What should I do about my thyroid test results - is it high?

Hi, I've just been reading about how mental illnesses such as OCD and depression can be a result of mis functioning thyroid gland. I had a test 1 year ago - they were

Serum free 16 pmol/L

T4 level Serum TSH 2.7 mu/L level

The page thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/testin... suggests my T4 is high. What do i do about this if my GP says its normal. I have sever OCD and depression and I'm just looking for help outside antidepressants.

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  • Mikey, many people will feel very unwell with TSH of 2.7 and your FT4 is low in most ranges I've seen. Unfortunately many GPs won't diagnose hypothyroidism until TSH is >5 and some wait until it is >10.

    Undiagnosed hypothyroidism can cause depression and even full blown psychosis and there have been many bipolar misdiagnoses.

    You should ask for a repeat thyroid function test as your TSH may have risen in the last year. Make sure to have it early in the morning as TSH is highest then.

    You could ask your GP if s/he would put you on a 3 month trial of Levothyroxine to see if it improves your symptoms but you may have a battle. Liothyronine (T3) is better as it is known to be beneficial in addition to anti-depressants like Sertraline for treating depression but it is expensive on the NHS and many GPs aren't willing to take the hit on their budgets.

    You should also ask for your ferritin, vitamin D, B12 and folate to be tested as deficiencies in any of them can cause depression and low mood, fatigue, muscle and bone pain and other symptoms.

    If you are seeing a psychiatrist you may have more chance of persuading him/her to prescribe T3 for depression.

  • Thanks ever so much, actually cant believe how quick you all were to respond to this. What i didnt understand was you said my t4 is low - am i reading this wrong as the the link i gave implied 2.7 might be high? Should be under 2? im guessing the higher the number the lower my level is.

  • Mikey,

    Your TSH 2.7 is high enough to make you quite unwell and most hypothyroid people feel better when TSH is just above or just below 1.

    TSH is produced by the pituitary gland to nudge the thyroid gland to produce the inactive pro-hormone Thryoxine (FT4) most of which is converted in the liver to produce the active hormone FT3. The higher your TSH is means your body is calling for more FT4.

    Your FT4 at 16 is on the low side which means you may be struggling to convert sufficient FT3 which is required in every cell.

  • I've been researching this too and a suppressed T3 can cause/contribute to depression. GPs used to use T3 to treat depression until people realised that if they took a higher dose of T3 they'd loose weight then people were over medicating and having palpitations.

    My dr won't test anything except TSH.

    I'm trailing a dose of T3 (bought over internet) to see if it will help with my depression and kick start my weight loss.

  • I think the number of people taking too much was very small but they do like to find reasons to not prescribe t3.

    I was one of those prescribed t3 by a psychiatrist before I was diagnosed hypothyroid. I did lose weight but that was because I became well and had the motivation to exercise again. I particularly enjoyed long distance running (10k races were my favourite) and weight training. I became very fit and strong and healthy and was holding down a full time job whilst studying for a professional qualification. The doctor wasn't concerned about my weight loss because of all the exercise and my heart was actually functioning better on t3. When I was deemed "cured", the t3 was stopped and I quickly became ill again.

    A few years later I was finally diagnosed hypothyroid (I had been "borderline" for years) and prescribed t3 again. I was later switched to levo and became ill again. Now I'm back on t3, I'm doing much better again, mentally and physically. I think many doctors underestimate the importance of t3 for mental health.

    I hope t3 works for you. I no longer suffer from depression but the weight loss isn't really happening. It is extremely slow - 1lb a month if I'm lucky. Hopefully you will have more luck with the weight loss :)

    Carolyn x

  • i used to run 5ks, 10ks and half marathons. my last half was sept 2012. my mum died in april that year, i ran it for her but i wasn't really well enough to run it. i'd put on weight through the stress of it all and it was a very hard run where i ended up with plantar fasciitis (i normally loose toe nails). i rested my feet for a few months then returned to running. this is when my problems began regards health. i was going black and almost passing out so had to stop exercising. i found out that not only had my iron levels dropped (normal for me) but my B12 was very low and later on my vit D was deicient too (after a very sunning summer and a 2 week hol in greece). finally after struggling along i gave up teaching zumba too. i used to use exercise to help with my weight and my mood. i've been on and off anti-depressants for years. my feeling now are that they're putting a plaster over a wound that needs stitches. i hate them as they numb me. so after researching T3 and its help for depression i've started it. i've also organised counselling too.

  • Sorry about your mum :(

    Sometimes extremely stressful situations can cause changes in cortisol levels and that seems to upset everything, including contributing to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. It is so frustrating when you can no longer do what you love.

    I hope the t3 works for you. It had done wonders for me. I can no longer run as I am now too fat and have joint problems (GP suspects RA but tests negative at the moment). I do karate though, which is quite a workout in itself. It's also rather a good stress buster!

    I wish you all the best with the t3 and hope it works as well for you as it did for me

    Carolyn xxx

  • i'm too fat too :( my cortisol is low 195nmol but still above the 185nmol range :( drs won't do a thing. she says it's all in my head! i'm tired 24/7. got up at 6am but could quite easily go back to bed now and i know i'd sleep too.

  • Can you have a nap during the day? It can be helpful to recovering your adrenals. Have you read up on adrenal fatigue? There is a lot of information out there. A lot of the treatments you can do yourself. Hopefully you won't need to take hydrocortisone (prescription only medication) but there are adrenal supplements, vitamin c, sea salt and rest. Rest is really important. When you feel tired, rest horizontally if possible rather than going for caffeine or sugar. Napping during the day is a good thing if you need it. If you have trouble sleeping at night, magnesium citrate can help. Laughing it having fun can help. I used to lie on the sofa watching comedies whether I was tired as I couldn't actually sleep during the day. I did feel better after for a while :)

    It is not in your head at all! Sorry you aren't getting the help you need :(

    Carolyn x

  • i've got secondary adrenal insufficiency but drs will only treat addisons. started on hydro already. it was a b12 dr who'd researched the connection between b12 deficiency and low cortisol. it was 199 in november but has dropped to 195 was last tested in march. i'm under massive relationship stresses right now and can't cope.

  • I'm so sorry :( Stress really doesn't help, does it. Do you have a friend you can spend some time with away from the situation? I know you can't just walk away from the problem but a little time away might help keep you going.

    There's always someone here if you need to offload. Some people are even around during the night. Insomnia and thyroid often go together.

    I hope the relationship stress resolves soon.

  • i suffer 5 out of 7 nights with insomnia. been thinking if my cortisol is just out of rotation. if i wake up anytime between 2.30am onwards then i'm awake until 5am. hubby's also complaining about my snoring even though he snores. i'm trying to work through my feelings.

    dr gave me some sleeping tablets to take but told me that they're addictive.

  • Sleeping tablets don't really help. You often don't get any better sleep, you just don't remember being awake. It's a little like rohypnol in that respect.

    Napping during the day may actually help your night time sleep.

    Magnesium really helped me at night, as did taking t3. It is such a mine field if you can't remove yourself from the stress :(

  • can't leave for a few days as i've got 2 young kids to look after. so just keeping a handle on the stress as best i can. went to an exercise class as i need to try to feel better. my glucose was high in my recent blood test (random, non fasting) so i need my weight off.

  • Can you maybe just meet a friend for lunch? Just a couple of hours can make a difference. Or maybe take the kids with you to a friends house. Just getting out can really help sometimes. Although, if your kids are anything like mine, that can be a stress in itself ;)

  • they've been off this week which isn't helpful but they're back at school monday. i'll then have some time out. just booked a couple of zumba classes for next week.

  • I know what you mean. I quite like half term because I get a week off too so no early mornings of running around. I work in a school but I'm sure my two are far noisier than the 28 children in our class, lol!

    Enjoy the Zumba classes. I've never tried it but it looks fun.

  • i love zumba. i'm a school teacher but just do supply now so i can pick and choose when i work.

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