Why Do I Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Doctor Tells Me My Lab Tests Are Normal?

Brenda is a 44 year old female who was deeply frustrated and at her wits end trying to find answers regarding her symptoms. She stated that she seemingly fell apart after giving birth to her last child approximately 12 years ago.

“I started feeling tired and sluggish all the time no matter how much sleep I had. All though I kept up my habit of exercising in the mornings, my weight began to balloon upward. Being frightened with this I began cutting my calories back to no avail. Within a year I had gained over 20 pounds and I am now over 28 pounds from my original weight prior to my last pregnancy. I now have other symptoms that include periodic headaches in the morning, my skin is dry and my hair is seemingly falling out. My bowel movements are less frequent and I’m feeling bloated, especially after meals. To make things worse, my sleep is becoming interrupted making it even more difficult to make it through my busy day. Of course with all this going on I’ve become depressed and lack the motivation to continue going to the gym.”

Unfortunately, this is all too common and all too often misdiagnosed. You see, Brenda had made the effort to visit her doctor to find answers. From what she understood from trying to educate her self, it certainly seemed that her symptoms could be the result of a thyroid condition. Within a week after her blood work came back, her doctor relayed to her that all was normal; no problems. Now most of us like to hear this, but when you have your health going down the tubes you want answers. Brenda was now further confused and feeling depressed.

Hypothyroidism is one of the most misdiagnosed conditions in this country. Typical blood labs used by most practitioners include only TSH, T4, T3 and perhaps free T3. TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone is produced by your pituitary gland and is activated to instruct your thyroid to release mostly inactive T4 which then converts into T3 in the liver, gastrointestinal tract and other various cells such as muscle, heart and nerve cells. Only about 60% of T4 ever becomes a usable form of T3.