Posted 9/21/2009 8:45 AM (GMT -7)
Hi Pemmy. I also have Hashimoto's and it was discovered by accident. I was very sick but my docs and I all believed that my symptoms were caused by the two other autoimmune diseases that I have, Crohn's and Spondylitis. An MRI was ordered to asses the level of arthritis in my C-spine and calcified thyroid nodules were reported. Luckily, I knew a lot about Hashimoto's because my sister had been dx with it years earlier. Her thyroid eventually got so bad that half required removal.
Anyway, I insisted that along with the Ultrasound, my doc order thyroid antibodies and he indulged me. The results for both tests were >200, which is the highest level the lab we used will report. My T3, T4 and TSH were all in the normal range, but the T4 was only 0.8 with that being the lowest "normal" level in a reference range of 0.8-1.8, so he referred me to an Endocrinologist.
She reviewed my results, did a complete history and physical and told me that not only did I have Hashimoto's, but I was in the early to mid stage of thyroid failure and needed to start on Synthroid immediately. In only a few days, I felt amazingly better. In fact, I felt like I had been sleep walking for the previous few months and was suddenly awakened.
Over the course of the next year, we increased my dose twice and I was much improved. Since I still suffer with other active autoimmune diseases, I can't honestly say that I felt great, but there was a remarkable improvement.
about 6 months ago I switched from Synthroid to Armour. I was having increased problems that I thought might be thyroid related and so I began doing some research. My sister had switched to Armour about a year before and she kept telling me that she was doing so much better on it. As it turns out, synthroid (levothyroxine) is essentially T4 and the body must convert it to T3. This works out just fine for most people, but some do better with a combination therapy of T3 and T4, which Armour is. Since the switch, I am doing well but to be honest, I haven't seen any real difference and the problems I had hoped to resolve or at least improve, especially the excessively dry skin are unchanged. Somehow, they must be caused by one of my other diseases.
Although most labs and docs consider the TSH reference range of 0.5 - 5.0 to be normal, there is a great deal of controversy about it. More and more are now using 0.3 - 3.0 in general and many try to keep it even lower in patients with thyroid antibodies. My TSH level stays below 1.0 now.
The thyroid antibody tests that are used to Dx Hashimoto's are Thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb), reference range 0-12* and Thyroglobulin antibody (TgAb), reference range 0-34*. If your antibody levels are in the 200s, they are way too high and you should be being treated with some form of thyroid hormone replacement. If your Doc is not treating you, you should seek a second opinion.
*NOTE: The reference range for any test will vary from one lab to another. I wrote the levels used by my lab.
I hope this info helps.