Monday, 7 January 2013

Learning More About Being Hypo And Lab Tests I Will Need

Once I knew I have hypothyroidism, I started to search online through blogs, articles, medical journals, forums and groups, to learn more about what I'm dealing with. Afterall if it's true that I am hypo, this is something that I have to live with for the rest of my life.

One of the places that I ended up during my research is a site called Stop The Thyroid Madness by Janie, a person who basically went through a lot of pain, distress and problems until she found something that actually works. It took her years to get better, years to bounce from doctors to doctors who simply didn't understand her problems, or simply sticking to the traditional methods of treating hypothyroidism, which leaves around 80% of the people still suffering with the same symptoms, despite their blood tests showing 'normal' results.

I started to read this site, I think I read pretty much every article and blog post in there (and it's a big site), and through this site I learned about the Facebook Group STTM which has currently over 8000 folks, all trying to find a proper treatment for them that actually works.

One thing I've learned in my effort to understand more about being hypo and what it all entails, is that in most cases taking thyroxine is simply not enough. One should at least complement it with T3 (Cytomel), or even better, change to NDT (natural dessicated thyroid).

I'm not really the best to explain it scientifically why, I'm still learning as I go along, and I'm still at the beginning of my journey, but the gist of it is this: thyroxine pills are basically storage hormones which convert to the active T3 that is so important for the body to function at its best. However for many people with hypothyroidism this conversion doesn't really happen, and we end up lacking in precious T3, which brings with it a lot of symptoms of hypothyroidism that won't go away. So supplementing with T3 pills can go a long way towards feeling much better, and if there is a chance to change to NDT, it would be ideal, since it contains both T3 and T4 hormones right off the bat (see image below). Plus it's natural, unlike the synthetic pills thyroxine and Cytomel.

(image source Wikimedia Commons)

Right now I'm too chicken to get onto NDT (plus I don't think I could find it in our parts of the world), so I'll stick with thyroxine and Cytomel for the time being and see how I feel.

One of the things I've learned since starting on my self-recovery journey is that there is a whole range of endocrinology lab tests that pointpoint exactly what is going on with the thyroid. Doing FT4 and TSH only is simply not enough.

So I added a few other blood tests to the list that my new doctor put down on paper, and when I will go in February to have the blood tests done, I will make sure these will also be included:

FT3 (free T3)
RT3 (reverse T3)
Thyroid antibodies (ok he did prescribe this one test)
4 iron labs, and not only 2 that I had done before, including: regular iron, ferritin, TIBC and saturation
B12 and folate (people with hypothyroidism, especially those on thyroxin only) tend to develop strong B12 vitamin deficiency
D3 (5-hydroxyvitamin D lab test)

These tests should give a better picture of what is going on with my thyroid and what supplements and pills I need to start getting rid of these ugly symptoms.

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