Hypothyroidism

posted by Jeff | Thursday, August 12, 2021, 7:37 PM | comments: 0

Well, yesterday's post about good and bad in constant battle reinforced that illogical theory. This morning's follow-up with my doctor after the labs were processed revealed that I need to start taking meds for hypothyroidism. That's completely terrifying, and just what I needed before a particularly challenging day at work.

Of course I spent some time decoding what this means, but my doctor did a pretty good job of explaining the basics. Your thyroid makes hormones that controls all kinds of things, and tends to have a lot of influence on your cholesterol and weight, both of which are high. It tends to influence your general energy level and often depression as well. While I've never been in the "here come the diabeetus" range, all of the above have been out of normal range pretty much since I turned 40. Looking back at previous labs, I also wonder why I've never been tested for this since the recommended screening age is 35. The treatment is to take a synthetic hormone daily, and I could notice a difference in a day or two.

So while that's all terrifying, it's also interesting because it could pretty much be a treatment for everything else I've struggled to keep in the normal range. It's also a solid "fuck you" to the non-doctors that sell you the bullshit that you can get there if you just want it bad enough. I've become very sensitive to all of the non-expert advice for health out in the world these days, and this just reinforces that.

It might be a long six weeks to the follow-up though, because of course researching the medical literature creates as many questions as it does answers. The primary measurement of concern is TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), and the top of the normal range, per my doctor, is 4.5 mlU/L. Mine came in at 4.89. The reason this is interesting, is because older literature suggests the normal range ends at 5.0. There are calls to make the normal range end as low as 3.0, because there is some evidence that this is a precursor to serious disease. And what is serious? Well, technically hypothyroidism starts at 10.0. And if that's the case, what am I dealing with then? Below 10 but above 4.5 is what they call subclinical hypothyroidism. It seems there's a lot of controversy about the TSH level at which to intervene, but age is a factor. We just won't know if it helps me until I start the drugs and do labs again in six weeks, though I may feel something quickly. I also learned that iodine mostly drives your thyroid, and there's little question I don't get very much.

At the end of the day, I'm only a little out of normal range, but again, the difficulty of getting my cholesterol and weight in check suggests this could be a contributing factor. I think the thing that really brought it home though was the idea that maybe I'm not just mentally tired, I'm actually tired because I'm not producing hormones at the right level to regulate all my shit. I think it's pretty cool that my doctor picked up on that.

This is all difficult for me to roll with I guess because it's wholly unsettling to learn that some essential part of my body isn't working entirely as intended. And I have to get a colonoscopy too, because I'm at the age where I need to do that. God only knows what that's gonna look like with my history of lower GI nonsense. I'm having what I would consider an increasingly solid year for mental health, understanding myself, getting comfortable with who I am maybe for the first time in my life, and it seems unfair that my body isn't willing to celebrate accordingly.


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