Dieting with Obstacles - Insulin Resistant or Hypothyroidism?




Esmeralda
01-03-2009, 12:25 AM
I've read on various health sites that the symptoms for insulin resistance and having an underactive thyroid can be really similar. I suspect I may have hypothyroidism, but it worries me that I might be becoming insulin resistant from my low fat/higher carb (which also means higher sugars) diet.

Aside from seeing a doctor and getting tests done (not possible at the current time), is there any way to get a better idea to distinguish between the two? What are the major differences?


kaplods
01-03-2009, 12:36 PM
To the best of my knowledge, there's no way to tell if you've got a thyroid problem except by testing. The crossover symptoms with other conditions (including insulin resistance) are just far too many. If a doctor can't tell without tests, I don't think there's any way for a layman to.

Personally, I would worry more about thyroid than insulin resistance (because the health impacts can be pretty severe), and I believe from my reading (but it's not been scientific reading, so I wouldn't guarantee the information) that insulin resistance responds better to diet changes than thyroid, so you might consider trying a low or lower carb diet (or "good carb" diet like South Beach), and seeing if your symptoms resolve.

However, thyroid also responds, at least somewhat (or so, again I read) to carb-controlled dieting, so I'd still consider getting thyroid testing and possibly a glucose tolerance test as soon as possible.

JulieJ08
01-03-2009, 01:12 PM
Aside from seeing a doctor and getting tests done (not possible at the current time), is there any way to get a better idea to distinguish between the two?

Bottom line, nope.

However, I think avoiding refined carbs and sugar, and all sorts of other eating healthiness, is the way to go for everyone. With some diagnoses, you may need to take it farther, but I do think everyone needs to eat better.


angiemo3
01-03-2009, 01:25 PM
I've read on various health sites that the symptoms for insulin resistance and having an underactive thyroid can be really similar. I suspect I may have hypothyroidism, but it worries me that I might be becoming insulin resistant from my low fat/higher carb (which also means higher sugars) diet.

Aside from seeing a doctor and getting tests done (not possible at the current time), is there any way to get a better idea to distinguish between the two? What are the major differences?

I do not know much about thyroid problems but I was diagnosed with insulin resistance at one time. If that is what it is, then weight loss should help clear any symptoms up. I was diagnosed by my fertility doc and she made me go to WW and put me on metformin. I lost 60 pounds, stopped all meds and everything has been normal for the last 4 years. A simple blood test can tell you if you have insulin resistance. I just had one run at my GYN's office last week and it came back fine. My advice is to check with your doctors office and tell them your financial situation, they will be able to put you on a payment plan for the visit and test, plus they may do only the tests you want for financial reasons.

kaplods
01-03-2009, 05:27 PM
Another thing to consider, if you don't have insurance, is that many doctors offices give significant discounts - if you can pay for the appointment at the first visit or with a down payment and a payment plan that they approve. I've heard of them cutting the bill by as much as half.

Another option is calling the health department, asking to speak to a nurse, and explaining your situation. Many county health departments have free or inexpensive screening programs for a variety of health issues. Some of them have income limits, and some may be free to the public. The probably would also know which doctors or clinics in the area are the best for uninsured or underinsured folks.

Iffy
01-06-2009, 04:38 PM
I do not know much about thyroid problems but I was diagnosed with insulin resistance at one time. If that is what it is, then weight loss should help clear any symptoms up. I was diagnosed by my fertility doc and she made me go to WW and put me on metformin. I lost 60 pounds, stopped all meds and everything has been normal for the last 4 years. A simple blood test can tell you if you have insulin resistance. I just had one run at my GYN's office last week and it came back fine. My advice is to check with your doctors office and tell them your financial situation, they will be able to put you on a payment plan for the visit and test, plus they may do only the tests you want for financial reasons.

What are the blood tests that someone should get to see if they are insulin resistance - do you know the codes?

Thanks!

kaplods
01-06-2009, 07:54 PM
The insulin resistance test isn't usually a simple blood test, it's something called a "glucose tolerance test," I don't know the code, but it's a very distinctive test. You fast for 12 hours or as your doctor directs, and then they draw blood. Then they give you a sugary drink and you're given a small amount of time to drink it (it's plenty of time to drink it without having to guzzle it) and then you wait a certain amount of time (I don't remember what it is, but it's a relatively long time to be sitting in a waiting room, so I brought a book and some needlework to give me something to do while I waited).

Some doctors instead of using the glucose tolerance test will go by the diabetic tests (12 hours fasting) for blood sugar and the HA1C which is a long-term blood sugar test. If your numbers are elevated, but not high enough for diabetes, that will be sufficient to diagnose insulin resistance or prediabetes (I've been told by doctors that they are the same thing, and by others that they aren't some folks never develop diabetes so prediabetes may be a bad term). However, since many insulin resistant folks have normal results to the diabetic tests, the glucose tolerance test is more sensitive.

I've heard that the glucose tolerance test can be done in a number of ways to find other problems too, like reactive hypoglycemia (when your blood sugar spikes quickly and later plummets drastically after eating high-GI carbohydrate such as sugar). I don't know much about this, as I had the standard test. The liquid wasn't bad as I was told to expect, but it was too sweet. I had a choice between orange and strawberry. I abhore artificial strawberry flavoring, so I took the orange and it reminded me of flat orange soda.

WarMaiden
01-06-2009, 08:04 PM
You actually can have your fasting insulin tested, too. I can't remember what the normal levels are on that--it's something like under 10 is normal, over 20 is insulin resistance. It's years ago that I had it done, when IR was first being recognized.

bikinidreamin
01-30-2009, 05:54 PM
There are some companies that will do the thyroid testing through the mail, too. ZRT Labs is one that I know, you could google and find more.