New to Thyroid - GP says my TSH is above normal

Hi everyone,

I'm new to thyroid issues so looking for some help. I came down with Viral Meningitis in July, and after starting to feel good I came down with extreme fatigue about 6 weeks ago along with muscle weakness and bloating/digestion issues. I am extremely fatigued all the time and have been off work since.

My GP did some blood tests and along with a low immune system and white blood cell count, he noticed that my TSH was 'borderline' - it's 6.54.

Also if this means anything to you, my free T4 level was 11, it says the normal range is 9-22 so I'm within that?

I have no experience of Thyroid, in fact I don't know anything about it, but from brief research am I right in thinking that this is probably not helping my fatigue and recovery? My GP is willing to start me on 25mg of Levothyroxine to see if this helps.

Any thoughts would be really helpful as I have know knowledge or experience of this.

Thanks,

Joe

4 Replies

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  • Welcome to the forum, Jcrome.

    TSH of 6.53 can certainly be the reason for your recent symptoms of fatigue, muscle weakness and bloating. TSH is a pituitary hormone which rises in response to low circulating hormone to prompt the thyroid gland to produce more T4 for conversion to the active hormone T3. So, TSH rises in response to low FT4.

    25mcg is a very low dose and may not help much. It will take 7/10 days to build up in your system before you feel any improvement. Have a follow up thyroid blood test in 4/6 weeks as your dose needs to be increased until your TSH is just above or below 1.0. Make sure the blood is drawn early in the morning when TSH is highest. Ask your GP if thyroid peroxidase and thyroglobulin antibodies can be tested to rule out or confirm autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto's).

    Take your Levothyroxine with a full glass of water on an empty stomach one hour before or two hours after food and drink, two hours away from other medication and supplements and four hours away from calcium, iron and oestrogen.

    Ask your GP to test ferritin, vitamin D, B12 and folate as hypothyroid patients are often deficient/low and these deficiencies can cause musculoskeletal pain, fatigue and low mood similar to hypothyroid symptoms. Post your results with the lab ref ranges (the figures in brackets after your results) in a new question and members will advise whether supplementation is required.

    Gluten-free diet is often helpful in reducing bloating, gas and constipation. If you do have Hashimoto's it can also reduce antibodies and flare ups.

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/about_...

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/about_...

  • Do not take your levo the night before or on the morning of your blood test. Get the blood test as early as possible in the day and take your levo afterwards. I agree that you should also ask for antibody tests and ferritin, folate and B12 and Vit D.

    I got rid of antibodies by going onto a gluten and lacto free diet. Hope you soon feel a bit better. Any type of meningitis will have knocked the stuffing out of you!

  • Why is it that doctors are now using 25mcg as a starting dose. That's about the dose to give a large cat. Even my stand-in GP, who got shouted at, started me on 50mcg.

    Ask your doctor to test your iron, folate, ferritin, Vit d and Vit B12 levels. Hypo people are often deficient in one or more and they need to be well in range, not just bottom, for meds to work properly.

    Get into the habit of always asking for a printout of your results, with ranges.

  • Thank you everyone for your responses - really helpful for a newbie like me!

    I had no idea about the vitamin levels, I'll ask gp for a bloodtest to look into this and also the antibody test. Really appreciate your advice as without this I wouldn't have known what to ask for.

    Does anyone know - I am wondering how long my thyroid has been underactive - I didn't feel fatigued or unwell until my meningitis hit in July, which has caused my body and mind a lot of stress, can this sort of thing trigger a thyroid problem?

    Thanks

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