Thyroid UK

Thyroid Problem Diagnosis

Hi all.

I've recently had a thyroid test done that has come back abnormal. I had an appointment with my GP who tells me that the test shows I have an overactive thyroid but my symptoms fit more into the underactive category.

I have to have another test next week to recheck but can anyone give any explanation on this or has it happened to anyone else?

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Symptoms are often not straightforward. Some people feel wired when hyper, others exhausted. Some people have increased appetite, others don't want to eat etc.

Do you have a copy of your results? It might help to see them.

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I would bet your doctor has just tested TSH, but you'd need to get a hold of the results to be sure what tests were actually done. You are entitled to them legally, so ask the receptionists (take identification) but be aware you might have to pay for paper and ink. They might not print them immediately, so be prepared to go back for them the next day.

With a low TSH and no other information then you could have hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid).

Or you could have secondary or tertiary hypothyroidism - a less common version of underactive thyroid in which your pituitary isn't producing enough TSH (secondary) or alternatively your hypothalamus isn't producing enough TRH (tertiary). Under those circumstances even the healthiest thyroid in the world wouldn't produce enough thyroid hormones.

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Or you might have Hashi's, and be in the middle of a 'hyper' swing. Only testing the antibodies will tell you that.

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Ooh, I forgot that one!

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:D

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Hi humanbean

I got a print out of my results today and they show:

Free T3 to follow

Serum TSH Level 0.07mu/L

Serum free T4 level 20 pmol/L

Any ideas?

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Do you have the reference ranges for those results? They would look something like :

TSH 0.07 mu/L (0.2 - 4.5) or something like that

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Ref ranges are

TSH - (0.35 - 5.00)

T4 Level - (9-19)

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Serum TSH Level 0.07mu/L (0.35 - 5.00)

Serum free T4 level 20 pmol/L (9 - 19)

T3 to follow

Well, based on the information you've given you are showing very, very slight signs of hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). Getting a Free T3 result would help confirm (or otherwise) the results you have.

Given the results so far it is not likely that you have secondary or tertiary hypothyroidism (2 conditions I mentioned above), so forget about those.

If you have symptoms indicative of underactive thyroid rather than overactive thyroid, then I think it is most likely that greygoose 's suggestion is correct and that you have autoimmune hypothyroidism.

90% of hypothyroidism cases are autoimmune in origin. You would need to have thyroid antibodies tested to be sure. If you got a positive result that would make the diagnosis certain. If you got a negative result you might find that you get a positive result another time. So a positive result for thyroid antibodies is definite, and a negative result may change at any time. Antibody numbers and activity fluctuate, sometimes quite dramatically.

When thyroid antibodies are very active they attack the cells of the thyroid and damage/kill them. When the thyroid cells die they release any thyroid hormone they contain into the body and bloodstream. This shows up in blood tests as high Free T4 and high Free T3. The body reacts to the high Free T4 and high Free T3 by reducing TSH. When the antibody activity dies down your Free T4 and Free T3 will drop and your TSH will rise.

This is why autoimmune hypothyroidism is so unpleasant. People can switch from hypothyroidism to hyperthyroidism and back again within hours or days. Symptoms fluctuate, often wildly. Anyone on thyroid hormones for hypothyroidism, if they get tested during an autoimmune thyroid antibody attack, may get accused of taking more meds than they should, being non-compliant, the doctor basically accuses the patient of dishonesty because they don't understand autoimmune hypothyroidism (also known to many patients Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.)

Many doctors won't test antibodies on the basis that they think there is nothing that can be done about them and they don't change the treatment of thyroid disease anyway. But patients have found ways and means of reducing antibodies with diet and supplements.

Do a search for Izabella Wentz. She is a Hashi's sufferer herself. She has a website, a Facebook page, she appears on a few Youtube videos, and she has written a couple of books.

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