After years now of decreasing energy and slowing metabolism, I reached a point where I was more tired more than alert, and even extra naps were not helping. A couple years back, I took a thyroid test and it came back normal. Apparently this happens often. I also had blood tests at the time showing that I was anemic, so I started taking vitamins… I’m at a good age to make sure that happens anyway, why not give that a try? Well, it didn’t help… although my iron levels are much better! I was still dealing with fatigue and a few other symptoms, not to mention a family history, that suggested I was facing thyroid issues, so I went to the doctor again.
I had more blood tests done, and again, the basic thyroid (TSH) was normal, at least according to the lab (and please, check out the web site link above – even if you aren’t interested in the TSH test… it’s a great site that explains all kinds of lab tests!). Here is a little important(!) tidbit of information that I found all over the web, that you might want to keep in mind if you ever find yourself worried about this: At most labs in the U.S., up until late 2002, the normal reference range for TSH is from around 0.5 to 5.5. That range changed to .3 to 3 as of early 2003. Guess what? Most labs still use the older range. Yea… .5 to 5.5. I was under 4.5, but above 3, so I was ‘borderline’… which is fine by me… actually, I’d rather NOT have any issues, I’d rather be closer to normal than not(!), but this meant more blood tests. There are additional thyroid function tests to take, and yet the one that caught my doctor’s attention, was a repeat of the same one. In a single week, it jumped significantly – not super high, but much higher than it was. Lesson learned… do NOT stop with a single TSH test. If you have suspicious symptoms, esp. if there’s a family history, ask for additional tests! Here are a couple of good About.com article to get you started, if you are curious:
My doctor sent me to see a local specialist (who I was quite impressed with, although I won’t mention her name here… if you are in the area and in need, send me an email. The lab I used is called Biolab – they are wonderful, and they have at least two branches in the area.) and while the doctor agreed I was borderline, she was also concerned. All my other tests have been very good. I even had a full physical last summer. Something was obviously going on. She did an ultrasound of my thyroid – which was clear – and ordered more blood tests, including blood sugar, liver and kidney function, more in-depth iron retention studies, and vitamin levels. Everything was great, except the vitamin D, and calcium… both were a shock. How could they be so low? My diet is balanced. I take good vitamins. I spend time outdoors. What’s up? Well… apparently when the thyroid is messed up, it messes up these two levels too.. and/or vice versa… low calcium and vitamin D mean the thyroid gets off balance trying to compensate. I am getting a very good, and interesting, lesson in human chemistry!
Anyway, I am now on thyroid meds, calcium supplements, and will be on Vitamin D supplements as soon as my order from the Vitamin Shoppe arrives. I think it is making a difference already. I hope that I can stay on a very low dose of thyroid meds, maybe even come off of them if things level out… I’m still learning about this. At any rate, it’s good to know this might be the explanation I’ve been looking for. I am tired of being tired.