Posts Tagged ‘Thyroid-stimulating hormone’

Myxedema Coma

IMG_1917 (2)Another week has come and gone and as with all weeks there were ups and downs. I had the joy of meeting up with friends on not just one day but two with lots of healthy laughter and some moments of poignancy. My birds entertained me royally from my kitchen window and my garden produced a plethora of multicolored beans.

On the downside our own private Idaho seems to be surrounded by forest fires that are spreading precipitously every day thanks to high winds and no precipitation. Our cabin is small and on the side of a mountain, so we watch and worry about seeing it every morning when we check our webcams. My prayers go out to all those who live and work in the area of the fires as these fires threaten not just their mountain cabins; the mere lick of a wind-swept flame could put their families in harm’s way.

While not really a downside the more serious issue of my health was discussed with my homeopathic/MD doctor and we are now trying to decide what all my food sensitivities are. There is a blood test I could do for $750 (“Should you win the lottery, or somehow find yourself with some spare cash.”) or I can keep a food diary and see if I can figure out what causes my burning mouth syndrome. Suspects include rosemary (for the moment) but who knows I haven’t kept a food diary in a long time and while this issue has plagued me for several years I can never connect it to anything in particular.

Anyway I wonder how your week was, did you have any health revelations? Did you see friends and spend lots of time laughing and enjoying just a touch of civil disobedience? Whatever your week presented you with I hope it was a week not wasted with something learned every day and every moment experienced even if not always enjoyed. After all even the bad things in life are to be appreciated. When you conquer the “bad things” you feel such a sense of relief and contentment.

I forgot my T3

One of my “Oh No” moments this week was being contacted on Krisinsight by a group member/friend. Her note stated that she was flying out-of-town for the weekend and she forgot her T3. Would she be okay? At first I panicked for her because there is a good chance she wouldn’t be okay.

After I gathered my wits, which can often be scattered under stress, I had some suggestions. What I didn’t want to tell her was the possible consequences of not taking your T3, especially if your thyroid no longer makes its own hormones, so I avoided the bad stuff and just tried to think of possible solutions.

Myxedema Coma

One consequence of not taking your T3, in case you didn’t know by now, is a condition called myxedema coma (a decompensated thyroid). If your body isn’t getting T3 (whether from taking T3 or taking a natural desiccated thyroid product or Syncrap)  you suffer loss of brain function due to low levels, over an extended period of time, of thyroid hormone.

Symptoms are severe mental changes, hallucinations, edema, difficulty breathing, abnormally low body temperature (80 degrees is possible) pleural effusion, etc. Myxedema coma is more likely caused by the failure of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus to make the thyroid hormone it is capable of making or you are not supplying the hormone in the case of someone who is already being treated for hypothyroidism.

There are various triggers for myxedema coma. Triggers might include various drugs (especially narcotics, anesthesia), stroke, trauma, heart failure, internal bleeding and last but not least forgetting to take your thyroid hormones. Ultimately a person who suffers myxedema coma may die if not treated promptly and correctly. This was the news I did not want to relay to my friend.

What can you do?

Instead I told her the first thing that popped in to my head. Perhaps she could try to find someone in her host city that would have T3 she could use until she got home. This would necessitate contacting the RT3 group and crying out for help which may or may not be very productive but it was the first thing I thought of and relayed to her.

Another idea would be to look up a health food store (even Wholefoods) that carries thyroid gland supplements. Taking that will supply you with T1, T2, T3 and T4, so once you are home you might have to go through a clearance process but at least you would prevent an issue of myxedema coma.

As I thought about this more I realized the best thing to do is contact your doctor or pharmacist and see what they can do to help you. In her case, she contacted her compounding pharmacy on Saturday morning. She was able to find a compounding pharmacy that was open  near her hotel and they were able to fill her prescription. That is where she left me as I am sure she got busy with the business of a class reunion and hopefully attended all the functions with no repercussions nor lack of thyroid medication.

Krisinsight

Thankfully most of us reading this will never suffer from myxedema coma but I thought it was something everyone should be aware of in case, just in case. I always travel with medication in several different places (but never in checked baggage) just to be sure I don’t leave home without my T3. It is a worry because to forget your T3 at home can have serious ramifications especially for those of us on T3-only.

I wonder if another good practice would be to investigate possible sources of thyroid meds wherever you are going. Google health food stores in the area and perhaps even call or email them and ask if they carry thyroid gland supplements. Talking to your doctor before you leave might serve the purpose of letting them know, if they get a call from out-of-state, you might have to call in case of emergency. I know I could do this with my homeopathic/ MD because she is a one person practice and sooner or later she would respond. Can you think of any other possible solutions to what could be a deadly omission to your holiday plans?

Summer’s Bounty Recipe

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My garden continues to produce but it is being very parsimonious this year. To use the word “bounty” is generous but it sounds good to my ears. Any other word would just  sound pathetic. For instance this year I planted an entire long row (at least 6 feet long) of little round French carrots and got perhaps as many as 12 carrots. Each one being precious I have only tasted one or two but yesterday I pulled six of them, washed and polished them like precious gems, and roasted them for supper.

When I was done I had these gorgeous carrot tops resting on my kitchen counter and I couldn’t throw them away, so I got this great idea of making pesto with them and found a recipe to provide amounts and possible ingredients. Did you know that carrot greens are high in potassium? We thyroid types always need potassium, so what better way than eating carrot green basil pesto?

Carrot Green-Basil Pesto

  • 1 large handful of carrot leaves without stems
  • 1 large handful of basil leaves
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 0r instead of seeds 1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces
  • 3/4 cup oil of your choice (I used 1/4 flax-seed oil and 1/2 cup olive oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
  • generous grinding of pepper

I put this all in my processor in the order as written and processed it until I had a smooth paste. It was pretty thick, so I added more oil but you could add the lemon juice the original recipe called for. Despite the fact that the article said carrot leaves can be bitter, the pesto is quite sweet and pleasant and I will use it as I would any pesto on gluten-free pasta, on sandwiches made with gluten-free bread or as a dip for fresh vegetables. Bon Appetito!

Santé,
Kris

 

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Blood Testing and the Results

IMG_1917 (2)As I stand at my computer the sun is shining on my back. I cannot tell you how good it feels to just see the sunshine after three days of low hanging clouds and on and off rain. I guess you could say I am solar-powered because I know my SU loves those low hanging cloudy days. He says they relax him and often he gets more done.

Speaking of getting things done, I had a little nudge this week from my homeopathic doctor to get a blood test done to check the status of my thyroid, so I finally went in and had a blood draw at LabCorp in Edina, MN.

If you haven’t heard me say it before I will say it again, I am a huge fan of LabCorp in Minnesota for several reasons. I find the staff are all consummate professionals. The facility is always clean and orderly. I have never been hurt by a blood draw nor ever left with a bruise or even so much as a sore spot. This doesn’t mean that you might not run in to a LabCorp that is not as good but if you are in the area, the office in Edina, MN has got to be one of the best.

The results are in

This year, as in years past, I ordered my thyroid panel from Life Extension when they had their blood panel sale in the spring. You do have to pay to have a membership at Life Extension but the blood panel sale alone makes it worthwhile. They also offer free consults with their medical staff and I have made use of that as well and it was professional and very helpful. If you aren’t a member the panels are still some of the most comprehensive blood tests offered, they will just cost you more. Also I will add if you follow (Like) them on Facebook they do offer free 6 month memberships once in a while and I have taken advantage of at least two of those offers as well.

I had my blood draw on Monday morning at 8 a.m. my results were in my e-box within two days. I think this is fantastic given how long it takes a doctor’s office to get results and then to let you know. The thyroid panel I chose cost me $56 and included TSH, FT3, FT4 and Thyroxine ( T4). My results were as follows:

  1. TSH- 0.084 range .450-4.5
  2. FT3-3.8 range 2.0-4.4
  3. FT4-0.06 range .82-1.77
  4. Thyroxine-0.5 range 4.5-12.0

How do you read these results?

Given conventional wisdom and the information your health providers have handed you, what do you think of my results? With a suppressed TSH can I sleep at night? Can a body survive with basically no T4? Is my FT3 too low? Were any of my results flagged as out of the normal range?

The answer

The answer to all the above questions is “yes”. First, I am sleeping quite well although my nights have been interspersed with nightmares of a sort. The sort that wake me up with a rapidly beating heart because I was either doing something physical or something upsetting in my dream. They don’t keep me awake for long and I can settle my heartbeat immediately. I know from experience that this means I am on a slightly too high dose of T3 but by slightly I mean only a fraction of a 25 mcg tablet and I think my body will adjust over time.

Current CT3M dose

I am currently taking a 25 mcg dose of T3 around 2 in the morning according to the CT3M method as described by Paul Robinson. Many of my dreams occur before 2 a.m. and once I take that 25 mcg dose my sleep improves and I sleep long and hard until 5-5:30. I am not absolutely certain what that means but I intend to find out with further research. My general feeling is I really need to take more T3 but I don’t think my adrenals are up to it yet and I need to obtain a diurnal cortisol test the next time I feel like spending $109 on tests.

Second answer; same as the first

Second, if you are on T3 only your FT4 and Thyroxine should be almost null. Your thyroid needs T3 to run smoothly and any T4 is actually converted to T3 before your thyroid can use it. For someone like me, with thyroid resistance, the T4 was actually blocking my cell receptors and interfering with my thyroid’s ability to get enough T3. The fact that I have basically no T4 is a little scary (to me) because it means my thyroid is dependent on the T3 I take and there is no T4 to convert to T3 but it is a good thing to see when you take T3-only and have a RT3 issue. Also bear in mind I hadn’t had any T3 for 13 hours when this blood draw was done, so the T3 is circulating for a long time.

Third; FT3

Third, my FT3 is a bit low. Now according to my functional medicine guy he liked my FT3 in the middle of the range, so he would have said this was almost borderline too high. However, when a patient is on T3-only your FT3 should be in the upper end of the range or perhaps slightly over. I feel pretty good with my FT3 at 3.8, so I think I will leave things as they are for now but I do like knowing that there is room for improvement.

Flags and other warnings

As for any flagging that was done, my TSH was flagged as “Low”. My FT4 was flagged as “Low” and my Thyroxine was flagged with the dreaded “ALERT”. If you are going to consider the path I have taken for treating your thyroid disease you really must educate yourself and have good, scientifically proven information for your guide. I would never do this on my own (I had a group of patients who had gone through the same thing and researched the subject thoroughly as my guide) nor as an uninformed novice because results like these are, to say the least, disturbing if you don’t know what they mean.

Krisinsight

I don’t know about my readers but I like knowing that things are okay because I know they aren’t perfect. My skin is still scaly especially if I bathe too regularly but it is summer and it has been hot (but isn’t at the moment). My sleep has its ups and downs and my dreams have been graphic lately (someone suggested no fermented food at bedtime and I have been drinking kefir every night, so no more of that). I have many nights when I ache especially my bum hip aches when laid on too long and my head has felt a bit muzzy lately. I keep trying to decide if all these things are part of aging or part of my disease.

I keep thinking that perhaps if I can eventually take 75 mcg of T3 or find that right remedy with the help of my homeopathic doctor things will be perfect. However, I am a human being, we, by nature, are not perfect. Is it so bad that my energy lags some days? I tend to think not, especially when most days my energy is good. As long as I can keep up with my two-year-old grandson hopping and skipping over cracks in the sidewalk and carrying him when he asks “Carry me?” Well I just feel blessed.  If sleep alludes me now and then that won’t kill me. As for aches and pains, if you increase your activity with muscles, tendons and ligaments that aren’t used to such activity you are going to ache a bit, so what do I expect?

I ask my readers, in all seriousness, what should I expect? Should I expect to be Suzanne Somers and be out there tooting my horn about my fabulous sex life and my 20-year-old body? Or should I be running a business where I work 24/7? I do neither of those but it makes me wonder. What is your energy like? How many aches and pains do you have? And to what do you attribute these good or bad things in your life?

Don’t be put off by the “S” word in the previous paragraph I just always wonder if she is on drugs or has had surgery, so Suzanne Somers is the first person who comes to mind when I feel a bit on the 50-ish side of life and start wondering if that is normal. That little detail cleared up, before I close I wanted to share a quick recipe for a blueberry elixir because blueberries are plentiful right now and it is the perfect time to make some of this to enjoy in the autumn. This recipe is from a book called Wild Medicinal Plants and it can be found on page 76.

Father Kneipp’s Elixir

  • 2 cups of Brandy (500 ml) do not get brandy with flavors added as they contain gluten sometimes
  • 7 ounces (200 g) organic blueberries, crushed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 whole cloves

Combine all the ingredients and macerate for 1 month away from any light. Stir from time to time. Strain after one month.

Drink one ounce (25 ml), pure or diluted, in the case of diabetes, gastritis, enteritis, colic, and intestinal gas, or poor night vision, or simply as a full-bodied and delicious digestive.

I made this a few years ago and it is so pleasant you will enjoy every drop but drink with reserve, it does contain alcohol and I can’t really think of any other way to make an elixir. If you can’t have alcohol then just enjoy some blueberries in whatever form you enjoy.

Santé,

Kris