shakes and palpitations that i never had before i said im deteriorating,, not getting better,,

she said i have a heart problem!!!

i was livid and said i would complain if she didnt put me on to a specialist as i feel like im dying,,,

i told her that she didn't explain the side effects of any of the drugs she s put me on ,, she didnt explain what i could go through and didn't explain why it could have happend,, so as she s a general practicioner, i wanted to see someone who knew more about his condition, and could treat me properly and get me well, not someone who deals with all general illness thats prepared to let me end up with graves disease!! turns out she doesnt know much about graves disease,,,,

Wonderfull,, !!!

ive asked for print outs of my blood test results,, which she says next time she will let me have if i get referred back to her!!

please could someone explain what levels of t3, t4 etc are and what my reading should look like to be healthy?


38 Replies

You poor thing , I'm not long at this myself so I dont know the answers ,but someone will be on soon to help you ,we are all here for you ,and the people on here that are the experts will help you ,when I found out that some babies are born without thyroid function and live a normal happy life it helped me think that I could to ,mine is a very long story so I won't bore you with it ,but I'm plodding on ,hope you get sorted take care x

The babies would only live a normal happy life if they were on medication. Its not possible to live with no thyroid hormones. ( not for very long at any rate).

I would hope they were on medication ,that's why all babies get tested when they are born

Hi, ok... Its just that your earlier post read (to me) as if they were living ok lives without meds and I wanted to make it clear that ths is not so. Xx. G

Yes I probably should have added that part ,bit early in morning ,brain bit fuzzy :-) x

Somehow, this really made me laugh ;)!

The part about babies, I meant, to be clear.

susan clark

thankyou soo much for your empathy its appreciaed,i wish you all the very best too x

She cannot refuse to give you copies of your blood tests so go back and insist on them

she wasn't too happy when i asked to see a specialist!!! thankyou really fed up !!

Astro, you need to give a bit more info, are you hypo or hyper ? You can't "end up with Graves disease" you either have it or don't, it isn't acquired through lack of treatment.

So are you on Levo and if so what dose or are you on Carbimazole ?

I am hypo (under active ),,and on levo!! but whats worrying me is that my family genetically have thyroid problems!!

thankyou hypohen

Hi Agree to know your blood results and ranges vital. Ask the receptionist. Your blood, your right. T4 normally should be in top third of range and FT3 near the top, but never over, needs care.It sounds like the GP thinks you have atrial fibrillation, A.F , not diagnosed by thought!You need a 24 hour home heart monitor or better still a 7 day one. Annalysed by the Cardio dept. if a problem treatment essential.Thyroid disease, treated or not an bring on an early on set of this. it may just be thyroid ,especially Ft3 too high or too low for you.If GP will not do this, take your heart rate ( pulse) 3 times a day and see if it swings when actually taking it. 2 weeks and note it. If "bad" then take to GP. ask to see an electrical cardio, very specialised.it is intermittent so will not normally show on an ECG

is there another GP in the practice with ,more sense, or local? Find out when your one is away and make an appointment ask for a referral, unfortunately it cannot be demanded. Do find a good Endo first, lots of research.

Best wishes,


Dear Jackie,,

i do not understand what this ft3 and atrial fibrilation are and t4s?????????

Hi I think little of most GPs but she may be right that you have a heart problem , which sound as if it is Atrial Fibrillation. It is not too serious but needs diagnosing properly and treating.Your thyroid obviously also needs attention. It may be that your T4 ks OK, should be top third of range but that your FT3 is too high or too low,for you.the thyroid problems you mention sound like this.Free T3, FT3, It must not be over range. I have lots lo major heart problem but also A.F my Free T3 is over range or very low, my A.F is much worse. This is well known by docs, I often greatly disagree with them over lots of things, but this is right as I have seen it in myself for many years.The diagnosis of A.F is even more likely if you are Hyper thyroid, overactive.

Please get back to me if I have still confused you!


im not sure if im confused or just over tired,, im hypo underactive but ive never had a prob with my heart in my life but since being on levo my heart has been doing all sorts of stuff its never done before,,i still am MAJORLY CONFUSED about the T4 T3 FT3 WHAT IS IT? please explain,,, soooooooooooooo sorry

and sorry to hear you have this bloomin awful thyroid thing is really really yukky!!!

Thankyou Jackie.

HI First on the basis that GP`s have to be occasionally right and from what you say , it is just possible that you do have A.F, either temporary caused by Free T3, being wrong ,bloods and ranges/ or thyroid disease treated or not can cause early onset of A.F, any age. This is important as while not too serious, it needs treating or a high risk of strokes. With treating fine.

You certainly need to try and insist on seeing an Endo, but be sure it is a really good one, lots of research, then phone their sec and ask what treatment they us etc. only then ask for a referral from ANY doc. in the practice.

Once treated correctly and stable,may be a year, unless very unlucky you will be fine.



The pituitary gland produces Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) to nudge the thyroid gland to produce the inactive storehouse hormone Free Thyroxine (FT4). FT4 is converted in the liver to the active hormone Free T3 (FT3).

Hypothyroid = underactive TSH will be elevated/high & medication is Levothyroxine (T4), Liothyronine (T3) or Natural Dessicated Pig Thyroid (NDT).

Hyperthyroid = overactive TSH will be low/undetectable & medication is Carbimazole

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is an irregularity of the heart sometimes caused by hyperactive thyroid but can also be caused by over medication of T4 or T3. The heart problem your GP says you have may not be AF but she may want to be cautious about raising your medication in case AF develops.

As you are taking Levothyroxine you are hypothyroid. Thyroid Peroxidase antibody (TPoAb) test will determine whether you have autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto's). Treatment is the same as for hypothyroidism.

There isn't an ideal number or range to aim for but it does appear that most people feel comfortable with a TSH just above or just below 1 and with FT4 and FT3 in the top 75% of their laboratory reference range.

It can take a long time to achieve an optimal dose of Levothyroxine, as long as 12 months in some cases. Dose is usually increased by 25mcg increments to avoid causing heart problems and thyroid blood tests should be done 6/8 weeks after increasing or decreasing dose to check over/under medication.

Dear Clutter, ive never met you but i love you already,,thankyou for explaining all this and going to all that bother..

Im vegetarian, so would ndt be unethical for me to use, as levo just makes me feel disgusting,,, ok i think i may give it the benefit and see if they up my level as i couldn't feel much worse than i do right now,,, i just wish i could have my body that worked once upon a time,,,so you sound as if you have this condition completely wrapped,, im so sorry to hear all these lovely people and yourself have been and still are fellow sufferers,,

What did we ever do so wrong!!

I AM TRYING TO GET A PRINT OUT OF MY BLOOD TESTS ,,but my gp is being very difficult..however thankyou for this.


Astro :-D

I hate to burst your bubble but NDT isn't a magic bullet and doesn't suit everyone. It's not licensed for use in the UK so most GPs won't prescribe it. Most people have to buy it on the internet and self medicate. T3 in addition to T4 has been beneficial for me but I doubt your GP will prescribe it if she thinks you have a heart problem.

It will be easier to advise you when you are able to post your blood results.

I don't have this condition wrapped yet. My recovery is recent and ongoing following 18 months during which I was mostly bedridden but I think my medication is right now.

Hi Although very major heart problems,I have a little Ft 3 and Armour, prescribed by my Endo, the GP gives me the T3. I only have a little , 20mcg and we are very careful but I need it. We make sure my FT3 is always in range or it can be lethal.My own Cardio fine with it, so long as I only take what I need as a very good Endo. When in the UBH, a nightmare with those Cardios as the prof. J. F who is also president, will not allow any Endo patients to have any T3.

Glad you are improving.


My endo thinks there is a lack of good random control trials re the benefit of T3+T4 therapy but agreed to prescribe as there had been such an undeniable improvement after I self medicated. I would raise hell if anyone said I couldn't have it now unless they could categorically prove it was damaging me and not because of ingrained prejudice. I thought cardios were of the opinion that there can be heart benefits to taking T3?

Hi I know my heart is definitely effected by my thyroid, FT3 has to be just right, not too low or too high, I know even before a blood test.. However, the UBH, meant to be top hospital in Europe, certainly the largest say I have to stop all my thyroid treatment, TSH so low. Permanently bullied about it when in hospital Although I have always told they are not allowed to interfere with private scripts!if FT3 . It is a old fashioned ignorant idea, mainly because that is what head of Endo there says, avoid like the plague! As GP`s are they are remarkably ignorant about the thyroid, my PTH is dangerously high, they do not even know that that has to be measure am etc. Thyroid tests they do expressly against my wishes, when I have also just taken the meds. Even vets know better!I have had the same thing in other hospitals too.I will not tell them who my Endo is, they love that!So that is how some rubbish docs behave!


Hi You put it so much better than me. Blame my dyslexia or that I am very ill. Sorry I could not do it as you have.


Thank you, Jackie. I'm on the mend now so it's easier to communicate information although I still have times where I know what I want to say but just can't get it across.

You seem to be doing brilliantly on here. Hopefully soon be fighting fit.


I think fitness is my issue now. Just walked the dogs myself for 30 minutes but had to rest half way and needed to lie down for 10 minutes after. I'm sure it will get better.

So sorry to hear that you are feeling so poorly and your GP is not listening to you.

Ask Thyroid UK -they have a list of practioners/doctors/conultants who have been helpful in the treatment of thyroid diseases.

Re blood test results -try ringing the GP receptionist and say could they print you a copy out....

Your blood test should have TSH, Ft4 and if you are lucky...Ft3. TSH is the chemical that is sent by the pituitary ( in the brain) to the thyroid to tell it to produce more or less thyroid hormones. Ft4 & Ft3 are thyroid hormones and the blood test shows the level in your blood stream. In brackets will be the reference ranges. these are the levels that the medical fraternity believe you should be within.

thankyou wavylines(love the name)

I have looked at thyroid uk,,i am just feeling horrible,, and thankyou for trying to explain about the tsh ft4 and 3,, so what is the level meant to be to feel human again?

I feel like some lizard from hell at the moment!!!

thankyou once again

Thanks astroscopesuk :)

The level of T4 and T3 to feel human again.....this is a disputed area am afraid. However most people feel much better when their Ft3 & Ft4 is in the top quarter or at the top of the range. however a lot of doctors will tend to treat you until you are in range and then tell you are 'normal' The blood tests tel us how much is in the blood stream but it does not tell us how much uptake there actually is in the cells. There is no test for this but this is the bit that really counts!

You might want to check out your iron, b12, vits D and folate. These vitamins and minerals are known to help with the uptake of thyroid hormones into the cells -so worthwhile checking out too. I have to take extra B vitamins as if I don't the thyroid hormones seem to back stack and I have a body tremor....well that is my theory!!!! When I take them it stops -when I don't the tremor comes back- put it that way!

Hi Astro, I don't know about feeling worse before feeling better. I knew pretty quickly that the hormone I was taking was helping within a week but the body does need several weeks to adjust and even longer to really adapt to the new normal. Do you know if you are underactive, hypo thyroid, or overactive, hyper active?

The levels you want would probably be similar but maybe not exactly the same. The optimum levels for hypothyroidism are in this list:


thankyou xxx


most people only feel well if their TSH is less than 1.0

and freet4 is around 19

until you get a copy of your blood tests we are in difficulties trying to help you properly

Did she used those words, that you have to get worse before you get better? No that is not true. Most people feel better after meds not worse. You need to have your results with lab normal range. Labs may have different ranges.

Also palpitations are due mainly to being overmedicated, you must start on low dosage. She may have given you too high of a dose. One of the symptoms of overmedicating (and starting to become hyper) is palpitations.

I self medicate on Armour Thyroid (natural dessicated hormone) and I feel great at TSH 0.03. Levo made me feel sooooo bad I had to quit after 5 days. Hypothyroidism is an awful disease and it's extremely hard to get the right doc to prescribe right med and right dosage. Good luck

Dear estrellaliliana

yes those were her words,but im only on 50 ml and have been on this since 24th april but i feel much worse, my ankles swell ,(not due to the current heatwave), i sweat and have palpitations, im supposed to be hypo,,underactive, but i have this horrible thing that feels like im sitting on a washing machine, as it feels like all my blood is buzzing and i have a ringing in my ears like white noise,, and feel sick and have vertigo,, and panic attacks, and as theres so much else going on i asked to be referred to a specialist, and her words were shat do you expect a specialist to do that i cant,,so i said to her ,,get it right!!!

as im fed up already of vegging about like a cripple!!!(nothing against people who are crippled mind but its not me . Im not used to this inactivity,,and feeling wiped out 24/7 but not being able to sleep properly bar coma naps and INSOMNIA,, ITS DRIVING ME MAD..

thankyou all you people are soo lovely x

To check for thyroid antibodies for Hashimoto's get these 2 tests: thyroperoxidase (TPO) and thyroglobulin (Tg) (or antithyroglobulin Ab) (sometimes they use different names).

thankyou.. i suppose these are things i will have to demand with my stupid gp,,,

thankyou soo much xx

Hi astrocopesuk. Firstly, may I ask how long have you been suffering with thyroid dysfunction? Feeling very concerned about your poor health at the moment. My heart really does go out to you. I noticed in your post, that you mentioned Graves? Have you been diagnosed with Graves or Hashimoto's disease? If so, who diagnosed you? I am very surprised that you have not been referred to an endocrinologist to get a diagnosis confirmed!. Autoimmune thyroid disease is diagnosed by looking for anti-bodies in the blood. There are different ones present for Graves and Hashi's. Many different factors are at play when the thyroid is out of balance. Even down to our vitamin and mineral levels: what time of day thyroxin is taken and also any other medication that you may be taking? Sometimes, other drugs inhibit the absorption of levothyroxin if taken at the same time. I've learnt from this forum, that thyroxin should be taken an hour before or after food with only water. I take my Thyroxin 2 hours before breakfast ( I put my alarm clock on). I use a private lab that is reccomended on here called Blue Horizon. If you are fortunate enough to have private bloods done to help you with diagnosis and thyroid level results, you can get your bloods checked out yourself without a GP referral. If you are not in a position to pay privately for these, then my thoughts are CHANGE YOUR GP!! ASAP. Hope that you will share some of the above questions with the forum, so that help can be offered. Lynne x

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