Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Something new to blog about.

Boys and girls, it's good to get an annual physical.
What the hell do I know anyway? All my concentration and recources are on brain stuff - psychopharmacology, psychiatric disorder, et cetera. The body is a very complicated thing, after all. Full of, well, innards. And junk. All wrapped up in each other, and who knows what all that stuff does or how it works. So, but, over the past three to five years, I've noticed some things that I chalked up to menopause stuff, even though most of my friends pointed out that I was way, way to young to have menopausal symptoms. I don't know if I'm menopausal because I had an operation 3 years ago to get rid of my periods, and it worked.

And then, there's the cold thing. I've always tended to have a core temperature that is a degree lower than "average". Over the past few months, especially, I was freezing. I just figured it was the new house, the new house was chilly. I didn't say anything because everything else was so perfect. I bought new slippers and tightened the belt on my robe and cranked up the thermostat even though, normally, I like the cold.

And then. The past six month, my weight has skyrocketed. I mean that the struggle I've had with my metabolism has gotten increasingly bad, but much more so in the past six months. I was naturally hyper and more-or-less thin most of my life, until about the last couple years. I decided that since I was older, I needed to eat less. And, I've gotten slower. Not just running, I FELT slower. and old. I've been complaining to Baboo that I've just felt so OLD. I chalked that one up to being middle-aged, too. Who wouldn't? Everything could be explained away, I figured, by me being lazy or old.

So then, today, I had my annual physical. Of interest to my doc, who has known me for nearly 10 years, was the results of my thyroid hormone test. The "normal" range, depending on the lab, is between .5 and 5, or .3 and 3. Mine was 8. Apparently, that is high. By some inverse relationship, that indicates low thyroidism. Cause, unknown. Follow-up work is ordered by my doc. I will follow-up, probably on my lunch hour tomorrow. Treatment, by the way, is simple, and effective, and not at all dramatic.

Meanwhile, get that physical, if you've been putting it off. Now. No, NOW. Who knows what your little aches, pains and annoyances might mean.



  1. My wife's dealing with that thing. Hope you see great results from treatment!

  2. Anonymous3:39 AM

    I'm glad you got it checked out. And hopefully the treatment has you feeling more like yourself!

  3. I hope that low thyroidism isn't serious. Honestly I have been putting off that mammogram, I'll call today!

  4. Yes, annual physicals + see the doctor when you feel "wrong".

    Here's hoping that the follow-ups go well, and you can get back on track in no time.

  5. I've been going through this since 2005. Same sort of symptoms - I actually gained 20 pounds while training for a half marathon. Sheesh! Anyhoo, now I get to have quarterly visit to the lab and doc to make sure things stay where they're supposed to. HOWEVER, I just read something very interesting in Christiane Northrup's book The Wisdom of Menopause, which has given me some hope. They are finding that wacked out thyroids are quite common during perimenopause and that many women can actually get off the meds once through that stage of their life. Gives me hope that one day I'll be able to go back to annual physicals.

  6. My boss was just telling me how she went through the same thing. She's on some hypothyroid meds now, and her weight is dropping quite a bit. The worst side effect is that she has trouble sleeping. Thanks for posting... can't remember the last time I had a physical. Need to get on that.

  7. Anonymous8:32 AM

    Um. dang girl...8?? You're pretty tough! I looked back at my old bloodwork results. Two weeks after my thyroid was removed and the medicine hadn't kicked in, mine was at 7.3...and I felt like total crap (zombie-like, crying, heavy)!! I did have a cool, raspy, Demi Moore-ish voice though ;-)

    Glad you went to the doc :)

  8. Good thing your Dr. is smart enough to look at your thyroid levels. I went round and round with mine-knowing something was off kilter and then finally got another Dr. who diagnosed Graves disease.
    Thyroid stuff CAN make you winded, slow, tired, irritable-have mood swings, etc. etc. Glad you are going to get it taken care of!
    Oh- and if you have to go on thyroid meds, I recommend Armour thyroid-natural and not synthetic.
    The synthetic stuff made me crazy.

  9. You're too young to feel old, that's for sure. I'm glad there's a simple fix.

  10. Ditto on what Fe-Lady said. Start w/ Armour. I have been dealing with this for 8 years. I took 2 of the synthetic ones, made me crazy too.
    Also, I just had mine removed, so I am waiting to see how I do now.
    "Cindy" I would love to know how long you have been w/o your thyroid and how you are doing.

  11. Anonymous12:29 PM

    The problem is that many doctors will not treat the patient with T4 [Syntroid]until the TSH is over 10. The most common cause for hypothyroidism in the U.S. is autoimmune thyroiditis, therefore get your TPO antiubodies measured. Best of luck

  12. Aren't you so glad that you went in? It's so easy just to "put off" that annual physical and your situation again proves why we need to go to them! Good luck and let us know what happens!

  13. I really identified with this line, "Everything could be explained away, I figured, by me being lazy or old." It reminded me of the time I let my weight get in the way of a diagnosis.

    During a random Wednesday, I noticed that I was really winded walking to and from the parking lot at work. I chalked it up to being fat and out of shape...I thought I really needed to get back to the gym. That weekend I was still having trouble breathing so I went to the ER. Turns out I had multiple bilateral pulmonary emboli (blood clots in my lungs).

    So I'll second your request to people to not put of a physical. There could be things wrong that aren't your fault at all!

  14. Anonymous3:54 PM

    (geekgirl, hope you don't mind me using your comment space)

    kj - I had it removed in July 2005 and am doing great! It took a few weeks to determine the right dosage after surgery. I felt sluggish and really tired during that time, but once we got the medicine right (I'm on Synthroid) I felt fine. I have bloodwork done every 6 months now. My numbers stayed good until my last checkup a few weeks ago, where I was a bit "hypo" so my doc increased the dosage.

    my email is clwilliamsvb@yahoo.com if you have any other questions.

    Hope you're doing well since your sugery :)

  15. Oh I am so pleased you've had that diagnosis - hypothyroidism is so easy to treat and OMG you will Not Know Yourself in a few weeks. I've been on thryoid medication for quite a few years (not to show off, but my tht was 120, eek!) and as long as I take it, and watch my hydration in the hot weather I feel fine. Another thing - hypothyroidism is associated with low mood/depression. That's one of the things I keep track of to indicate I might need my thyroid medication tweaked. Look forward to an even more cheery frame of mind soon!

  16. Welcome to hypothyroid land. Take your thyroid medicine on an empty stomach and glass of water first thing in morning. If you are a soy eater, you might want to re-think that. Google hypothyroid and soy and goitrogens.

  17. Getting diagnosed with hypothyroidism was what led me to running in the first place (after gaining a ton of weight quickly and inexplicably).

    Also chiming in with the others that recommend Armour Thyroid as opposed to Synthroid - but be aware that many docs won't prescribe it - they've been brainwashed by drug companies to believe that synthetic is better.

    In any case, you'll be feeling better when you get meds, although it takes time to find the right dose!

  18. Welcome to the club! (it's huuuge - seriously, the diagnoses are climbing and there are even more undiagnosed) I'm another who was hypo for a number of years - now without thyroid for almost 3 years due to thyroid cancer. I hit 94 TSH after removal, but that was intentional and required for part of the treatment....and boy did it suck so amazingly, it made me really grasp how much the body affects mood, cognitive ability. I was in a bad state. I do know someone who was TSH=88 at diagnosis - and she only got tested because I told her to. I had a tougher time getting to a good dose before the cancer (hypo due to Hashimoto's, which is the autoimmune disorder to which another poster referred), and an even tougher time after the surgery. We changed my dose every 8 weeks for almost a year and a half before we could get to a level the doc and I agreed on.

    A test for the auto-immune antibodies would be informative for your reference so you can keep an eye out for other AI conditions, but the result won't change how your hypo is treated. (hypo=low, hyper=high)
    Your hormones have sort of a balancing act going on (and female hormones interact w/ thyroid hormones)...TSH is the substance that your body puts out asking for more thyroid hormone from your thyroid - so if your TSH is high, that means your body is yelling at your thyroid to make/send more hormone, ergo hypothyroid. Thyroid hormone regulates your metabolism, thus some of the issues with cold, weight gain, etc. When I was extremely hypo, my heart rate slowed significantly.

    You're very fortunate your doc tested for it, kudos to her/him. Very often women are blown off when they go in with your symptoms, especially once you're over 35 or 40 (it's put off to age, stress, female changes). Once you get back down to a level that's better for you, you will likely feel much better.

    I take Synthroid and Cytomel, and they've worked for me, though if they stopped working I'd probably consider Armour. I know folks who prefer it. Some folks do better on Armour, which some docs don't want to rx - some do fine on the synthetics. (some people feel very strongly one way or the other this issue, btw - which is fine except if it's your doc and they don't respect how you feel about it - having to change docs due to treatment approach conflict of one type or another is common with thryoid patients) I'd suggest staying away from generics, however (ask your doc to check the "brand medically necessary" option) as their quality control appears problematic and thus the meds are a bit variable, which you want to avoid.

    Second what Kim said on the timing AND the soy (soy isn't the only goitrogen, btw). Things that will decrease your absorption include coffee, calcium, antacids, iron (and you know calcium and iron fight each other for absorption). Makes for a "fun" schedule taking the drug and supplements, but you'll get a routine down. Take the med at the same time every day, with plenty of water. My theory is, find what works for you and then be stable with it so you don't thrash your levels.

    FWIW (your mileage may vary), here's my routine, for a number of years now:
    5a - wake up, take Synthroid and Cytomel (and other stuff like birth control, allergy meds)
    Go back to sleep until I need to get up to work out (maybe an hour). Work out, usually just with water.
    No earlier than 6 (unless I'm desperate and have swig of Red Bull) - coffee w/ 2T fat free half and half, breakfast (no yogurt or cereal w/ milk - oatmeal usually).
    Early afternoon after lunch - 500mg calcium citrate & vitamin D.
    Evening after dinner but NOT after 10pm - 500mg calcium citrate & vitamin D.
    I don't take supplemental iron or multi, just individual vitamins (B, C) as I need. I don't worry about the calcium and iron in food fighting with each other too much as I don't eat anything rich in iron before lunch.

    One tip - when I travel, I set my watch alarm to 5a at home and just work around taking the med then. I've only had to take it as early as 2a, so I don't know how it would work if I went to Hawaii! It's easier than feeling off because I shifted meds an hour or two - unless you're my husband, who has a hard time getting back to sleep once he wakes up to my alarm.

    Feel free to ask questions and if I can try to help, I will.

    If I might ask.....how did you get your periods stopped? I'm convinced I'm perimenopausal and hating it with plenty of issues, and I'm ready to be done with the whole thing already, so I'm curious!

    Best wishes on a swift return to your normal......

  19. excellent news (that you have a diagnosis that is).
    Hypothyroidism can be compensated for well, thankfully.
    hope your road to feeling young and fast is swift!!

  20. Yes, welcome to the hypothyroid club from one more person! I'd also highly recommend Armour over the synthetics; it especially helped me with clearing the brain fog and extreme fatigue and sleepiness. One more thing--I'd caution you against thinking that being "treated" and having your TSH levels go back down to normal will help you lose weight. Most people don't find that to be true, which is my case as well. In fact, I just had my doc tell me that a calorie load of 1200 kcal/day (and gaining or not losing) was very typical for a female hypo patient of my age and size (33/5'4"/140ish). In any case, good luck!!!

  21. Now you know what it is and how to fix it; good news!

  22. THanks for all the well-wishes. I'll be posting updates as a sort of PSA thing. I'm looking forward to feeling like my old self again.

  23. Rhaaaaa! I'm so glad you got this figured out. I was diagnosed with hypothroidism due to epstein barr syndrome when I was a kid. I was swollen, irritable, cold and hungry, sleeping all the time and couldn't concentrate. If you are diagnosed, you'll feel a difference right away. Wheee! New outlook for Misty.

  24. Bet you'll feel 100% better w/medication!


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