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Underactive thyroid - can anyone recommend books or web links?

(6 Posts)
circlesquare Tue 04-Sep-07 20:42:38

Hello -

I have a family history of underactive thyroid and since DS was born 10 months ago have had many of the symptoms - excessive tiredness, irritability, aching limbs, and so on. Initially I put them down to the new baby, but I've now had two lots of blood tests and they show T4 levels bang on the lower limit of normal and high TSH levels.

Thing is, my GP is on maternity leave and I'm being seen by a quite junior member of the practice, who although sympathetic and thorough, only has discretion to do things by the book. I'm due another set of tests in a couple of weeks, this time testing for antibodies, too. After that, she's considering referring me to one of the more senior partners.

As I understand it, it's quite usual to treat people with very low normal T4 levels if they are symptomatic and have high TSH, and my aim over the next few weeks is to basically get treated. To make this happen, I want to be as well informed as I possibly can about the condition. Can anyone recommend any good reading (web or book) to help me understand what's going on and to help me make my case?


marram Tue 04-Sep-07 20:49:53

Hello, just a quickie to say that I have Hashimoto's which is the autoimmune underactive thyroid and even though my readings were at the top end of the 'normal' scale I could hardly walk I had so little energy, I was depressed, and my hair was falling out in clumps. I had to and still have to argue with my GP every time my test comes back and it is marked normal but I have big symptoms. The 'normal' scale is not necessarily normal for you. I would push to see someone more experienced. I have a book called The Healthy Thyroid by Patsy Westcott which I found helpful at the time, but I do remember that it went a bit overboard sometimes and scared me to bits. I think there is also a website

circlesquare Tue 04-Sep-07 20:57:55

Thanks very much for that.

It does seem that interpreting the blood tests in conjunction with the symptoms is more of an art than a science...

marram Tue 04-Sep-07 21:12:30

Yes, it is. Especially when the symptoms can be so vague ie my right hip aches etc!

Just seen the British Thryoid Association website which says at the front that they stick by the standard range in the tests as they say there is no evidence for anything else........

I am sure that I just asked to be started on a low dose to see what happened and oh guess what, my depression disappeared and I calmed right down, my DH said I was no longer a mad angry lady

circlesquare Tue 04-Sep-07 22:18:15

I might well try that at my next set of appointments. The mad angry lady diagnosis feels very familiar indeed! Unless I am, of course, genuinely mad and angry...

marram Wed 05-Sep-07 09:10:19

I am sure there are some sort of guidelines for treating subclinical hypothyroidism, I am sure that is why they agreed to start treating me, even though my readings were the same as yours (low normal T4 but elevated TSH). See how you get on. From experience I have symptoms unless my TSH is 2 or below. I think the top of the normal range is 5. At 5 I could hardly walk or talk. Good luck.

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