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Thyroid Diseases

How Can I Get Tested?

09/19/2011

Question:

I am in my 50s and have virtually all the symptoms of low thyroid. I am exhausted all the time and can barely drag myself around. I feel like a clock that is winding down and going to stop. Honestly, I feel like I am dying. Every female in my family, mother, sisters, aunts, was diagnosed with thyroid deficiency at a much younger age than I am now. My dr. won`t test me. He always just says, "You need to lose weight." I have tried and tried to lose weight but honestly, I`m not kidding when I say I can barely drag myself around. I feel like I am moving through the world in slow motion. I am often exhausted after just getting dressed (sometimes have to rest between putting on pants and putting on a top). I get exhausted and out of breath just walking from my house to my car. It is like telling me to fly to the moon to tell me to "exercise." And when I just try to eat less I have even less energy. I can barely stay awake. I often feel more like I`m on the verge of losing consciousness than falling asleep. I really want to have my thyroid tested but my dr just chews me out and says, "There`s no magic pill, you need to lose weight." What words do I have to say to my dr that would make him decide to test my thyroid, or do any other kind of test for that matter, other than just telling me to lose weight? I had a (normal weight) co-worker who had what seem to me like very mild symptoms of 1-2 months` duration and her dr tested her thyroid right away (and diagnosed a thyroid problem and prescribed medication). I`ve been dragging myself around for years and feeling like I am just sliding further and further downhill. I know lots of people who are a lot older than me or fatter than me who don`t seem nearly as disabled as I feel. They actually have normal lives, can go places, do things, don`t dread the thought having to drag themselves more than a few steps at a time, etc. My dr tried giving me antidepressants several times and they did absolutely nothing for me, except for making me gain more weight. What am I doing wrong?

Answer:

I don't think you are doing anything wrong, and I don't know what else you can say to convince the doctor to order the test. The test for low thyroid levels is a simple blood test, and if your doctor hasn't already done one in the past then I can't think of a reason not to order it now. Are you certain that this is the right doctor for you? Having said that, I must caution you that the symptoms you have described are extremely nonspecific, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if your thyroid levels came back normal. Still, from the history you give, it seems like your symptoms deserve more of an evaluation.

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Response by:

Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University