Recently my daughter was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s – a commonly hereditary form of hypothyroidism, so I asked my doctor to check my thyroid. He said, “Your thyroid feels fine, but to satisfy you, I will do a TSH level.” He did.
My level was 59. Normal is below 4.4.
For the past five years, I have had constant irregularity, I am always unreasonably cold, my cholesterol has been creeping up even though I have been on a low-fat diet, and I have been unable to lose weight.
These things are all common symptoms of hypothyroidism BUT my doctor told me to eat more fiber, get a colonoscopy (it was fine), be really honest with myself – I must be eating fat, and get more exercise to lose weight. In all fairness to him, I never grouped these symptoms together. I would complain about one or the other at various times during my annual physicals.
I am now on an inexpensive thyroid hormone replacement drug and I feel wonderful.
I am now on a crusade to tell all of my friends that if you are over 50, please get your TSH level checked. It is a simple blood test that can be done right along with a regular CBC. Thyroid disease occurs mainly in women over 50 and the risk increases with age.
I wouldn’t want my doctor to ever think I was mad at him for not finding it earlier. I am more mad at myself for not demanding some kind of tests, because I knew that I wasn’t eating much fat and my cholesterol still kept creeping up. And you know, when you only go for a physical once a year (thank goodness I was rarely sick), you don’t have that constant communication that might make a difference.
Here’s a link to the Mayo Clinic’s website.
I also found a lot of information at About.com.