Can I still have a thyroid problem if results are normal?

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I have been really unwell for months now. All my symptoms match a thyroid problem but my blood test results come back 'normal' (the low end of normal). I also had radiotherapy which I think can cause thyroid problems?

Does anyone know if I could still have a thyroid problem even though results come back normal?

Thanks for your help!

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  • Posted

    I have heard from wellness and non traditional medicine that what is normal for most is not always normal for all. They go by and treat your symptoms. There is a doctor in my area who treats non traditional thyroid issues but I did not save her info and have been trying to find her now for months. I believe I have the same problem as you as I have been having problems for about a year now and my doctor says my test results, but we know our own bodies and when something is not right.
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  • Posted

    Hi Briskate

    Yes i have read that the tests are only part of the story and shouldn't be regarded as the only indicator.

    Are you in the UK? Have a look at the Thyroid UK website.

    Katejo

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your replies! Yes I'm in the UK - Bristol.

      I guess my next problem is getting a doctor to prescribe me medication when my results are just within 'normal'. Is this likely to be hard or do I have to consider self-medicating?

      Thanks for your help!

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    • Posted

      Hi Briskett

      Personally I would never self medicate. I  was born with underactive thyroid. An underactive thyroid can have so many different effects and you need a doctor to monitor it.  Google 'Thyroid UK'. I would send you a link but this website doesn't allow users to do that. Here is a short extract from the site. Has your doctor given you actual figures?

       Do not just accept “normal”. You should always ask for the actual figures of your test results – your level as well as the ranges. Be aware that different areas in the country use different test ranges so one TSH test range might be 0.5 – 5.0 but in another area the TSH range might be 0.4 - 4.0. You could be “borderline” (near the bottom or top of the range) or have “subclinical hypothyroidism” (high TSH and normal FT4) or “subclinical hyperthyroidism” (low TSH and normal FT4) and not be aware of this because you have not been given the ranges of the tests. Subclinical thyroid disease is not usually treated although treatment may be useful.

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  • Posted

    The answer is yes. But you need to tell more for anyone to give you a better answer.  What kind of radiotherapy, where on your body? What are your symptoms? What readings are "low normal"? What does your doctor have to say?

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply.

      I've been unwell for 11 months now, the last few months got really bad and I now can't work anymore. I had breast cancer so I had chemotherapy and radiotherapy (the radiotherapy I guess was pretty high on body as the cancer was high). I'm in my thirties and now bed bound a lot of time. My GP sent me to a chronic fatigue sydrome clinic and the occupational therapist said "Your symptoms are different to the typical person we see with ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" so I'm not thinking it's that!

      So I had 2 TSH tests done.

      First one October 2015. Result 0.63 (range 0.27-4.20)

      Second one May 2016. Result 1.1 (range 0.27-4.20)

      Symptoms are overwhelming chronic fatigue, hair loss, dry hair, ears sensitive to noise/blocked feeling, shortness of breath

      Thanks for your help!

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    • Posted

      Hi Briskate, get yourself to an acupuncturist, herbalist and naturopath. You need to rebuild your system after all you've been through. You also need to detox. Serious detox.

      I'd focus your energy on rebuilding your system, rather that trying for a diagnosis. Here's why: the treatment for thyroid disease is absolutely imperfect. None of the medications are bioidentical, so none work right. 

      Because of your history, you may be having thyroid problems in part bc your whole system is weak. Try building up the whole body, and see if the thyroid numbers improve.

      You can always clean up your diet and cleanse without a diagnosis. Start with a very clean, organic duet, try paleo style to get lots of nutrients. Cook vegetables well, especially if cruciferous. 

      Hope these suggestions give you some ideas for a direction to help yourself.

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    • Posted

      You're very welcome. Nice that you're proactive and willing to find a solution. My severe thyroid disease didn't show in blood work either. But mine was obvious bc I had a fairly large cyst plus other small ones on my thyroid by the time I was really sick. The cysts alone are diagnosis for thyroid disease if you get a doc that knows what they're doing.

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  • Posted

    Hi Briskate, YES,  your thyroid results can be normal, even though you have thyroid disease.

    One thing you can do is a thyroid ultrasound to check for cysts. This will give you some additional information. 

    Also, it sounds like you have some other health problems. Thyroid disease can be triggered by chemical exposure and other environmental factors. If you've been exposed to radioactivity, this can also weaken the thyroid gland. Exposure to radioactive iodine is especially problematic to the thyroid.

    There are a lot of books about thyroid disease and why someone with  "normal" blood work can still be hypoithyroid. I have a very severe case of hypothyroidism, and all of my initial blood work was not particularly unusual. This is because the thyroid gland is so crucial that the body will do anything, and shut down other systems in the body to try and keep the thyroid normalized. So you wind up with a whole bunch of nonspecific symptoms and disease, never knowing it's really the thyroid. 

    Follow your gut and look for a naturopath or shop doctors until you find one who knows how to treat your thyroid symptoms. Do as much research as you can. Read through the posts here to see what other people have experienced. 

    Good luck!

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  • Posted

    At the time at the time they came up with what were "normal" numbers for thyroid, about 40%of the population had been diagnosed with thyroid problems. Yet in order to be normal if you fall where 92% of the people fall in ranges, you are normal. You can't make this stuff up....

     

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    • Posted

      Very true! Thyroid disease is epidemic.

      "normal ranges" are often taken from averages of annual blood samples that come through a lab. Who gets blood work done? Sick people. Get it? These ranges are based on blood from sick people, not healthy people in for an annual exam.

      The REALLY good docs don't use the lab ranges. They seem to use some other ranges. Not sure where they get their data from.

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  • Posted

    Hiya, Like you I am told my thryroid results are within the "normal range" but on the low end. I had the radioactive iodine treatment 3 years ago because I had toxix nodules. Like you I have not felt well for around 2 years, some of this time I was taking thyroxine, but had so much problems when I was on this medication I was advised to stop. To be honest it just made me so much worse. Now my doctor is determinded my health problems are due to anything else other than my thyroid, but to date nothing I have been tested for has proved to be the case! Now he is saying that my symptoms are due to stress, now if you ever met me you would know just how ridiculous this is !!! Personally I feel I would be just as well talking to the wall rather than my doctor. It appears if you don't fit into the "normal" patient who is underactive and then responds well to the thyroine they have no idea what to do. I am sorry I don't have a positive answer for you, but believe me you are not the only person with this predicament, there are lots of us. I think the level of care for Thyroid suffers in this country is scandalous. My husband is diabetic and the level of care and services available is incredible compared to thyroid suffers.

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    • Posted

      Hi Mags, its nice to know were not on our own (buy far) I am in such pain all the time and stiff with no support from my doctor.I can't even get FT3 bloods done,or an appointment with an endocranolagist,he said to me on my last visit that his hands were tied,if thats not saying it all i don't know what is.I have been so persistant you wouldn't believe.I'm even thinking that maybe it would be a consideration to wean off of Levo as the pains are just in differant places although i do stay awake,i still have many of the same things wrong and more,desperate is an understatement.

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    • Posted

      I do am being told for over s year now that my thyroid numbers are within normal range. I have all of the symptoms including peri orbital edema under my eyes. I have recently been told that my back pain is due to RA, but those numbers are also normal so why can't my normal thyroid numbers still be indicative of a thyroid problem. They need to revamp the ranges of so many blood tests. What's normal for one person is not always normal for all.

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    • Posted

      Hi Janice, your situation is typical.

      Here are some thoughts:

      1. Many thyroid patients don't feel well unless their numbers are on the high end of normal, or even a little above. A good endocrinologist knows this and will consider your symptoms.

      2. The synthetic thyroid meds don't work for people. Everything I've seen and heard from people taking it is that it doesn't work.

      3. I recommend shopping doctors until you find one who can appreciate the feedback you give as far as symptoms, and who will help you get the right meds.

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