Confused re: Hyperthyroidism

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by hermitlady, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. hermitlady

    hermitlady Member

    I just got back from my primary care Dr and he said my bloodwork showed that I have Hyperthyroidism. I have been taking Armour thyroid for the last 7 months that was prescribed for my by a alt. med MD I who I was seeing last spring and summer.

    Apparently I was taking too large of a dose of the thyroid med and now I'm all messed up from it. The last few months I've been more and more fatigued and weaker than ever before. Periods very short and irregular. My hair feels like straw. I get shaky a lot and lightheaded.

    It never occurred to me that it was from the thyroid meds. I was never told to have my thyroid levels monitored, the alt med MD just told me to keep taking it, see ya later.

    My doc today said I now have a small goiter and need to quit the medication now! Come back in 4 wks for blood work....will this go away on it's own? I didn't ask enough questions I guess, didn't see this coming. I just figured the CFS was getting worse, but now it might be from too much thyroid hormones in my system.

    Man, I don't know who to believe anymore. I had really trusted that alt med MD, now I don't know what to think. Anyone have any input for me? I'm a bit upset right now.

  2. LongStruggle

    LongStruggle Guest

    I don't know what to tell you. It is possible to have too much thyroid medication. It's shocking that the doctor that prescribed it didn't insist on labwork. Usually the doctors want to check it within 3 months, but it can be tested after 4-6 weeks. Having been hypothyroid for over 17 years, I personally can tell when I'm getting too much thyroid. For me, my hands swell, my arthritis worsens and I get more fatigued. When I first became hypothyroid it was customary for doctors to check one's blood once a year for thyroid. Many doctors these days are checking it every 3 months unless your very stable and doing well then they may make it longer.

    I just started on Armour Thyroid. I couldn't get a doctor who was willing to prescribe it previously. I don't know enough about the effects of Armour and so that is why I posted my question.

    Doing the right thyroid tests is also important. TSH, free T3, free T4 are all important to test. Current recommendations for optimal functioning may suggest a
    TSH below 1.

    Armour thyroid dosages are less precise than traditional T4 supplementation like synthyroid. That is why most doctors don't want to prescribe it. Currently, I might be having a problem with that. Originally the doctor prescribed for me 2 grains. I could tell it wasn't enough. Then he wrote a script for 3 grains. I took that for 3 days and knew it was too much. There is no actual pill that is between 2 and 3. You have to cut to get the right dose or have pills at different levels. There is a 1/4 grain, and a 1/2 grain. Right now I'm cutting.
    [This Message was Edited on 12/11/2006]
  3. hermitlady

    hermitlady Member

    Looking for more input:)
  4. ladykew

    ladykew New Member

    Graves disease is a severe form of hyperthyroidism. It is not caused by taking too much thyroid medication, but from a malfunction of the thyroid gland itself. It can cause heart problems, tachycardia (fast heart beat 120 and above) heart palpitations, irregular heartbeat, loss of weight, bulging eyes in severe cases, hair loss, fatigue, strange behavior, many other symtoms, including osteoporosis.

    As you can tell, hyperthyroidism is nothing to sneeze at. It is extremely important to have it tested. It would be very good if you could go to an Endocrinologist if there is one in your area. Maybe the doctor is right and it's caused from too much thyroid medication, but unless it is monitored closely, who knows if it will go away on it's on?

    The risks, in my opinion, are too great to feel uneasy about. I'd RUN to the nearest Endocrinologist or doctor you trusted, and demand the thyroid testing again. There is a medication they can give you to "cool" your system down. That is help the excess thyroid hormone to get out of your system.

    With a small goiter, you might have a problem with your thyroid....not just an overdose of thyroid medication. You can't be too careful with this.

    I ended up being put in the hospital for two weeks, given the medication to cool my system down to keep me from having a heart attack. Then I was given radioactive iodine to erradicate (or kill) the thyroid gland. I was put on Synthroid. It is very exact. If you do have to have this done, do not accept the generic. It is not exact, and it MUST be.

    I would not accept the diagosis that you had been taking too much med. You need closer monitoring than that. Please don't that a chance.

    If I can help you in any way, let me know. I can research for you...let me know. Please keep me posted.

    Best wishes,

    This has been 12 years ago, and I have my thyroid checked now about every 6 months.

  5. busybusymom

    busybusymom New Member

    Hi Hermit - I am also from southern California, about your age and your bio sounds just like me!

    I was just diagnosed with hyperthryoidism about three weeks ago AFTER several years of an abnormal TSH level and on and off abnormal T4. No one ever suspected even though I asked several doctors why the TSH was low. This just goes to show that we are our own advocates! My rheumy finally said to go see an endocrinologist - I had the nuclear scan done and it was positive for hyperthyroidism. The first med (Tapozole) I could not tolerate. I still need to pickup the PTU and try that.

    I am sorry for your situation. I understand your frustration and you would think that your symptoms would have been recognized as too much thryoid. From what I understand, it is easier to treat hypothryoidism, but even then, too much thyroid can be given. I suggest you check the internet for hypo- and hyperthyroidism (they are very similar). Then see an endocrinologist and forget about the alternative MD for now. I believe that the thryoid is nothing to fool around with, and I am praying that my body will tolerate the PTU and some of my crap symptoms will subside.

    I would get your thyroid tested ASAP and go from there. Don't wait four weeks - that is insane. You need to get this fixed NOW!

    Good luck -

  6. spiritsky

    spiritsky Member

    You should do a bit of research on selenium. When you take thyroid hormones you should also make sure you have enough selenium in your body. Selenium and iodine both need to be in balance in the body and support the proper functioning of the thyroid. When you take thyroid hormones your actually raising the iodine content of you body. Without selenium to protect you can go hyperthyroid and burn out your thyroid gland, which can then makes you go hypothyroid as a result.

    Here's a good article on it...

    and here's and excerpt that relates to selenium

    We've all heard that many doctors tell hypo patients, especially those with Hashimoto's thyroiditis, not to take iodine because it can aggravate their condition. The reason seems to be that selenium protects the thyroid gland from oxidative damage and this damage can increase significantly if iodine is supplemented. Taking iodine will increase thyroid hormone production and the production of H2O2 which damages the thyroidal cells. The lack of selenium prevents GPX from being able to protect the cells from this oxidative damage. While I doubt if most doctors realize why iodine should be restricted (it certainly seemed counter-intuitive to me at first), they have learned through experience that iodine can increase the thyroid damage in Hashimoto's. The information that selenium should be supplemented along with iodine is so new that most of them are unaware of it.

    Here's what we have: Studies have shown that if iodine is low, selenium must also be kept low to prevent the hypothyroidism from becoming worse (from increased DI-I and T4 depletion, as explained above.) So if both minerals are low, then the person is hypo and gets a goiter, but the damage to the thyroid is kept to a minimum. More severe problems happen when either selenium or iodine is high and the other is low. If selenium is high and iodine low, then T4 to T3 to T2 conversion is accelerated without T4 being replenished, leading to a worsening of the hypoT. If iodine is high and selenium is low, then H2O2 is not degraded by GPX. Since H2O2 drives the thyroid hormone production, then the thyroid over-produces thyroid hormone (Grave's hyperthyroidism), the thyroid is damaged from the oxidation by the H2O2, and the end result is that the damaged thyroid ultimately decreases activity and hypothyroidism results (Hashimoto's thyroiditis). This could explain the observed progression of Grave's to Hashimoto's.

    If a selenium deficiency causes an iodine deficiency, leaving you both selenium and iodine deficient, and supplementing with either selenium or iodine causes severe problems, then the only solution is to supplement both selenium and iodine simultaneously and gradually. Even then you could experience an immediate boost (from increased conversion of T4 to T3) with a subsequent letdown (lack of T4 production because of insufficient iodine or other necessary nutrient). You have to be prepared to ride out the tough times and continue increasing the selenium and iodine until those two deficiencies are corrected and the respective metabolic pathways are back working properly.
  7. ladykew

    ladykew New Member

    Hyperthyroidism is very serious. Please go quickly to an Endocrinologist. Mine went too long without diagnosis, and as I told you, I had to be hospitalized for two weeks, medicated with PTU and on a heart monitor before they could even start treatment on me. I almost had a heart attack. I was passing out. My heart rate was over 160 during my sleep.

    I passed out driving and I had an almost fatal auto accident that caused a bleeding brain contusion as well as other internal injuries and broken bones and cuts.

    Erradication of the thyroid made me hypothyroid, but it is so easy to control.

    Don't be upset. Just go to an Endocrinologist, who specializes in this and you will be fine. My mother just went through this two years ago and she is 80 and has tons of energy.

    Peace and Hugs,
    [This Message was Edited on 12/21/2006]
  8. patarogers123

    patarogers123 New Member

    Ladykew, I was reading your post about the generic synthroid not being exact. How did you find this out? I am taking the generic right now, and found what the dr prescribed was a little too much, so I cut mine into 2/3rds and take that. But I'm concerned now, because I take the generic. Thanks. Pat
  9. ladykew

    ladykew New Member

    Hi, Pat,

    I learned about the Synthroid from my Endocrinologist and also from my Mother's Endocrinologist, who told her the same thing. The generic, which is usually Levothroid, is not exact. I have since done some research on this, and the articles have said the same thing: that most generics are okay and are required to have something like 88 to 110% of the same ingredient of the brand name, except for some exceptions, one of which was Synthroid, which MUST be exact and should never be substituted for the generic brand.

    Also, Pat, by cutting your pills into 2/3's, you don't know how much you are getting, which is really worse. You need to contact your physician immediately and schedule another blood test to determine what dosage you really should be on.

    Ask him/her what you should do about your
    pills being a little too much and ask if you should keep taking them until you get the blood test, or if you should
    cut them into 2/3's. My "guess" is that you will be advised to keep taking them until you get the blood test.

    How did you find out that what was prescribed was a little too much? Were you having symptoms, or did you have another blood test? I want so much to help you. I don't want you or anybody else to go through what I did.


  10. kjfms

    kjfms Member

    Please see an endocrinologist. Everyone is different when it come to the level of medication and the lab numbers when they feel their best.

    Most endocrinologist (worth anything) will check you levels every eight (8) weeks until you are where you need to be and feel you best.

    As I am sure you know Thyroid Disease is very serious and can have many complications if not treated properly.

    Frankly if it were me I would seek an attorney. I have to admit I have little knowledge of alternative doctors -- are they licenced to practice medicine? What are they qualifications?

    This one obviously knows nothing about thyroid disease. One cannot be put on thyroid medication and not monitored -- that is just malpractice IMHO...

    Did this person even do a thyroid panel before starting you on this medication?

    I am sorry for asking so many questions but I have never heard of such a thing and it just upsets me -- for you and all you are going through because of his/her lack knowledge.

    Any first year med student would know enough not to do this.

    I wish you the best and hope you get your thyroid leveled out soon. I hope you feel better soon. So many of the hyperthyroid symptoms can feel like hypothyroid symptoms.

    Most primary physicians are qualified to help you until you can get an appointment with an endocrinologist.

    Just ask your physician to do an full thyroid panel for you at this point I am sure he/she will have no problem -- if it hasn't already been done.

    Take care,


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