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Topic: Whaddaya'll know about Thyroids, Hypothyroidism< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 21 2013, 6:09 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

First, a back-story that may or may-not be related:  This past April/May I was in Greenland for 6 weeks, 4 of them on the ice sheet in mostly below-zero temperatures.  Among the typical problems one might expect on such a journey, I suffered from really numb hands many nights, often making it uncomfortable to sleep.  I hydrated best I could, kept my blood-sugars in check as best I could (I'm a Type-1 childhood-onset Diabetic), but would still have uncomfortably numb hands when I laid down at night and awoke in the morning.  I thought maybe it was just circulation... my clothes were loose enough, but wearing 4-5 layers all day including a bib overall I thought was maybe just cutting off blood to my hands.  "It'll get better once I'm off the ice" I assured myself.

Since getting back a month ago, I've had issues.  My hands are still mildly numb all the time (not as bad as they were, but still feel it), blood-sugars running abnormally high (I've been trying to get it under control) and just feeling tired and sluggish all the time in general.

I saw my endocrinologist earlier this week, part of a regular check-up for my diabetes.  She ordered some normal blood-work labs, and a few issues came up.  First, I have slightly-low Vitamin D.  Second, slightly high cholesterol.  Third (and the most concerning, could be the cause of the first two), abnormally low thyroid levels.

She wants me to come back in a month and test again, just to make sure it wasn't an abnormal test.  Although it explains my tiredness, I hafta say I'm surprised.  I've never had issues like this.  I'm of a healthy weight, I exercise, I'm not overly stressed, I'm young (34), this came out of the blue.  Her reaction on the phone was that if the second round of tests come back positive as well, I'll start a slew of drugs she'll prescribe.  All indications online are that such thyroid drugs are a lifetime routine, you never really stop taking them.

I know virtually nothing about this.  I've been reading on the interwebs for awhile from sources I more-or-less trust, and opinions seem to vary all over about causes and treatments of a slow thyroid.  The "get skinny and don't eat like a cow" judgments don't really apply here, I'm healthy by all standard measures otherwise, short of a non-functional pancreas.  I eat very little if any junk food.  This all just seems really weird to me, and I wasn't feeling this way three months ago, before I left.

Anyhoo, I take medical advice on an internet forum with a grain of salt, but if someone knows stuff about all this and can offer information (or links to good sources to read), I'm all ears.  Fire away.

Just hoping to inform myself,

- Mike

:(


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 21 2013, 9:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My mom had/has thyroid problems.  If I remember, it's genetic/hereditary.  Can be treated with meds.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 22 2013, 1:27 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hmmm.  I don't have anything useful for you, but this is interesting to me.  My hubby (also a type I diabetic, healthy and fit), also has low vitamin D and elevated cholesterol.  I know his dad had thyroid issues, and so does his sister and a couple of his nieces.  He has an excellent doctor who is very familiar with that family history (having also treated most of those family members), but now I have to wonder whether Tim's thyroid levels have been checked recently.  I've never realized those things can all be linked. Something to look into on Monday.

I don't know anything about what causes thyroid problems, but I do know my relatives have all felt much better very soon after starting the medication...like a night and day difference.  I understand very well that another chronic condition is not happy news, but the treatment for this one is relatively simple I think.  I hope you're feeling better soon.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 22 2013, 9:07 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It is very much genetic. My great grandmother was one of the fist people ever to get her thyroid chemically removed at the mayo clinic. She had to drink some radio active stuff they handed her in a cup, (wearing full body suits and gloves mind you). My grandmother and mother both took meds for a period of time, until they reached menopause.

I was on meds from age 18 until my first pregnancy for hypothyroidism. My levels were borderline, but it was worth it to me because I was freezing cold and soo tired all the time. I had such a pronounced thyroid, I had a scan on it done, but I got to keep it and never had to have surgery.

My pregnancy hormones actually "fixed" the problem and I have not been hypo since. (Though I did end up with high cholesterol, blood pressure, and gestational diabetes with BOTH pregnancies, go figure).

I do get my thyroid checked once a year and was warned I might be hypo again at some point in the future when I am past my childbearing years.

Bottom line is it is also hormonal related (at least in women)


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 22 2013, 10:13 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Mike, as you know, I do not have a medical background, but I do have a little experience in dealing with someone who had abnormally low thyroid levels.   I say, "dealing with", because it can do some rather unpleasant things to you physically and emotionally.   It is great that you are addressing this early.  Denial is horrible!  I agree with Van, there is a night/day difference in how one feels (and behaves) after beginning the meds.   It is my understanding that the meds will be forever.    I wonder if putting yourself in physical stress on the ice could have triggered it?   Then again, it could just be a coincidence.  

Did you find this document?  Thyroid Function Tests


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 22 2013, 10:31 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Caveat emptor: This is not medical advice, nor should it substitute for the opinion of a qualified physician. :p

Gotta admit, I'm not that surprised. The most common causes of Type I are autoimmune disorders, and if you have one autoimmune problem you're likely to have another. The prevalence of hypothyroidism is pretty high in the Type I population. (It also causes worsening glycemic control and elevated cholesterol numbers, so those should resolve once your replacement hormone levels get worked out.)

"Lifestyle" is not generally the cause of it, nor can you typically improve it with exercise, diet, etc, so there's not really anything you could have done to avoid it. (It's like saying you could have avoided your Type I DM.)

And, yep, once you're on T4(levothyroxine) you're on it for life. At least it's cheap and easy and has very few side-effects since it's just replacing the hormone your thyroid's not cranking out any more.

(PM if you want sources...I'm pretty sure mine are reliable.  :;):  )
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 24 2013, 12:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks, everyone. I'm reading it all.

Doing some diet changes right now, upping my exercise, trying to see if anything makes a difference at all when I get retested in a month.  If levels are improving I might try to approach it that way before taking the drugs, which (according to personal friends who've struggled with it themselves) aren't entirely without side effects, especially if the exact levels aren't dialed in right.

If nothing's improved when I get retested, I have some thinking to do.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 24 2013, 11:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm not a doctor, I haven't even slept in a motel room in the last 7 months.

All I have to say is take care of yourself. Dave


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 28 2013, 11:28 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Something that might help is taking a few iodine/kelp tablets a day.  I've been following a cardiologist's web sight where he writes about his work, and where he began asking patients to supplement with iodine to improve thyroid health.  What he found with most taking iodine is improved cholesterol numbers, feeling warmer in ones extremities such as hands, and improved thyroid testing numbers.      

One of Dr. Davis's writing on iodine and thyroid health.

"An Iodine Primer"

http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2012/07/an-iodine-primer/
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 03 2013, 6:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Huh.  I'm taking a Thyroid supplement already, I think it's got quite a bit of iodine in it.  But I'll double-check at home.  Thanks for the link.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 19 2013, 7:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I had my thyroid removed in 08, so I've been popping Levothyroxine ever since. It's a cheap scrip.
Also, you talked about Vitamin D. Most of us think that the sun will get us all the D we need, and that is true in the summer, but in the winter, the low angle of the sun means that we are not getting the D we need, and unlike a lot of vitamins, adequate levels of D have been shown to be important.
As an aside, when I started taking 1000 IU daily of D on recommendation of my oncologist, it held the line on my tumor growth for an entire year. Not sure what relevance this has to your situation, but thought it worth mentioning.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 19 2013, 11:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Mike, I hate to say this.  It looks like it a female problem.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 22 2013, 11:24 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My cat just started taking meds for her thyroid. She will eat around the pill, though. So we have to let it sit in the gravy for a minute or two until it becomes soft and we can then mix it into the rest of her food. That's all I know about thyroids beyond what I learned in high school biology; but very pertinent info if you have trouble swallowing your pills.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 22 2013, 4:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My mother is hypothyroid.  She takes pills.  They help keep her weight down and she's somewhat more sane on them than when she forgets to take them.

She prefers hers mixed with hummus though, instead of gravy.  Gravy is usually salty and her thyroid shut-down came with some high blood pressure issues.

I've tried to pill her like I do the cats, but she spits and bites.

Yes, it's a lifetime regime of meds to add.  Which will need to be adjusted occasionally with different doses or medications, but it won't be unmanageable.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 22 2013, 5:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My wife has Raynaud's syndrome.  It mostly affects the extremities, such as the last couple of finger joints.  While it may be unrelated to your issue, the wikipedia article (always to be taken with salt), notes that it can follow from hypothyroidism, which you have, at least at the moment.  Again per the somewhat reliable article, vitamin D can help, which you also mentioned.

It's still a big if as to whether or not Raynaud's or anything similar has been triggered in your case, but probably worth investigating.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 24 2013, 11:39 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Mike, my brother is this way. He was doing extreme swimming 2x a day in the cold waters off the island. When he was tested his red blood cell count was very high - from the swimming. But for whatever reason, it tripped his thyroid. After a few years it has become more manageable for him. Thyroid in males also runs in our family - my Dad had issues. It has become a new reality for my brother, but he is adapting. He is 42 now.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 26 2013, 1:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(sarbar @ Jul. 24 2013, 9:39 am)
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Mike, my brother is this way. He was doing extreme swimming 2x a day in the cold waters off the island. When he was tested his red blood cell count was very high - from the swimming. But for whatever reason, it tripped his thyroid. After a few years it has become more manageable for him. Thyroid in males also runs in our family - my Dad had issues. It has become a new reality for my brother, but he is adapting. He is 42 now.

Just curious Sarah, did your brother begin taking hormone meds for it?

I'm holding off on the thyroid hormone treatment at the moment.  I think a month in the cold of Greenland, followed by one of the more stressful months of my life personally (not gonna get into details on that but it'd had me up at nights), tripped something.  If that's the case, it may very-well be reversible, but I'm not sure yet.

I'm really quite annoyed at my Dr's office who didn't even care to listen to anything going on, or have any interest whatsoever in identifying what caused this (given that my thyroid was perfect just a year ago... something changed).  I'm meeting with another Dr next week for a second opinion and perhaps a bit of consultation.

I'm not saying I'm against the meds if they're necessary, but I also don't want to just be forced on them without even finding out whether they're necessary in the first place.  Hopefully I'll start getting some answers to questions in the next few weeks.

And thanks everyone.  I'm reading it all.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 26 2013, 3:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I don't have Hypothyroidism, but do have a cousin with it. She manages with meds.

I do however have low Vitamin D. I take 4,800 IUs a day and on the last blood work, I was measuring normal. Apparently the Vitamin D deficiancy is common in CO, which is surprising to me.

Take care and hope you find a solution that works for you.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 26 2013, 4:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yeah, my brother takes meds which DO have side effects. It took a long time for it to get where he was "ok". I am going to bet you understand that with diabetes how things can get so out of whack and then slowly you find your way back :(

Anyhow, if you can put off with meds I would - they took a real learning curve for my brother.

Btw, his first signs of issue came after a summer of working in a mold infested hotel (a certain "charming" historical inn on the island). Wether or not his heavy exposure to mold and his cold swimming were causes, who knows. I feel the mold had a real part in it. The hotel is NASTY. And stress does horrid things to the body.

IMO, better doctor. As I get older, I realize I am worth a doctor who gets me. I finally found a great doctor for my own health issues after my last 2 kids - my OB recommended her, She is an awesome mix of Dr and therapist/natural doctor. She is open to listening and finding solutions. Please keep looking, you deserve better!


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