Extreme anxiety and suspected hyperthyroidism

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Hello all,

I'm hoping maybe someone who has been through this might be able to give me some insight. I'm 29 and normally healthy but for the past several months I have been experiencing increasingly bad anxiety that I cannot explain. It started with panic attack like symptoms that would come and go, then got to where the smallest stressor would put me into meltdown mode and now I basically constantly feel on edge, even when home "relaxing." This by far has been my worse symptom, but also I have various other symptoms, some of which seem to for hyperthyroidism and some that don't... I have a consistently rapid pulse but my blood pressure is normal, I wake up multiple times each night, I have slight hand tremors and increased bowel movements. But then again these are also general anxiety symptoms. I have suddenly warm hands (I'm pretty thin and normally struggle with feeling cold all the time), but I wouldn't say I'm burning up or very sweaty at night. I do get a burning sensation on one foot/shin. Anyway, in the beginning of November I got a large sore in my mouth ( I don't know if this was coincidence or not but it's never happened before)and by googling it I saw a possible cause is B12 deficiency. I'm a long-time vegetarian, so that explanation seemed to make sense and it said B12 deficiency can also cause anxiety. So, I asked my dentist for a prescription to do a B12 test and she ordered the basic full panel. My B12 levels came back low normal, slightly higher actually than my last exam two years ago, but we noticed my TSH was down. In 2014 it had been 1.3, in 2015 1.2, in 2014 I wasn't tested, and now it was .7 at the beginning of the month. My dentist of course isn't an expert on this, but she did think the drop was "odd" and referred me to an endocrinologist. However, that appointment is only next Friday And I've already been waiting over a week, with increasing worry. First off, I'm not certain I have a thyroid problem, given my TSH was low normal and my T4 normal (T3 wasn't measured). However I did read online that fasting can artificially lower TSH results and I had to fast for the blood test, so maybe my non-fasting levels are slightly lower. But I see people online saying they are .05 and lower, so I don't know if i could be experiencing such severe symptoms with a level on the very low end of "normal." But then again, I have seen people say optimal level is 1.8, which I am way below, and maybe my body is already responding to the dropping level of TSH, even tho I'm not technically hyperthyroid yet? I just don't know. Also, I've been noticing one side of my throat where i think the thyroid should be seems a bit bigger, but it isn't a visible lump- you need to feel it- and I asked my husband and he thinks it feels slightly bigger but said maybe it was always like that, since like I said it looks normal. Does anyone have experience experiencing bad anxiety symptoms with TSH levels closer to .5-.7? And if so, what did your Drs suggest? Did it work? I'd really appreciate any insight.

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  • Posted

    Ok, sorry, i cant find the edit button and I'm seeing mistakes. I read online fasting increases (not lowers) TSH, which is why I think my fasting TSH level might have been a bit higher than my real level. And since I was close to the cut off (the lab I used has a bottom range of .5 and I was .7) I thought maybe the difference caused by fasting could be significant

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  • Posted

    Hi Kate

    Glad to read your post . I have been suffering with anxiety for quite a while now and constant panic attacks so enough was enough and I went to see a Gp.

    I have been on setraline for 17 days now with bad side effects . I went back to the docs for a two week check up and to get the results of my blood tests. The doctor says I have Hyperthyroidism and has requested I see an endo specialist which I still waiting for . Needless to say my anxiety has increased as just want to know what is going on my head is all over the place .

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    • Posted

      I hope you get to see the endocrinologist soon! I have my appointment for Friday and am very anxious to hear what she thinks (And also I think she will run more tests). Good luck!
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  • Posted

    I lived with a low TSH (0.2) for 6 years! I was diagnosed with "subclinical hyperthyroidism" because my T4 and T3 were still in range the entire time. Please make sure the doctor is checking your free T4 and free T3 as those are the hormones your thyroid makes. You can have normal hormone levels and a low TSH. Like, I said I lived that way for years with no problems. I even had a small goiter. I was diagnosed with panic disorder when I was 16. So I completely understand your emotional state right now. Everything might be okay. The way I felt havin panic attacks and anxiety was diffrent from when the disease became full blown. Are you having tachycardia (heartbeat of 100+)? Are you getting winded walking? Are you hot all the time? Do your hands shake (tremors)? Insomnia? Those were the symptoms which made me go back to my endocrinolgist.

    The important thing right now is to take a deep breath and wait for the results. There are a few treatment options and things will only get better. Sometimes we have to relinquish control and accept things the way they are even if they are really bad.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply. My heart rate is only 84 now, but I've been lying in bed reading (no movement at all) for a couple hours. If I measure it sitting up, it jumps to 90+ and standing (not walking just standing and not immediately after standing up, but waiting a few minutes) it gets to low 100s. I know this isn't shockingly high, but it is high for me; I've always been reasonably active prior to this and now my heart rate puts me in the high risk for heart attack category, according to charts online. I even notice my neck veins visibly throbbing. I'm only 29 and weigh about 120 lbs and, prior to this, did Pilates regularly and walked around town daily (I live in a city). Now I stay at home more, although I haven't stopped working. I also wake up nightly, but I'm not sure why. My hands shake slightly and fine motor tasks like applying liquid eyeliner are becoming harder but the tremor isn't very noticeable unless I am trying to hold my hand still and staring at it to check for movement. It's not something others notice. My hands are warmer than normal I think, and a bit red and my face also gets red and warm, especially in the evenings, but I don't get super sweaty like some people talk about.

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    • Posted

      Do you also have palpitations? Honestly, I wouldn't worry too much about having a heart attack because you're young and your heart can handle it (unless you have a heart condition). Of course you don't want your resting heart rate to be over 100 for a long period of time. If they tell you it's hyperthyroidism you will get a prescription for beta blockers which will calm your heart down until the other meds kick in.

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  • Posted

    Hi kate44260, do you know what your FT4 (free thyroxine) was? Even better if you have the range and/or measuring units. What is your resting heart rate?

    Until you see an endocrinologist I would recommend avoiding physical exercise and relaxing as much as possible. Avoid eating seaweed as it may contain a high level of iodine and try to eat a lot of goitrogenic vegetables (broccoli, kale, cabbage, etc).

    TSH varies throughout the day due to exercise or, as you mentioned, food intake. On top of that, the TSH level shows a circadian rhythm with the maximum occurring at around 3am and the minimum at around 3pm. 

    Your endocrinologist will have to investigate if you have a thyroid disorder. Btw, don't you have a GP? In my case, the GP got in touch with the endocrinologist and I had the blood tests done straight away. My GP also called the endo to confirm the dosage of anti-thyroid medication. During all my follow-ups, I had the blood tests done a week before seeing the endo, so that he/she can inspect the latest results. 

    Btw, the symptoms you are describing may also be caused a disorder of the adrenal glands that leads to an overproduction of adrenaline. 

     

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