Surprised by diagnosis


I've just been told I have to start taking Levothyroxine, as my cholesterol came out high and my thyroid stimulating hormone is 5.74, my free thyroxine is 11.9, in a recent blood test. Slightly shocked, as I'm otherwise fairly healthy, very fit, and more under than overweight (5'7 and 58kg) - I'm 53, and having now tried to read up on symptoms, only ones I may have is I'm always cold, always have been, get tired, but thought that was normal - I do take HRT, since last year - worried this could affect the thyroid (saw there's a link between progesterone and thyroid?).

I've read a few posts on here - my Vit D is perfect, as is my iron. Had extra blood tests last week, waiting for copy of results (T3/4?).

Any advice on anything welcome, as no idea what to expect!

Also, will this drug make me put on weight? Or have horrible side effects?

8 Replies

Welcome to our forum, and you're lucky, if you're in the UK, that GP has prescribed levothyroxine. Most wait until the TSH is 10.

Once diagnosed as hypothyroid as it can be fatal if untreated we don't pay for any other medications for any other conditions. We cannot stop taking thyroid hormones.

You take levo with one full glass of water on an empty stomach, usually when we get up and wait one hour approx before eating. You can also take it at bedtime as long as you've last eaten about 3 hours before particularly if you've eaten protein.

Blood tests should always be at the very earliest, fasting (you can drink water) and allow 24 hours gap between last dose of levo and the test and take it afterwards.

As GP to also check B12, Vit D, iron, ferritin and folate.

Always get copies of your blood test results with the ranges for your own records and you can post if you have query.

Thanks very much. I'm lucky I went for a private check up, and have gone from blood test to pills in less than a week. My ferritin is 52. Vit D is 100 which is ok (I like the sun)! Will ask about folate and B12 when I go back. MY free T3 is 3.6. Hopefully get the pills today and start taking tomorrow morning. In hindsight I have a few of the symptoms, but they are very similar to menopausal symptoms. Plus I've always been cold since a child, and luckily am skinny with lots of hair, and energy.

Perhaps I'll be like superwoman once I take these, who knows. I'll read up on as much as I can. Thanks again.

Just in case you haven''t seen the 'mother' website, TUK who also have info:-

It is not a drug but a hormone that your body needs. Your cholesterol level should come down once the thyroxine gets working. When posting test results always show the ranges which are in brackets as labs. differ in their machines and samples and have different ranges.

I suggest you look at the Thyroid UK website for information.A good ,if a bit out of date , book I found in the library is " Thyroid for Dummies".

Thanks, been trying to read up, as its been very sudden. Time will tell if I feel any different as feel ok now! That's why I'm shocked. Will let you know.

The way people react to taking thyroid hormones differs a lot. Most people gain weight when they are low on thyroid hormone and some lose that weight when they are properly medicated. There are a few for whom the opposite is true.

You will have been started on a low dose and after 6-8 weeks you should be retested and your dose adjusted until your TSH result is at or below 1. Keep a record of all your results so that you can work out what is a good dose for you. Everyone is different and the amount of hormone that makes us well varies.

Most people become hypothyroid because their own body is attacking their thyroid. Your doctor should have tested you for antibodies. If you have high levels of antibodies then you will probably find that you need an increasing amount of thyroid hormone as the years go by and your thyroid gradually becomes less effective due to antibody attack.

Yes, got to go back in 6 weeks, so hopefully, it will be under control soon, thanks again.

Anecdotally, I believe exercising a lot can mask the fatigue of being hypothyroid. Hypo people can be attracted to exercise because it gives them a boost feeling, greater than what a non-hypo person would feel.

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