Thyroid UK
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Does my nan have thyroid problem

My nan has had a multitude of symptoms most prominently since jan 2012 when the hospital diagnosed her with mild vascular dementia due to the memory loss and ignored all of the other symptoms which had started at the same time. The symptoms included extreme sensitivity to the cold, night sweats, muscle and joint aches and pains all over her body, extreme fatigue, lethargy, loss of appetite and nausea, apathy and depression, dizziness and a loss of balance causing her to lean to one side and multiple falls where she fell backwards. She had tingling in her arms and legs, said she felt like she had a lump in her throat, developed low sodium, and her blood pressure went low after always being high, she had palpitations, said it hurt when she tried to think, and her skin was really dry. She also had digestive issues with delayed gastric emptying and gastro reflux, and constipation. Since then all of the symptoms have persisted and gotten worse and now her hair is falling out as well and her nails are becoming brittle and she says the lump in her throat is worse.

She was admitted to hospital last week as slept for 39 hours, we asked them to check her thyroid, they said it was normal, they checked tsh, t3 and t4 but not antibodies.

Am i insane for still thinking there is an undiagnosed issue, as all of her symptoms fit, but no doctor we have met will listen.

Please help.

9 Replies

It would be a good idea to get her checked for Addison's disease. The low sodium, low blood pressure, dry skin, reflux and constipation can all be symptoms.

You are not insane. There is clearly something very wrong and testing for Addison's would be the first step in getting to the bottom of it.

Can you also get a copy of your nan's thyroid results? It would be interesting to see them. There may be an indicator there of what is going on. "Normal" is a very wide range and what is normal for one person isn't normal for another.

Best wishes to your nan.

Carolyn x


Hi Carolyn. Thank you for your reply, i am going into the hospital this afternoon so i will ask them for the test results and ranges. I agree it does sound like it could be addisons as when she was admitted to hospital after sleeping for 39 hours last week she was on antibiotics for a water infection, so she might not have had enough cortisol in her body to cope with being unwell. The only thing now is getting a doctor to agree to run a test, they all look at me strangely when i start askig for tests and usually make excuses and say they are uneccessary. I wish there was a thyroid clinic in the uk that you could just walk into and get the tests done.

Best wishes



Hi Sarah, do you know what antibiotics she was on.? If it was Trimethoprim they could well have lowered her adrenal glands. I have been suffering for the past five years and will be seeing a consultant at the end of this month to, hopefully, get a definite answer to my problems. To me they feel as if I have gone right back to how I was feeling after a sub-total thyroidectomy and left untreated for 19 years. Hope you find an answer for your Nan soon. Janet.


Hi Janet, funny you say that she was on trimethroprim actually, after 5 days she seemed to be getting worse so we thought that it wasnt working and she was switched to cefalexin, but then the next day she just wouldnt wake up. And she was on trimethroprim last year in september when we came down one morning and she was starring up at the ceiling unresponsive, so the hospital thought she might have sepsis, even though she had no temp, and treated her for 14 days with iv fluids and iv antibiotics.

We were only saying the ther day we didnt like the trimethroprim because every time she is on it she gets really ill, but we just thought that it was because it was rubbish and wasnt working.

I really hope you get some answers when you see the consultant and hope you are feeling better soon.

Thankyou for your reply and letting me know about the trimethroprim.

Best wishes



Any tests she gets make sure you get copies or make a record. I think the hospitals are in meltdown in the uk and are quick to use the Liverpool Care Scheme.

Unlike care homes they don't have to write up a care plan.

See if you can get any notes from the gp if they have done anything ever.

Good luck.


Is it worth asking for B12 test as well? Low B12 is very common as you get older and can cause some of the symptoms mentioned,

Good idea about the thyroid clinic. I hope you get to the bottom of it soon. She is very lucky to have a grand daughter like you to look out for her when there seems to be such rigidity in the system.


Tried to get the thyroid results yesterday but the dr wasnt on the ward so i asked the nurse and she said she had never looked at those type of results before so said she would let me know today what they were. So i will try again today.


Hi Sarah,

I just wanted to wish you well on your quest,it is lovely to know that your Nan has someone fighting her corner,keep at it Sarah get them to do all the tests needed.Let us all know how you get on,because I know that you will win in the end.

Kind regards wakeham.


Hi everyone, thankyou for your messages. I have just been into the hospital and after telling me that had tested tsh t3 and t4 it turns out when you ask themwhat the results are they have only tested tsh and assumed the others were normal as tsh was normal.

The dr said tsh was 1.02 and their range is 0.4 to 4.5


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