By now you may have realized that you are dealing with what may in fact be a thyroid problem.
You are probably asking “Why would it be a thyroid problem when you just said it was chronic fatigue?”
The reason is that thyroid symptoms often have the same signs and symptoms that chronic fatigue has. It’s just that chronic fatigue is a general diagnosis that doctors often give when patients are not taken seriously.
A thyroid problem is the same thing with a different title.
It’s best not to complicate matters when you know you are suffering from chronic fatigue. You don’t need to be a doctor to realize that the label doesn’t matter at all. If your symptoms match the symptoms of chronic fatigue, you may very well have a problem with your thyroid.
The question is, once you realize you may need help, what do you do next?
TSH and your thyroid
TSH, or thyroid stimulating hormone, is created by the pituitary gland in your brain. Your thyroid is told by your pituitary gland to make and release the thyroid hormones into your blood. These hormones control many of the body’s functions.
Many people don’t realize how important the thyroid really is.
The easiest way to find out if your thyroid is underactive or overactive is to get a TSH test to discover your level.
This is what many doctors will recommend. However, just knowing your TSH level doesn’t tell the whole story.
Unfortunately, some doctors will write off your symptoms even though there is a high probability that you have a sick thyroid and say you just need to lose weight and exercise.
Of course, that is impossible to do if your thyroid isn’t working properly.
If you are fortunate to find a doctor who will listen to you and order the TSH test; there is an even better step you can take. I will get into that a little later.
Before I get into the TSH level that you should be in range with for optimal thyroid health, let me share something with you.
Let’s Get Real
Now I am going to be very honest and transparent here with my readers. I went for many years without having my thyroid problem diagnosed, (I estimate around six years or more).
This was only because of one thing. I was terrified of needles.
Actually, I still am scared of them. I hesitated to broach this subject because I get so queasy at the thought of it.
But that one thing was the thorn in my side to discovering I had a thyroid problem.
It may even be yours.
I imagine there are others out there reading this that have the same fear.
I put it off and put it off, thinking that if I just tweaked my diet or ate more coconut oil it may just fix my problem and I could avoid the real issue.
All the while my poor thyroid was just getting worse and worse.
Please don’t make the same mistake I made. I’m trying to be compassionate here in my approach to what you may be suffering.
If you suspect you may have a thyroid problem, the kindest thing you can do for yourself is have it checked out.
Don’t wait until you have the most severe symptoms and your life is turned upside down because of it.
Optimal TSH Levels
This next subject is one of a controversial nature. You may have already read somewhere that TSH levels are normal when they fall into a range between 0.4 and 4.0 milliunits per liter (mU/L). Some sources even say that anything under 10 is considered within normal range and that you may be considered hypothyroid if your levels are above that!
Here’s the thing. The levels in those ranges are outdated and extremely dangerous for a patient to trust.
Don’t believe that this is a normal range. It is not.
I have since learned that any TSH level above 2 is not within an optimal range.
You want to aim to get into an optimal range for your TSH.
Everyone is different.
Remember, “normal” is not the same as optimal.
“Normal” probably won’t be when you are actually feeling good.
Go by how you feel and what your symptoms are to determine your “optimal” TSH level.
When you have your first TSH test done, a good doctor will retest you, likely after 6 weeks, and probably a couple or more times after that until your levels are stabilized.
The important thing is knowing what range an optimal level falls into.
If it is determined that your TSH is not within optimal levels, your doctor will probably prescribe a thyroid medication for you.
Everyone’s optimal TSH level will be different. That’s why it is important to work with your doctor to find the level that works well for you.
A doctor who is knowledgeable and caring will certainly help you find your optimal level.
Don’t let anyone tell you that your symptoms are “normal” because your TSH is normal.
Full Thyroid Panel
If you want to take things a step further, be sure to ask your doctor for a full thyroid panel.
- Free T3
- Free T4
- Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies
- Thyroglobulin Antibodies
- A thyroid ultrasound
If your tests show that you have antibodies, there is a good chance you’ve been dealing with a thyroid problem for a long time. Sometimes thyroid levels are elevated for many years before a person is diagnosed!
When you have antibodies, your thyroid has probably been under attack for a while.
There are other thyroid tests you can have done, but these are the basics. Your doctor should be able to help you determine what tests you need in particular.
Be Your Own Advocate
Hopefully, when you have this knowledge you’ll be able to take the next steps to finding out if your thyroid is working or not.
If you find that you just can’t get your doctor to run the proper tests, do yourself a favor and find a different doctor!
I would recommend looking for an integrative doctor who specializes in thyroid disease.
You may have one in your area and if that is the case you are blessed.
Also, some doctors offer telemedicine which is nice because they can order your labs for you without you having to worry about getting the tests that you need.
This means you won’t have to fight for the proper care.
That in itself is a big hoop to jump through for many people.
If you take the steps listed here, you are on your way to finding out what your TSH level is and discovering if you have a thyroid problem. That deserves a pat on the back for your courage to do what you now know you need to do.
Take a deep breath and just jump in. The hardest part is just getting over your fear.
Once you do you’ll be well on your way to feeling good again.
Go Gluten Free
There are other things you can do to keep your thyroid healthy. Whether or not you are in optimal levels just yet, I would highly recommend you consider adopting a gluten-free diet if you are diagnosed with a thyroid problem.
That’s the first thing I did once I found out my thyroid was way out of whack. It certainly can be hard to stick to a gluten-free diet, but I have found it to be well worth it.
Once you get the hang of it, it’s not so bad.
Not sure why you would do that? Gluten free is so restrictive right?