Guest Author - Jim Lowrance
The questions in this series were sent to me from thyroid patients or those asking on behalf of patients. I have briefly summarized the questions that were asked, followed by the answers I supplied them.
QUESTION: My son suffers severe anxiety symptoms and hair loss. What type blood testing is needed and what type Doctor should we seek for testing?
ANSWER: I'm sorry to hear about your son's very unpleasant symptoms. From the sound of it, thyroid blood tests would be a really good idea because it sounds very similar to the type symptoms found in either hyperthyroid conditions or autoimmune hypothyroidism which can first present with hyperthyroid symptoms.
To be honest, the type Dr. doesn't matter a great deal until you first determine what area of health the symptoms represent. Any Doctor who can order blood tests would be good and I would ask that he/she order a "thyroid panel" and "thyroid antibodies". Some Doctors are sometimes reluctant to order thyroid antibodies until first testing thyroid hormone levels however thyroid autoimmunity can begin causing symptoms in advance of causing abnormal thyroid hormone levels and is why it is important the tests for them be added when symptoms match those of thyroid disease. The thyroid antibodies that can detect both autoimmune caused hypothyroid and hyperthyroidism are the "TPO, TG and TSI".
Since testing will be ordered, it is my opinion that a CBC (complete blood count) also be done and glucose level testing for diabetes. None of the tests are very expensive and would help to rule out other possibilities and zero in on the problem.
QUESTION: After treatment for hypothyroidism for 20 years, Iíve lately experienced a return of hypothyroid symptoms and requiring frequent dose changes over the past several months, why is this happening?
ANSWER: My suspicion is that with your Dr. watching your blood lab levels, he can see that you're entering a phase of needing dose increases. He should be able to get you leveled out again over time. I've heard of this before, when patients seem to reach a point that their own thyroids finally fizzle out or at least reach a more significant point of damage and non-functioning.
When we take thyroid hormone, it is to aid our own thyroids in supplying hormone but over time, it does actually replace the thyroid completely once it reaches its expected death from years of auto-antibodies attacking it.
As you are treated, you might ask for copies of your labs and discuss anything with your Dr. you see in them that you feel might improve your results. I have articles in which I discuss thyroid hormone therapy that you might want to look at as well (click the heading "Thyroid Tests" on the Thyroid Health homepage).
The link to part two of this series is in "related links" below this article.