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Does Your Thyroid ‘Look’ Normal?

By Expert HERWriter
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Hypothyroidism related image Photo: Getty Images

How many of you feel that something is "off," yet when you go to your health care provider you are told that your thyroid is "normal"? You don’t feel normal yet nobody can figure it out. New research out of the February 2011 edition of Thyroid journal shows that you should have your thyroid antibodies tested because high levels can correlate with typical thyroid symptoms despite having a normal thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test.

What am I talking about?

Well, a typical thyroid test consists of a TSH, which is a marker of the communication between the brain and the thyroid based on feedback from the body. That feedback comes from your T4 and T3 levels, which should be tested as well. Thyroid antibodies are a marker for autoimmune thyroid, otherwise known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. They include thyroid peroxidase antibody and thyroglobulin antibody.

This research shows that positive thyroid antibodies with a normal TSH means you can still have fatigue, dry hair and skin, constipation, nervousness, weight gain, foggy head and more. This is due to the inflammation against the thyroid gland created by the autoimmune process causing your thyroid to not function like it should. Therefore you’re told you are "normal" but more testing needs to happen at regular intervals.

Does this mean you need thyroid medication? Not necessarily because it’s an autoimmune process and that needs to be addressed. Additionally, the thyroid is a gland that is affected by many other hormones and glands in your body and by ignoring those while only focusing on the thyroid can end up making your situation worse. The article also states those on thyroid medication with Hashimoto’s may not have complete alleviation of symptoms and should look at the bigger picture.

What does this mean for you? If you suspect you have a thyroid problem, if you have a family history of thyroid problems especially Hashimoto’s, or if you are on thyroid medication and not having symptoms relief then talk with your health care provider about Hashimoto’s testing and looking deeper into your system.

Ott J, Promberger R, Kober F, Neuhold N, Tea M, Huber J, Hermann M. Hashimoto's Thyroiditis Affects Symptom Load and Quality of Life Unrelated to Hypothyroidism: A Prospective Case–Control Study in Women Undergoing Thyroidectomy for Benign Goiter. Thyroid, 2011; 21 (2): 161.

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EmpowHER Guest

I am from Canada and have been having symptoms that increase in frequency and new symptoms keep popping up. My TSH is in the 'normal range' and the doctor will not test T3 and T 4, meaning I cannot get tested unless I have a doctors requisition. The health of individuals needs to be placed back in the hands of us and away from the doctors. Doctors should be there to guide us to health and well being not hold our lives in their hands.

March 6, 2013 - 3:23pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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