I'm a 57-year-old male, diagnosed with hypothyroidism in October 2015 as the result of a range of tests to identify why I had experienced several apparently "hypoglycemic" attacks during the preceding few months. Funnily enough, before my GP told me that I had an underactive thyroid, she went through the list of major symptoms, and it turned out that I wasn't experiencing a single one of them, so the diagnosis came as a complete surprise - both to me and my GP!
Anyway, I was immediately placed on 100 mg Levothyroxine, which was increased to 125 mg about 6 months later. Unfortunately, I don't have the results of any of the tests taken during that time.
Since being on Levothyroxine, I have found that I have actually started to experience a number of symptoms and health "issues", and these have steadily been getting worse. These principally include:
- Fatigue, especially in the morning. I struggle to wake up and don't feel as if I have slept at all. I also have incredibly vivid (and sometimes very disturbing) dreams - so vivid that I often feel as if I've actually been through the experience in the dream, which affects my mood accordingly.
- Inability to lose bodyfat.
- Feeling cold (especially feet and hands)
- Acid reflux. I have been diagnosed with GORD and oesophagitis, and am currently taking a double dose (2x30mg) of Lansoprazole daily, with the aim of healing the inflammation found in my oesophagus during a recent gastroscopy procedure.
- What I'm assuming is what people refer to as "brain fog". My memory and focus is often quite poor, I get words mixed up, I get a lot of headaches, I feel like I have a constantly thick head and tired eyes, and I generally don't feel "with it" - as if I'm operating in some sort of haze
and somehow detached from what is going on. I'm basically not myself!
Concerned that I was gradually getting worse and steadily going downhill, I went to see my GP in March of this year, and she ordered a number of tests. I had been on 125 mg Levo for the best part of a year when those tests were done, and the results were as follows:
Serum TSH = 2.5 [0.3 - 5.5] No biochemical evidence of primary thyroid disease. If on T4 the TSH suggests adequate treatment.
Serum vitamin B12 = 398 [190 - 800]
Calcium 2.15 [2.2 - 2.6] Low
Serum folate = 4.1 [3.0 - 17.0]
Anti-tissue transglutaminase < 4.0 [0.0 - 4.0] Negative results make Coeliac Disease unlikely.
Vitamin D = 27 [24 - 167] Vitamin D results less than 30 are consistent with Vitamin D deficiency.
As a result of the above, I my dose of Levothyroxine was increased to 150 mg and I was placed on a 6-week course of high-dose Vitamin D (1 dose of 6000 IU once a week for 6 weeks).
Unfortunately, my various symptoms and issues continued to worsen, and I had a review with my GP early in May. During the discussion with her, and having done some research, I enquired whether she thought that I may have Hashimoto's, especially given that I have had vitiligo since childhood, my mother suffered from MS and my brother has Crohn's. I also asked whether it might be the case that my body wasn't properly converting T4 to T3. My GP therefore agreed to more extensive thyroid testing, the results of which are as follows:
Serum free T4 = 15.5 [10.0 - 19.8]
Serum TSH = 2.9 [0.3 - 5.5]
Serum free T3 = 3.8 [3.5 - 6.7]
Serum thyroid peroxidase antibody concentration 422.3 [0 - 60] Above reference limit. This occurs in autoimmune thyroid disease. In euthyroid individuals, positive antibodies are associated with an increased risk of developing autoimmune thyroid disease in the future.
I returned to see my GP last week, and she said that the results were "inconclusive" with regard to the question of Hashimoto's, and that, in any case, the treatment for that would be the same as the treatment I'm already getting. However, she also said that she would like to get my TSH down to below 2.2 and my T3 (and T4?) towards the top end of the reference range. Consequently, I am now taking 200 mg Levothyroxine daily and am due to have a review with my GP towards the end of June, by which time (I'm told) I should be noticing whether the increased dose of T4 is having any positive effect. If I'm not noticing any improvement by then, the doctor has said that we should then perhaps start looking at things from a different perspective, namely the "mood" angle - which I must admit is causing alarm bells to start ringing!
I'd be very interested to know other people's take on my diagnosis and current treatment, and would greatly welcome any input from those of you who know much more about this than I do.
I'm really sorry if this has been a bit long-winded, but I felt that I needed to provide as complete a picture as possible.