thyroid - how to diagnose?


Iam new to this site but hope I could get some help on my problem.

I think I may have a thyroid problem, or have had one for a long time.

There is family history of thyroid issues in my family and my mum had an under-active thyroid when she was a teenager and in her 20s. (I'm 22). My mum thought her problems came back a year ago but when she went to the GP, all they did was a simple blood test which didn't show anything and the doctor closed the case completely denying she had thyroid problems. I've been reluctant to go to the doctor because of this but cannot ignore this any longer as it's really affecting me.

My hair is falling out, I don't have any major weight changes but maybe because the metabolism in my family has always been great and I have quite a healthy diet. I have been having awful mood swings and can lash out at anyone without any cause or reason as I'm overly and extremely irritable. The main reason because of which I'm suspecting this to be connected to my thyroid is because I can feel tightness in my throat (quite often recently) and I can see my gland to be a little bit larger than it should be. My period is irregular and can be absent for up to 4 months, I have some bone or joint pains which I read and was told could be caused by thyroid problems, I can be extremely tired and dopey regardless if I sleep 8 hours or 12, never seems to be enough. My brain seems to be slow at times, I forget words and have problems focusing in class (at uni), I am extremely sensitive to cold and my skin has become very dry and scaly (I have to exfoliate every day and even that doesn't help). Some days, especially around autumn last year my face was often puffy and swollen.

This originally started around autumn 2013 but because it slowly became better (or maybe I learned to live with it) I didn't seek medical attention (also because GP doctors have never been helpful in my case or my mum's or even my friends' - I have been scared to go to GP and leave with nothing). However recently, since this summer, it has been getting worse and coming back therefore I know I can't ignore it anymore. Does this sound like something related to a thyroid illness? And if so - could someone please tell me what tests need to be run to determine and diagnose it? Last month when my mum went to a GP doctor with back pain, he looked at her blood results from a year ago and said she was fine. She forced him to give her an Xray and then had to go to multiple other doctors to read it. I'm terrified of being given the wrong treatment or no treatment at all. Any help? What do I do if my blood results come back normal?

5 Replies

  • Both your mother and yourself should make an appointment with your GP due to the fact that thyroid gland dysfunctions are common in your family. Some things do run in families and GPs should take note of the family history.

    What you both need is a Full Thyroid Function test. This is a link:

    You will see you need a TSH, T4, Free T4 and Free T3. Also ask for Vitamin B12, Vit D, iron, ferritin and folate.

    Make the blood tests as early as possible and fast (you can drink water). If your mother takes levo allow a 24 hours gap approx between the last dose and the blood test.

    If your GP refuses you can have a private blood test from one of our recommended labs.

    Some doctors don't diagnose unless the TSH reaches 10. Some will prescribe if it's around 5 with symptoms but some members have had to source their own hormones.

    Always get a print-out of your blood test results with the ranges for your own records and so that you can post if you have a query.


  • Thank you so much, I will make an appointment tomorrow and let you know how it goes. I know very little about thyroid dysfunctions apart from a few symptoms therefore this helped a lot.

  • I suspect the only test this GP has done is TSH which is totally inadequate and even useless if you have central hypothyroid /2ndary hypothyroid

    Its vital that


    Free t4

    Free t3




    Vit d3

    Are all tested because they are closely interelated and must all be optimal not just in range

    much of this is not taught in med school and the NHS labs often refuse to do tests ordered by a gp

    Pernicous aneamia can easily mask as hypothyroid hence why b12 levels are a vital test

  • Thank you, yes,my mum was prescribed vit D3 as her levels were very low so now I know it could have been closely related. Will make sure to get an appointment tomorrow.

  • Be sure to be armed with copies of research to prove what i have said

    Both on and on theres lots of research papers

    Also a search on Google Scholar using terms like ferritin+hypothyroid will yield more too

    Sometimes you need to take the most relative ones underline any criyical points and say to the GP i will leave this with you and come back in 2 weeks when you have had chance to read it

    Central Hypothyroid is a vital bit which many GPs and even endos think is so rare as to mot even exist yet 5 out of the 6 Hashimotos Hypothyroid in my family are all central hypothyroid rather than primary hypothyroid where the TSH rises

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