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Borderline 'low thyroid'...what does that mean ?

(25 Posts)
podkin Wed 14-Dec-05 15:36:28

Just had a call from the docs to say I have a borderline 'low thyroid' following a fasting blood test and I have to repeat the test in a month. It was the receptionist who called so I couldn't get much out of her. Anyone have ideas what this means - is it an underactive thyroid and what are the implications if I do have it ? Any advice appreciated - ta

sevensuzyswongsaswimming Wed 14-Dec-05 15:38:59

oooh I know this one!

have you been feeling completely knackered all the time? Is that why you had the blood test?

If that's why and you are boderline, then you could get a second opinion and ask for the thyroid hormone replacement therapy thyroxene medication to bring your levels up to balance and thus feel human again. Don't let a receptionist fob you off, if this is your problem then you have a right to feel well

if you search for Thyroid on here, MN, you will find loads of helpful threads

podkin Wed 14-Dec-05 15:48:26

Yes, I am knackered. I gave birth 3 months ago and the doc was checking my blood sugar (I thought) as it had yo-yoed a bit during both pregnancies which were close together (my DS is 15 months and DD 3 months). I have just read that thyroid imbalance can occur up to a year after pregnancy as well, but can correct itself. Apparently it is 'borderline' so they need to repeat the test in a months time. Thanks suzy for the advice, I think I'll wait until the next test is done to see what happens and then take it from there. Do you take thyroxene ? Does it work and are there any side effects ?

coribells Wed 14-Dec-05 15:50:18

My friend had this. She was retested 6 months later and found that she had an underactive thyroid. She is on medication which she will have to take for the rest of her life but she is so much better than she was. Her main symptoms were irregular periods, panic attacks, extreme tiredness sleeping all the time, and weight gain. When she eventually started taking the meds seriously she lost two stone with in a couple of months, was able to come of antideppresants she was taking for panic attacks, and was able to function again.

sevensuzyswongsaswimming Wed 14-Dec-05 15:52:34

don't wait
make another appointment with the GP say you want thyroxene and don't leave til you get a script. Tell her/him you need it and if they don't give it ask for a referral to an endrocrinologist.

No there are no side effects,
Yes I take it and now I am human again
I was undiagnosed for three and a half years, it came on after ds1 and I had ds2 in that time aswell and I wouldn't wish that on anyone

sevensuzyswongsaswimming Wed 14-Dec-05 15:54:12

sorry just re-read that post, you may in fact have to wait for a month, but if you feel you can't cope then go back to GP. It is an awful awful feeling particularly with a new baby and you don't have to feel that way.

coribells Wed 14-Dec-05 15:59:38

My poor friend was off work for 6 months with panic attacks (which they diagnosed a post traumatic stress Syndrome as she was raped many years previously) It wasnt til she was sent to occupational health doctor with work that she was properly diagnosed with underactive thyroid, her Gp had bascially ignored it because it was only borderline.

sevensuzyswongsaswimming Wed 14-Dec-05 16:01:39

at GPs
it is sooo easily rectified
poor your friend

although I never actually asked my gp for help with it, I would turn up with the kids looking like a corpse and make jokes about being tired with the baby

podkin, do any of your female relatives have thryroid problems as it runs through the female line?

podkin Wed 14-Dec-05 16:29:11

Hmm it would explain how I have been feeling for the past year or so - we'll see what happens when I repeat the test and see what the quack has to say. She seems quite good actually. Coribells - sorry to hear about your friend - you place so much faith in GPs but they can sometimes be absolutely hopeless.

Suzy - I don't have any female rellies with the same problem, as far as I know. I'll ask my mum next week.

WigWamBam Wed 14-Dec-05 16:51:13

Agree with suzy - don't wait, get this checked out as soon as you can. I was "borderline" for years, and it turned out that they were getting that result because although my thyroxine levels weren't too bad, it was only because the thyroxine stimulating hormone was working ten times harder than it should have been to produce the thyroxine. You need the full range of thyroid function tests, not just the thyroxine level checking.

PrincessPlumPuddingHead Wed 14-Dec-05 17:17:16

You shouldn't accept borderline, you should ask to be put on low dose thyroxine to get you well within the normal range (and in the upper half of the normal range) otherwise you will feel like crap.

Quick lesson for you:

They will test the amount of thyroxine in your blood which you want to be well within the normal range (not low), and the amount of a hormone called TSH which is what the pituitary produces to stimulate the thyroid to make thyroxine, which you want to be on the low side of the normal range (not high). THE TSH LEVEL IS THE IMPORTANT ONE.
If your TSH is high, that means that your pituitary believes you need more thyroxine in your system, even if your thyroxine result is in the "normal" or "low normal" range. Your pituitary knows what is the correct level of thyroxine in your blood for YOU, so you need to listen to it by paying attention to your TSH. If your TSH is elevated, insist on being put on thyroxine and get retested in about 3 weeks to check that your TSH is back within range, and in the low end of normal.
Hope this makes sense!!!

PS the pills they give you are replacement of what you make naturally, not therapy, so there are no side effects whatsoever except that you will start to feel human again as your thyroxine and tsh hit your normal levels.

PrincessPlumPuddingHead Wed 14-Dec-05 17:19:30

PS I'm the mother of a child who was born without a thyroid gland, so am very up on hypothyroidism and thyroxine testing/replacement!

sevensuzyswongsaswimming Thu 15-Dec-05 14:26:33

really pph?
how did you find out, was it picked up at the 20 week anomoly scan or did she suffer the symptoms of hypothyroidism before you found out?

sevensuzyswongsaswimming Thu 15-Dec-05 14:26:45

really pph?
how did you find out, was it picked up at the 20 week anomoly scan or did she suffer the symptoms of hypothyroidism before you found out?

PrincessPlumPuddingHead Thu 15-Dec-05 16:09:34

no, you can't pick it up on a scan. it is one of the things that the guthrie heel prick test at 7 days old looks for (the other one being phenylketonuria) but ds1's manifested itself very early with dreadful jaundice that he couldn't shake off (because metabolism so slow), so he was back in hospital from about 5 days old and diagnosed and on thyroxine by 8 days old....

podkin Thu 15-Dec-05 17:33:25

thanks for all your advice

HappyMumof2TurtleDoves Thu 29-Dec-05 19:26:59

can anyone de code my blood results for me.
I had a Thyroid function test done which has come back as

Serum TSH level 1.14mIU/L (range 0.27-4.20)
Serum free T4 level 13.1pmo1/L (range 12.0-22.0)

My GP is referring me to an endologoist (sp?) but I'm not clear as to whether these results would mean my thyroid is over/under active.

My nan, my auntie and my cousin have thyroid problems (two under active, one over)

The only symptom I origanally had was my periods have stopped. I'm now getting other symptoms, constantly knackered, feel as though I have constant PMT, headache, breast pain etc.

Apparently, all other bloods came back 'essentially normal' whatever that means, although thyroid is the one the GP seems to be going with and the only results I actually got my hands on.

Any help appreciated, want my periods back!! (Never thought I'd say that!_

PrincessPlumPuddingHead Thu 29-Dec-05 19:35:53

the tsh is the thyroid stimulating hormone that the pituitary produces if it thinks you aren't making enough thyroxine - tsh makes the thyroid produce more. so you want to be at the low end of normal which you are, basically.

the t4 is one of the thyroid hormones that the thyroid produces that regulates metabolism etc. you want that to be in the mid-upper range.

I think tsh is more important because each persons need for thyroxine is individual, and it is your pituitary which will know what level is right for you. your tsh is pretty good, your doc however will be thinking that your t4 is slightly low. maybe he should repeat and also look at your t3 level - if that is mid range or high end of normal it may be that your normal level of t4 is naturallyon the lower end of the range.

I would be much more concerned if your tsh was 4 or above frankly.


PrincessPlumPuddingHead Thu 29-Dec-05 19:37:55

or else he might just put you on eg 25micrograms a day (a v low dose), see if that brings your tsh down a little and your t4 up a bit within a month or so, and review you 6 monthly or so after that. if you have a family history of thyroid problems it may be that your thyroid is on the beginning of its downward descent - nice to have caught it early in that case.

HappyMumof2TurtleDoves Thu 29-Dec-05 19:46:44

Thanks for that PPPH. I'm wondering now though whether based on those results, that would be enough to stop my periods completely???
It's really baffling me, they've gone from 28 day regular as clockwork, to disappered!

Bit worried about what else it could be if it's not thyroid although GP seems to only be going with that and nothing else

HappyMumof2TurtleDoves Thu 29-Dec-05 20:39:52


Blondeinlondon Thu 29-Dec-05 23:08:54

When are you seeing the endocrinologist?
He/she should be more help than your GP

PrincessPlumPuddingHead Fri 30-Dec-05 11:09:06

I'm sorry I don't know about that, as my thyroid knowledge is gleaned from a 5 year old boy so effect on periods hasn't entered my consiousness! Suzywong or someone else on here with an underactive thyroid may be able to help you more on that one... or maybe your family members if you feel able to broach that with them?!

when is your endocrinologist appt?

HappyMumof2TurtleDoves Fri 30-Dec-05 15:09:23

I've got to see my GP again on 9th Jan and he will then refer me so could be a while

MerryKidMas Fri 30-Dec-05 22:19:59

Have you lost weight recently? I know you have virtually no weight to loose anyway just wondered if you have lost some and that has caused your periods to stop?

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