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Thyroid UK
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Help with elderly Mother's test results

My 91 year old Mum who has been on levothyroxine for years and is currently on 100mcg has just had test results back. Free T4 16.2 (12-22), free T3 2.6 (3.1-6.8), TSH 2.25 (0.3-4.2). The doctor said they are 'Fine'. Notes say raised FT4 and there is an exclamation mark next to the free T3 level. No significant abnormalities, no action needed. My Mum has been newly diagnosed with vascular dementia and I read that the thyroid hormones need to be optimised as that could be the cause of vascular dementia. Her levels were dropped to 75mcg in June as her TSH was 0.08 (0.3-4.2), free T4 (24.2 (12-22) and free T3 3.8 (3.1-6.8) but she was tested for thyroid without warning and had taken her levo that morning. I knew this so I have continued her levo at 100mcg. I did reduce slightly but Mum became very tired and slept most of the time so increased back up to 100mcg. I don't know what to do, the doctors just don't want to know. I have just gone onto Thiroyd myself and have breathlessness at the moment so I know its not just an easy switch. Any ideas would be appreciated. Mum is quite fit for her age but just has short term memory issues. Mum is only on levothyroxine, but I give her supplements B12, folate, vit D, etc.

6 Replies

Maybe your mum isnt on enough thyroxine to be able to convert it. She either needs some t3, more t4 or ndt although she has been able to convert in the past because her t3 was in range in june. I wonder whats stopping the conversion..... Could be low selenium levels.... Or has she lost weight? That can stop conversion.....

For my money, i would just get hold of some t3 or some ndt and not worry about why she can't convert.

what makes no sense at all is that when her free t4 showed slightly over range they reduced it. But the free t3 is now showing as under range and thats deemed ok... So what are the soddin ranges for? Grrrrrrrr....

If you are having a problem switching over to ndt, i wonder if you are on enough..... And if you have good iron levels...... I do really well on thiroyd. (3 grains) and my 82 year old mum Is also doing well on 2 grains though i have to remind her to take spa tone all the time for low iron levels.


xx. G

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Mum takes 200mcg selenium in morning. Perhaps I need to increase to 400mcg. Mum is also not eating properly, keeps saying she isn't hungry. But then I went round today, gave her some chilli, rice, broccoli and spinach, a big portion and she ate it all. I bought her fruit 4 days ago and after I hadn't been able to visit for 4 days due to flu she hadn't touched any. Perhaps I could add some NDT say half a grain of Thiroyd to her levo say every other day. I am not sure of the conversion of the Thailand Thiroyd to levo? My serum ferritin is at 65 (12-230). I seem to be breathing deeper than normal for some reason and don't feel as though I am getting enough air. Just getting over the flu as well its not a nice feeling. Its good to know that you are doing well on Thiroyd and your Mum. The doctors are quick to reduce but to get them to increase again is difficult. My hair has nearly gone, broken off and fallen out and at 58 I was told what to expect at my age! How come my friends the same age have lovely thick hair. Makes you mad. Having to go to the hairdressers tomorrow to have it cut short as I look like my daughters witches mask! Got to laugh about it otherwise I will cry! x


Apparantly 200 mcg of selenium is all that's needed.... No point in over doing it.....

There isnt really a direct conversion between thiroyd and levothyroxine because they aren't the same medication. Although 1 grain ( 1 60 mg tablet) is reckoned to be equal to somewhere betwneen 65 and 100 of levo. Here's a link to an explanation of why they aren't really the same.....http://thyroid-s.com/natural-desiccated-thyroid-and-synthetic-are-not-the-same/

Sorry to hear about the hair, but have it cut short and just wear more make up..... Its really liberating having it cropped off. Mine is currently chin length but i have been toying with the idea of a really short crop..... Plenty of women have short crops through choice and i think if you are in your late 50's its ok to just be a bit.... Err i dont know... Individual? ( I too am 58 ).

My mum doesnt eat properly, but i cant moan because i am guilty of undereating too... I am terrible at eating regularly. Doesnt mean i get thin though :-(

The air hunger is a symptom of under medication..... Hiw much are you currently taking?

Xx g


Are you sure she's remembering to take her Levothyroxine every day? Whose responsibility is it for her to take it every day? With some elderly, the medication is given once a week (700 mcg at one time) because that way it is 'known' that the correct amount has been taken and it is not left up to the patient.

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The levo is in with her supplements and I ring her every day to make sure she has taken it. She used to take it when she got up but since my Dad died a few years ago she was forgetting or even taking two. It seems to work with her supplements. Its difficult as I don't live nearby. Not sure how else to do it.


Yes, I think she's not taking it regularly because her blood test results at this dose were at huge variance to what they are now. You are in a difficult situation. If they have some sort of support service that comes out daily, then that can help to ensure the tablets are being taken.

Over here they make 'bubble' sheets with a patient's medication. Is that available in the U.K.? It's sort of a variant on the 'unit dose' system that is used in hospital to ensure that patients get their meds and not overdose either.

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