Dieting with Obstacles - Do Dr's know alot about hypothyroidism? or low iron?

05-13-2006, 02:20 PM
I went to my regular internal doctor complaining of being cold, tired and forgetful. Also having a hard time losing weight. She did a CBC and checked for thyroid. I got my tests back today and my level of TSH is 2.213 and they list between .350-5.5 as normal. Should this cause concern to make me think they don't know what they're doing? Endocrinologists say it's between .3-3 and she didn't even test for T3 or T4. I'm glad that came back normal, but I want to make sure everything really is normal and ignorance to the topic on behalf of my doctor isn't going to leave me undiagnosed with something.

Also, my ferritin, serum was low. She told me to take an iron supplement. Anyone else low on iron or know anything about it?

PS~This test wasn't planned so I wasn't fasting--I don't know if that affects the results.

05-13-2006, 05:38 PM
Your TSH is normal. T3 and T4 are usually only tested if the TSH is abnormal. Fasting makes no difference for your ferritin level.

I'm not sure why you don't think your doctor knows what she is doing, but if you lack faith in her, consider choosing another doctor.

05-13-2006, 05:40 PM
TSH is a good screening test for thyroid abnormalities. A free T4 and T3 level is usually only done when hyperthyroidism is suspected. Your TSH is normal. Yes, doctors know alot about both hypothryroidism and about anemias of all kinds. The CBC and TSH are unaffected by fasting.

05-15-2006, 05:53 PM
I suppose reasonable minds could differ on the subject. Some doctors know a lot - and others, I don't have a very high opinion of. Perhaps it just means that doctors' knowledge is just based on scientific study, and there's a lot left to be learned about how the human body operates. Only recently, doctors have started acknowledging subclinical hypothyroidism as a diagnosis and started treating it. Even though TSH may not be high enough, when it is in the higher ends of "normal" and when there are symptoms, doctors start to suspect it. I think I was hypo for years before being diagnosed - even with me asking them point blank. One doctor, a holistic doctor, suggested that I might have it when doing a thorough background on me (before lab work). Being diagnosed, and then going on treatment has made a tremendous difference for me. I didn't do well on synthroid - I am currently on armour and feel fabulous. Best I've felt in years.... and finally have been able to lose some weight.

05-16-2006, 10:36 AM
Thank you Rhonda. I have been thoroughly researching this topic and have found that TSH levels alone might not be enough to diagnose it. Although my iron level was only at 7, when it's supposed to be between 40-290 to not be iron deficient, so obviously theres a great problem there. I'm on an iron supplement so we'll see how it makes me feel. I've also learned that if you're iron deficient, your body doesn't properly convert T3 to T4 I think?, so I really wish she would have tested those levels to see if it was affecting me.

I wasn't trying to sound like I knew more than my doctor and that I don't trust her. I just know that some regular internal doctors might not know as much about endocrine disorders as a specialist. Thats all.

But, thank you everyone for your opinions and responses. :)

05-18-2006, 03:48 PM
Always go with what the endocrinologist's go by. I have been struggling with hypothyroid for 5 years and the first year I was tested 4 times and always came back on the low end of the "normal" range according to my dr. I had every single symptom of hypothyroid so my dr. sent me to an endocrinologist that was APPALLED that I was not on thyroid meds. I also found out that ALL my hormones were messed up. Progesterone was extremely low, testosterone was high, estrogen was low. Ridiculous. Im only 25 so dr.s dont think to test things like that when your having problems. Im now on 4grams of natural thyroid which is a high dose considering I was on the low end of "normal" but what nobody bothers to tell you is that no one knows what "normal" is. So endocrinologists usually go by symptoms. Usually, not always, hypothyroid people have dry skin and hair. Ridges on their finger nails, tired ALL THE TIME no matter how much sleep your getting. Depression, cold, extreme trouble losing weight, the best indicator though is to take your temperature every morning before you get up. for a week, when your not ovulating of course. if its lower than 98 degrees then you should definately make an appointment with an endocrinologist. Mine was 96 degrees on the dot. In fact I think EVERY woman should go to an endocrinologist every couple of years for a complete hormone work-up. Or if you have any sense of not feeling good and not knowing why. My endocrinologist is my miracle worker. I really think you should see one if you have any doubts at all about your other docs diagnosis or results. Sorry if Im being preachy;) I just dont want anybody to have to go through all the mess I had to go through to feel better:)

05-18-2006, 05:28 PM

I am someone whose low thyroid problem was missed for over 20 years bec the TSH was the only thing that very good doctors ran. I talk to people almost daily who are finding out that the TSH alone was not adequate to find their problem. There are more accurate tests that can be run – the Free T3 and Free T4 – along with the thyroid antibodies tests – at the same time they run the TSH.

My TSH has never been higher than 2.30 (which is close to yours at 2.213). I had a long list of hypo symptoms but the docs would simply run the TSH and say “your thyroid is fine”.

Once my oldest son’s thyroid problem was FINALLY diagnosed then I was able to get his doc to also treat mine. I now take 5 grains (300 mgs) of Armour Thyroid daily and feel like myself again. I now have a long list of hypo symptoms that are gone and/or much better!!!!!!!

I have already posted some info at 3fc that you might be interested in at:

Also posted in this thread I gave this recent example of someone else’s TSH looking “fine” but the thyroid problem DOES show up in the other thyroid tests.

"I just wanted to add this example here of how unreliable the TSH can be.
This gals bloodwork was run and she was told her thyroid was "normal" bec the TSH was in range. Then all the correct tests were run, as set forth above, and as you can see her Free T4 is below the range, and her Free T3 is very low in the range, and she also has thyroid antibodies that are attacking the thyroid hormone that she DOES have. This gal is now being treated with Armour Thyroid bec the correct tests were run.

TSH - 1.7 (Range 0.3 -3.0)

FREE T4 - .7 (Range 0.8-1.8)

FREE T3 - 90 (Range 60-180)

Antibodies were 126 & 146."

There is also info on another thread called “New to Hypothyroid” at:

Also, there is a lot of great info at that might be of help to you.

Almost everything important that I have learned about this thyroid stuff is now located at that website and there are forums for questions and discussions.

Please just holler if I can help you in any way with any of this.
take care,

05-19-2006, 01:31 PM
Cathy, thank you very much for sharing your wealth of info. I thought I had heard that sometimes TSH levels aren't enough, but with two responses saying I was fine, I was going to take it as "word" Thank you for offering the flip side of the coin.

Moodymama, it's funny you say that, my normal healthy body temperature has been low since I can remember. I just took it now and it's 97.4~which is what it ALWAYS is. I wonder if that means something? I've become so accustomed to it being low that I KNOW I'm sick when my temp is above 99, just because my regular is so low.

Well ladies, I'm a college student and was on my dad's health insurance, but I'm switching to my mom's b/c she works in gov't and her copays are $0 so as soon as that kicks in, I'm going to see an endocrinologist.

Another question, sorta embarassing, I have this facial hair that I have to pluck like everyday. It's on my chin and under it and even on the sides of my face. I'm fair featured so I sort of don't understand it. Have you ever heard of this symptom? I know it's part of being PCOS, but I ovulate completely regularly. I guess my best bet is to just get full work done by an endo huh?

05-19-2006, 02:43 PM
"Cathy, thank you very much for sharing your wealth of info. I thought I had heard that sometimes TSH levels aren't enough, but with two responses saying I was fine, I was going to take it as "word" Thank you for offering the flip side of the coin."

Girl I totally understand this. I was told for 20 years mine was fine and only WISH someone would have told me about these other tests. I eve asked the docs if there weren't other tests that could be run but was told "nope just the TSH" - which probably meant they felt that was all that was needed.

Concerning the temperature thing - before Armour my temp averaged around 97.2. Now it stays around 98.4 or even 98.6 wooohooooooo I think low body temp is a good indication of a thyroid problem (especially if you have other hypo symptoms) - even tho I was told it probably had to do with taking birth control pills (since they thought my TSH looked fine).

My son's temp has never been low. His has always been normal so just wanted to mention that is possible to be hypo and not have a low body temp. The thyroid can affect so many things which means that it can affect so many people in so many different ways.

Just wanted to mention this Aimster, in hopes of saving you some time (and possibly money), when you are making an appt with an Endo you might want to ask first if they will run whatever thyroid tests you request - namely the Free T3 and Free T4 and antibodies tests, and if they prescribe Armour (if it is important to you that you get both T4 AND T3 in a thyroid med).

take care,

07-11-2006, 09:28 AM
I was always extremely tired and cold, and very forgetful and this went on for almost 8 months. My legs were so fatigued and sore I have had to hold on to the wall to walk, and this had never happened to me before. My family doc would not send me for tests of any kind, so I found a new doc that sent me for blood work and found my iron to be almost non existent. He put me on 3 iron a day and it has been now nearly 2 months and I have yet to feel different. I take the iron with vitamin C as they say that is how it get's into your system in the best posible way. I am losing weight, now quickly but still consistantly losing.

07-18-2006, 04:45 PM
Just another idea for you. Definitely go to the endocrinologist. Normal gen prac's do not always know what to look for. I have been tested for years for hypothyroidism and my gen prac has found nothing. I went to the endo after having some serious weight gain and while my test results and numbers were perfectly in normal range, they found that the antibody for Hashimoto's disease (hypothyroidism) was positive. They immediately put me on medication to stop problems and try to help correct some of the weight issues I had been having. I just started those yesterday so I can't tell you if they are working or not but I can tell you that I had blood test from my gen prac in March and they told me that nothing was wrong. So honestly now I have no idea how long I have had this in my system but am hoping that the medication helps. Good luck to you and find a good endo, they really know what they are looking for.