Monday, March 7, 2011

I've been told I'm hyper...

Picture Source: WebMD

We now interrupt regularly scheduled programming for an update on Kristen's thyroid. I'm sure you're all riveted, but I need to write this down so I remember for future reference.

I purposely did not Google anything before the appointment, while the internet can be a great resource it can also be a source of unnecessary worry. So I went to the appointment with very little knowledge. On Thursday I went to the endocrinologist. I felt much more informed after the appointment. Quick recap of the positives:

1) I have hyperthyroidism, not hypo (I assumed I had hypothyroidism).
2) There is a good chance my thyroid levels will return to normal following my pregnancy.
3) The doctor's 1st option is not medication due to being pregnant. Hyper is treated different than hypo.
4) I am demonstrating none of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
5) While the baby may be experiencing hyperthyroid symptoms now(but hopefully not, if my levels are well controlled) once the baby is born it will not be a factor as their own thyroid will take over.

The negatives:
1) I can't blame my recent increase in weight on my thyroid. Hyperthyroidism actually causes most people to lose weight.
2) I can't blame my fatigue on my thyroid as this is not a symptom of a hyper thyroid. Though my fatigue has greatly improved in the last few weeks and my energy levels are back to normal.
3) I must have blood drawn every 4 weeks for the rest of the pregnancy :( to monitor the thyroid levels. Oh how I loathe having blood drawn.

Now for a more detailed account. The PA thoroughly explained that in both lab reports (1/10/11 and 2/18/11) my TSH (a hormone that is generated in the pituitary gland and interacts with the thyroid) was less than .01. Normal range is a TSH of 5 to .05. Because my TSH is abnormally low she believed my thyroid hormones (Free T4 and Free T3) would be abnormally high causing hyperthyroidism. I had my blood drawn to do a full thyroid panel.

Hyperthyroidism develops when the body is exposed to excessive amounts of thyroid hormone. This disorder occurs in 1% of the American population. During pregnancy this condition is most common in women with morning sickness, but I experienced no morning sickness. The opposite of a hyper thyroid is, hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone production). It is found in 1 out of 40 pregnant women, is less likely to resolve itself after pregnancy, and requires prescription medication.

Signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism include: fast heart rate, anxiety, weight loss, trembling hands, intolerance of warm temperatures, leg swelling, vision disturbances, muscle weakness. I have experienced no symptoms. Severe and untreated hyperthyroidism in the mother can cause preeclampsia and adverse effects on the baby including rapid heart rate, low birth weight, and birth defects.

On Friday I received some results from my blood work. My TSH remains at zero, however my thyroid hormones (Free T3 and Free T4) are within an acceptable range (not sure of the exact number). Therefore at this time the Dr. wants to continue to monitor my levels, but no prescription drugs are recommended. I will hear the rest of the results next week.

I will return in 5 weeks to once again check my hormone levels.


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  2. Well this is interesting news! I too assumed you had "hypo" instead, as it IS so much more common. But I guess I should've wondered when you said your doc said your thyroid levels were zilch. If you were hypo, your TSH would be high (actually anything over 3.5 or 4 can be considered hypothyroid by some drs), and low TSH means hyper, but as you learned the true test is knowing where your T4 and T3 are at (for many folks, their TSH is "normal" but their T4 or T3 is not. And in your case, vice versa).

    How funny that you have not had any symptoms! Though that is good news really. Hopefully all will return to normal after your pregnancy. I'm glad you don't require medication yet and hope you never do! (I have 2 different friends who've been hyperthyroid, and as I understand it there are 2 differing ideas on treatments, and they both sound kinda scary to me compared to treating hypothyroidism, lol)

    So happy you're happy and that this news is better than expected, I was kinda worried for ya!

  3. The only real treatment for thyroid disease, whether hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism or any other condition of thyroid gland, is cleansing of the system and adoption of a rational diet thereafter, combined with adequate rest, relaxation and bovine thyroid supplements .