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Thread: Another blood work thread--and I think my TSH is high page

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    diene's Avatar
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    Another blood work thread--and I think my TSH is high

    Just got my test results. It feels like getting the results for an actual exam--haha! So my lipids look good. Cholesterol is only slightly higher than it was pre-primal, 5 years ago.

    Total cholesterol: 156 mg/dL
    HDL: 76 (was 61 five years ago)
    LDL: 69 (was 59 five years ago)
    triglycerides: 54

    Now thyroid hormones. TSH looks high. I've read that ideally it should be around 1. I have to dig out my results from five years ago to compare. Hopefully I still have them somewhere.
    TSH: 2.33 uIU/mL
    T4: 6.3 ug/dL (Range is 4.5-12.0)
    T3 uptake: 33%
    Didn't get T3 tested. Should I get T3 tested? Guess it's time to read through Kresser's thyroid articles.

    Another thing that's concerning was my fasting glucose level: 92 mg/dL!! I almost fell out of my chair when I saw that. Did not expect that one. How the hell is my fasting glucose that high? I'm doing a high carb version of primal right now, around 150-200 g per day (guesstimate--I haven't been counting or tracking since I stopped VLC in Feb.), but our high carb isn't all that high by conventional standards. I also work out a lot. I run 3-4 times a week and Crossfit 3 times a week currently. I know that one glucose reading may not mean anything. My bf's mom has type II, and I'm going to see if she has a glucose monitor. If so, I can test again the next time we go over there.

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    namelesswonder's Avatar
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    92 isn't a high result.
    Why your
    Ugh, sorry that link looks icky. It's Chris Kresser on blood sugar.
    Last edited by namelesswonder; 04-23-2013 at 11:25 AM.
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  3. #3
    otzi's Avatar
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    85-95 is the supposed optimal range with anything under 120 considered normal.

    If you take a blood glucose reading upon waking and every 15 minutes until you eat 3 or 4 hours later, you will see blood glucose drop about 2-5 points an hour. 92 is nothing to worry about.

    Alao your TSH and T4 are fine. They, too, fluctuate throughout the day. 10 is high! Mine was once 54.

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    I think the more important questions are:
    How are you feeling?
    Do you have symptoms that lead you to think you have thyroid issues?
    Have you had vitamin D and ferritin levels tested.
    Are you getting 200mcg/day of selenium?

    The bigger thyroid picture is the actual thyroid hormones T4 and T3, especially free T4 and free T3. Many people feel best with their frees at midpoint of their respective ranges, or higher. Midpoint for the Total T4 range you gave (4.5-12.0) is 8.25.

    Fasting glucose is just a snapshot of blood sugar control and doctors would see your 92 as normal. If you are worried you could:
    1. Get a cheap meter and strips(Walmart has meters under $10 and 100 strips for around $40. Test postprandial levels at one and 2 hours after the start of a meal.
    2. Have HbA1c and fasting insulin tested

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    Your TSH isn't high. The 1.0 level for TSH is for those of us who are already diagnosed and taking supplemental hormones. Doctors like to keep our TSH at about 1.0 (but it's usually lower).

    The guidelines originally called for 5.0 and above as an indication of hypo, but it was lowered to 3.0 a few years back. A lot of labs (and doctors) still use the 5.0, so you will know a good thyroid doctor because he/she will be aware that the limit is 3.0.


    Most good thyroid doctors will treat someone with a TSH above 2.0 IF that person also has significant symptoms.

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    diene's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by namelesswonder View Post
    92 isn't a high result.
    Why your
    Ugh, sorry that link looks icky. It's Chris Kresser on blood sugar.
    Thanks! I'm just concerned because my number is so close to the upper end of the normal range. I mean, what's the difference between 92 and 96, really. Yet 92 is normal, but 96 is high.

    Quote Originally Posted by marcadav View Post
    I think the more important questions are:
    How are you feeling?
    Do you have symptoms that lead you to think you have thyroid issues?
    Have you had vitamin D and ferritin levels tested.
    Are you getting 200mcg/day of selenium?

    The bigger thyroid picture is the actual thyroid hormones T4 and T3, especially free T4 and free T3. Many people feel best with their frees at midpoint of their respective ranges, or higher. Midpoint for the Total T4 range you gave (4.5-12.0) is 8.25.
    My only symptom is the inability to lose weight. I did gain about 6 pounds for no reason last September, and since then I have not been able to lose anything despite (at one point, for a 3-4 month period) cutting calories to a degree that I haven't done since high school and also following a cyclic ketogenic diet. However, I have not continued to gain weight for no reason so it's probably not my thyroid. Right now I suspect the copper IUD that I got at the end of August. The IUD is coming out next week, and I will start worrying about my thyroid if my weight doesn't decrease after that.

    I did not get my vitamin D and ferritin levels tested. When I was shopping for tests, I opted for the one I just got and the heavy metal hair test instead of the vitamin D test. The heavy metal test because I'm concerned that my amalgam fillings are giving me mercury poisoning. I have about ten of them in my mouth, and I've had them for 14 years. That's a lot of amalgam over a long time, and mercury bioaccumulates so it's fun times. One of the symptoms of mercury poisoning is actually hypothyroidism.

    I take a selenium supplement mostly because selenium forms a complex with mercury and renders it harmless. I've been thinking about upping the dosage. I'm only taking 100 mcg currently. Think I'll increase it to 200.

    Quote Originally Posted by otzi View Post
    Alao your TSH and T4 are fine. They, too, fluctuate throughout the day. 10 is high! Mine was once 54.
    No way, your TSH was once 54?!

    Quote Originally Posted by emmie View Post
    Your TSH isn't high. The 1.0 level for TSH is for those of us who are already diagnosed and taking supplemental hormones. Doctors like to keep our TSH at about 1.0 (but it's usually lower).

    The guidelines originally called for 5.0 and above as an indication of hypo, but it was lowered to 3.0 a few years back. A lot of labs (and doctors) still use the 5.0, so you will know a good thyroid doctor because he/she will be aware that the limit is 3.0.


    Most good thyroid doctors will treat someone with a TSH above 2.0 IF that person also has significant symptoms.
    Thanks for that piece of info. I just read some of Kresser's articles, and he did mention that the functional range for TSH is 1.8-3.0 so I guess I am in the normal range.

    But, there's always the question of what the supposedly "normal" range is based on. Kresser did talk about how lab ranges are actually based on the distribution of the test results of the people who get tested there. My guess is that they take the distribution and try to fit it to a normal curve and maybe take 1 standard deviation from average as the range. So it would only be a good approximation of normal if the average person who gets tested is of normal health. Somehow I dont' think that the average American is of normal health.

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    TSH is high at 2.3 IF you are symptomatic. I was diagnosed initially as subclinical hypo with numbers like that but had many symptoms. If you are not symptomatic, I wouldn't worry at all, but if you have inexplicable fatigue, weight gain, joint and/or muscle pain, low temp, etc. I would request a FULL thyroid panel to take a closer look.

  8. #8
    otzi's Avatar
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    6 years ago, my TSH was 54 on a random lab. I felt great. They started me on Synthroid and increased the dose over 2 years to get TSH to 1.0. Over that 2 years, I also developed fatty liver disease, high cholesterol, high trigs (over 2000), gout, high bp, and fasting glucose of 130 with high A1C. In other words--full-blown metabolic syndrome. I did everything they said--low fat, whole grain, cardio...nothing. Went Primal and within 6 months was down 50 pounds and off most meds.

    I went off the Synthroid for about 6 months. My TSH crept from .8 to 6.5 in 6 months and I was getting some hypo symptoms like eyebrows thinning, cold hands, weight loss stalled. Got back on Synthroid, TSH now 2.0. Everything fine again.

    Once, during all this. I had three different doctors: an Endo, a VA doc, and my primary care doc. I asked them all to put in labs and had 3 draws for TSH on the same day, 2 hours apart in the same lab. Luckily I know the head phlebotomist and she played along. Bottom-line: 3 draws, over 6 hours and each one was different. They were 3.1, 3.5, and 4.8. I discussed this with my Endo and he said that's why TSH is a poor lab to use because it's just a snapshot of the moment it's drawn and it fluctuates through the day. Most won't treat anything under 5 or 6 without symptoms, however, others will treat anyone with any lab over 3.0. Kinda weird, but Synthroid is big $$ for hospitals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by otzi View Post
    6 years ago, my TSH was 54 on a random lab. I felt great. They started me on Synthroid and increased the dose over 2 years to get TSH to 1.0. Over that 2 years, I also developed fatty liver disease, high cholesterol, high trigs (over 2000), gout, high bp, and fasting glucose of 130 with high A1C. In other words--full-blown metabolic syndrome. I did everything they said--low fat, whole grain, cardio...nothing. Went Primal and within 6 months was down 50 pounds and off most meds.

    I went off the Synthroid for about 6 months. My TSH crept from .8 to 6.5 in 6 months and I was getting some hypo symptoms like eyebrows thinning, cold hands, weight loss stalled. Got back on Synthroid, TSH now 2.0. Everything fine again.

    Once, during all this. I had three different doctors: an Endo, a VA doc, and my primary care doc. I asked them all to put in labs and had 3 draws for TSH on the same day, 2 hours apart in the same lab. Luckily I know the head phlebotomist and she played along. Bottom-line: 3 draws, over 6 hours and each one was different. They were 3.1, 3.5, and 4.8. I discussed this with my Endo and he said that's why TSH is a poor lab to use because it's just a snapshot of the moment it's drawn and it fluctuates through the day. Most won't treat anything under 5 or 6 without symptoms, however, others will treat anyone with any lab over 3.0. Kinda weird, but Synthroid is big $$ for hospitals.

    OMG this sounds like a real good reason NOT to diagnose and treat thyroid based simply on TSH especially when your exhibiting no symptoms!

    Glad your doing better though!

  10. #10
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    That is crazy, Otzi!!

    I no longer take synthroid either and haven't since shortly after going primal/paleo over 3 years ago. Still have some symptoms but they are greatly diminished when I eat well. I FEEL it when I have a bender -any gluten or junk makes me ache all over - feels like arthritis. All the old symptoms come back. I wasn't off the charts - some people do need their thryoid meds though!
    Last edited by Angieh; 04-23-2013 at 07:36 PM.

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