Dealing with Under-active Thyroid

This is a chronicle of the effects that under-active Thyroid had on me, the symptoms, the diagnosis and the treatment. In my case, it was not diagnosed for quite a long time, then I was not given the correct dosage of Thyroxine (the medication needed to replace that which should be produced by the Thyroid gland) which resulted in me suffering the symptoms unnecessarily for over TWO YEARS!

My symptoms began in early 2014, I was living in a house that I was refurbishing and I had a rapid and unexplained loss of energy, appetite and positive spirit. At the time, I never even noticed, when you deteriorate due to under-active Thyroid, you don't even realise what is happening. I began to withdraw, I had no energy to do anything and over the next few months I did absolutely nothing at all. 

I was eating less and less, until I was eating only one small meal every evening, yet I was still gaining weight. I went to the doctor towards the end of the year for something completely unrelated and by pure chance, they discovered my condition.

Initially, I was prescribed 25mg of Thyroxene, with another blood test scheduled for 3 months later. After the second blood test, my dose was raised to 50mg, where it remained for a further 2 years. During that time, I felt no better, I was still eating one small meal, which meant that I was going 24 hours between meals, making me feel even worse. I gained a total of over 30kgs, with the most obvious places being around my neck and my waist. The effect of under-active Thyroid that is not so obvious, is the psychological one, it is similar to clinical depression, but as with genuine depression, as opposed to just feeling down, you don't realise what is happening to you, which is a terrible state to be in.

At first, the surgery would call me to book a blood test, but after the summer of 2015, the did not call me again. In July 2016, I called to book an appointment to see the doctor, to tell him that I was still feeling strange and he told me that when I had my last blood test, my TSH (which should be between 0.5 and 5.0) was 8.9, that was over a year earlier. He increased my dose to 75mg and booked me for another blood test.

After the next blood test, I got a call 2 days later, asking me to visit the doctor as my TSH was now over 15 and critical. The doctor increased my dose to 100mg and advised me to have another test in 3 months.

After this, on my next trip to Cyprus, I visited a specialist there, who gave me a lot of information about the condition and suggest that I wait 6 weeks (you need to wait 6 weeks every time you change your dose for the effects to become visible) then have a blood test with a specialist in Cyprus.

When I had the next blood test, my TSH was 17.9, the Doctor explained that this was dangerous and I had to take drastic action to get it down. He also informed me that I had 'Hashimoto's thryoiditis' ( a condition where your body attacks the Thyroid and destroys it) meaning that my Thyroid would have just about stopped and not function.

I did some research and according to my weight, I should have been on 200mg, but that would only be to keep my levels stable, if I wanted to see a rapid drop, I would need to take more for the time being.

I decided to take 300mg until the next blood test and see what happens. I also decided that I needed to do something at the same time to kick start my metabolism which had slowed down significantly. I could not risk eating normal food in high quantity at this point as I was already seriously overweight, so I decided to eat Tuna and salad and other low/negative calorie foods, in small portions, but several times a day.

Over the next 3 months, I began to feel significantly better and when my levels had become normal, I noticed immediately, I suddenly felt better, I was not feeling cold, I had more energy, it was wonderful after suffering for so long.

When I had my next blood test, I asked the nurse if they had any record of tests for 'Hashimoto's thryoiditis' she said that they did not. I wanted to confirm that before I spoke to the doctor. When the results came through, the doctor called me to say that my TSH was now too low and asked what I had been taking. He was angry that I had consulted another doctor, but I replied that I had suffered for 2 years for no reason and that they had not even checked for 'Hashimoto's thryoiditis' because I had already asked the nurse.

We agreed that I should drop my dose to 200mg and I have been on that ever since and everything has been fine. A few months later, I joined the gym and worked the rest off, I stuck to my eating regime, of small healthy meals several times a day and got back to my normal weight and size.

Recently, I got to the point where I was feeling hungry too often and I did not want to lose any more weight, so I have added wholewheat Pasta to my diet, which is slow releasing, but I eat it as early in the day as I can. This helps to give me energy and maintain me through the day, which has been a great help.

In short, I could have recovered much sooner, had everything been explained to me and if I were on the correct dose of Thyroxine. So the moral is, in these situations, don't just sit back and wait. If all else fails, take your blood test results and get a second opinion, it could just make all the difference.

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