Some people feel much better when taking thyroid hormones, even though some thyroid tests might indicate that they do not need it. For sub-clinical cases, a short-term thyroid trial is appropriate.
The best lab tests to consider if low thyroid function is suspected are TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), Free T-4, and Free T-3. Your doctor may or may not require lab testing before giving you thyroid hormone on a clinical trial basis, when symptoms indicate. If your doctor refuses to give you a clinical trial and does not provide a convincing reason, you may wish to get a second opinion.
Oral temperatures during the day are a reasonably accurate method of monitoring your thyroid status and the effectiveness of any thyroid medication. Since the thyroid regulates the body's metabolic rate, greater thyroid activity usually results in a higher body temperature. Your body temperature should be greater than 98.2°F (36.8°C).
Thyroid lab testing can be done while you are on your thyroid medication. The timing of the test and when you take your medication does not make a significant difference on the test results.
The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists officially stated in 2001, that a "TSH level between 3.0 and 5.0 µIU/ml ... should be considered suspect since it may signal a case of evolving thyroid underactivity." This is a dramatic reversal, as they have traditionally held that patients should never be treated with thyroid hormone unless the tests were clearly abnormal, above 5.5. This supports the belief that many patients have been misdiagnosed and undertreated in the past based on the lab tests and the arbitrary normal ranges.
Atrial fibrillation is 3 times more likely in an elderly person with low TSH. [Family Practice News Mar 15, 1995]
The association of hypothyroidism with menstrual disturbances is well known. However, even minimal thyroid dysfunction may be responsible for menorrhagia and other menstrual disturbances.
Chronic tendonitis is occasionally associated with hypothyroidism.
Hashimoto's autoimmune thyroiditis has been associated with a range of anxiety symptoms including panic attack.
Hypothyroid patients with eczema respond well to thyroid medication.
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