Thyroid function "normal" but symptoms seem to fit hypothyroidism

Hi everyone

In 2012, I had half of my thyroid gland removed because the surgeon suspected a PARAthyroid gland he was trying to remove might be inside the thyroid gland (it wasn't!). Recently, I've been experiencing very cold hands and feet, achy/stiff fingers and toes, fatigue and pins & needles in my arms and legs. After a lot of googling, I asked my dr to check my thyroid function which he declined at first but when a bunch of other tests (full blood count, calcium, iron, glucose etc) came back normal, he relented.

The values are:

TSH: 2.83 (0.1 - 4)

FT4: 12.9 (8 - 20)

2 months after the surgery where they removed half my thyroid they were:

TSH: 1.64 (0.1 - 4)

FT4: 14.2 (8 - 20)

And a year before the surgery they were:

TSH: 0.815 (0.1 - 4)

FT4: 14.4 (8 - 20)

So as you can see, TSH is gradually increasing. My GP refuses to treat me because he says the values are within range and therefore it can't be hypothyroidism. He suggested I might have depression which I strongly refuted. He has now ordered some tests for antibodies (but I don't think it's for thyroid antibodies specifically).

My question is, does this sound like the progression of thyroid disease to anyone? I know there is a large range of TSH values between people, but is there a lot of variability in the same person or are the values consistent over time?

I am sick of battling my GP on this. Should I carry on or am I barking up the wrong tree?

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6 Replies

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  • Yes, it does sound and look like a progression. Some countries would treat you with a tsh of 2.5 and others treat at 3. Unfortunately the uk are practising in the dark ages and you have to battle it out to get any treatment at all.....

    Ok, so the doctor is pushing for depression, ( he gets paid ,more for diagnosing depression than he does for thyroid)..... The question you want him to answer, is... "Is this a differential diagnosis?" To arrive at a conclusion of depression he should consider first, everything else it could possibly be...... This is going to cost him a fortune in tests and time...... Probably easier to actually trial you on thyroid meds... :-). Here is some info.... Taken from emedicine.medscape.com/arti...

    The differential diagnosis for depression includes a wide variety of medical disorders, such as the following:

    Central nervous system diseases (eg, Parkinson disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis, neoplastic lesions)

    Endocrine disorders (eg, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism)

    Drug-related conditions (eg, cocaine abuse, side effects of some CNS depressants)

    Infectious disease (eg, mononucleosis)

    Sleep-related disorders

  • thank you, such a helpful reply!

    I will definitely go back to my GP armed with this new information about depression. I'm also considering ordering the BH thyroid tests for antibodies.

  • Once you know whether antibodies are involved you will be able to work out if the thyroid stuff is going to improve on its own, or if its likely to get worse..... Should Really be down to your doc to test, but as yours doesnt sound particularly helpful, private testing is probably your best bet.

    My mum's doctor wouldnt treat her despite a tsh over 30.. She wanted to wait and see. Mum meantime was dying. Private testing showed high antibodies so this gave mum the confidence to self treat...... In her 80's she said she hasn't got time for the docs experimentation.

    I would get testing done before approaching the doctor, but i have little faith in the medics. However, yours might be more helpful than the ones i have come accross.

    Good luck!

    G

  • Ask him to do a blood test for depression. He will laugh, and say, but there isn't a blood test for depression! (You silly little woman!) So, then you say, so, how do you know I've got depression? He will say, by the symptoms. So, you say, but depression is a symptom of low thyroid. So, how do you know I've not got low thyroid if I've got the symptoms? This discussion could be kept up for a long, long time, going round and round in circles, with heap of variations, until he finally gives up and agrees to a trial of thyroid hormone. Well, that's the theory, anyway. :)

  • I have now had both halved of my thyroid removed, and was very hypo in between with only half. I found they really fobbed me off. I was finally given levo, with the attitude of someone really humouring me as I already had the completion op lined up. I've now seen the test results and found that I had a TSH of 6-ish! Doctors seem to firmly believe that anyone with half a thyroid must be fine.

    I think it's clear your thyroid is declining. That pre-operation blood test is absolute gold dust, as it means you know what is normal for you. Without it you would never know the doctors aren't right when they try to bamboozle you that where you are today is normal for you.

    Unfortunately you are very unlikely to get proper help from the NHS, as they all have numbers in their heads (high ones) that they want to see before they will treat.

    If I were you I would consider self medicating. Otherwise you might be waiting years, or even forever, to get any improvement. This forum is a great help, and reading it you can learn everything you need to know. Start taking your pulse and temperature several times a week on waking to get you ready to start!

  • Hi,

    My thyroid hormone tests are always normal. I started self-medicating last year, & my body temperature has increased from 35.1 to 35.7. Still below normal, but I'm not permanently cold, ill. & sluggish.

    M*

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