thyroid exam, low thyroid function, underactive thyroid, thyroid blood tests

Q. I was misdiagnosed for five years and it nearly cost me my life. I was eventually told I had Parkinson’s disease and referred to a neurologist.

During the neurological exam, I was asked if I had ever had a thyroid test. A simple blood test that I had never been given would have shown that I suffered with a hyperactive thyroid. It was out of control and all my internal organs were seriously affected.

The endocrinologist called in consultants and all agreed it was a miracle I was still alive. They had never seen a case as severe as mine. My heart was racing at 180 beats a minute, and no one had detected it.

My all-over shaking was visible. I could not sign my name, and they had a hard time doing scans because I had difficulty keeping still. I was terrified at the diagnosis, but I learned to take control of my health by asking lots of questions and looking things up.

A. An overactive thyroid gland is a serious health threat. It is shocking that it took five years to diagnose your condition, which responds to medication, radioactive iodine or surgery.

We are sending you our Guide to Thyroid Hormones with detailed information about symptoms, testing and treatment. Untreated hyperthyroidism can lead to weakened bones and heart disease and should not be ignored. As you discovered, however, this diagnosis is not always uppermost in the physician’s mind. 

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  1. Trish

    I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism in 2011 (after suffering for over 2 years). To control the rapid heart rate and shaking I was put on Inderal to lower my heart rate and Ativan to control the shaking. I was also put on Anti Thyroid meds to see if they could get my thyroid levels under control. I was allergic to the meds (rashes, itching all over)so I had my thyroid removed in March 2012. Then began the long, frustrating up and down dosage of Synthroid (non-generic) to get my levels stabilized. They found I was allergic to the Synthroid and my levels would not improve.
    After doing some research, I heard about natural compounded meds that might be the answer for me. So, in December 2012, I asked my doctor to please put me on a natural hormone. The first prescription was like a difference of night and day — though my levels were not stabilized, I began to feel so much better after about a week of taking the new formula. As time past, I started feeling better a little everyday. My prescription has been changed for a 2nd time and my levels are showing terrific improvement (I’m almost there!). My weight is starting to get back to normal, my head is clear, anxiety almost gone, heart rate returning to normal, skin, hair, eyes, bones (and tailbone) not aching.
    This compounded medicine has saved my life and my sanity! Though my insurance DOES NOT cover the cost, I don’t care — I’ll gladly pay the cost of these meds. My particular meds are compounded from duck feathers — can you believe it?! Who would have thought.

  2. DCL

    Can anyone, tell me anything, about Hyperparathyroidism? My Serum Ca has been slightly elevated for 3-4 yrs. 10.4. My Pth test is about 78. My major symptom, I have is gas, sinus? mucous, and mild nausea, but keeps my appetite and social life down. I am 83, quite healthy, I think, have easily controlled BP, beta-blocker and Ca channel blocker. A bit tired, but I am 82. I saw an endocrinologist, but his Pth test came out low, so repeated. 3rd came out same as first, about 78. I am confused. I do not want to take lots of meds and understand the pth gland responsible, is hard to locate. I live in SC. Prob.. need good pathologist to locate the culprit, & good Thyroid surgeon to remove it. Sure would like to know more. I can go to Boston, Detroit, U of SC School of Med. Mayo in Jacksonville. Any info would be appreciated.

  3. SMH

    This sounds like my story all over again. I too experienced all this including the misdiagnosis of Parkinson’s disease without ever checking my thyroid with a simple blood tests. The inability to sign your name and the visible shaking of the body were terrifying. The most terrified experience of all was watching my blanket bouncing on my chest from the hard rapid beating of my heart. A specialist also stated to me that he had never seen anyone with a thyroid hormone imbalance as high as mine and added that he did not understand why I was still alive.
    Only by research and becoming knowledgeable about Parkinson’s disease, a neurologist who was also aware of thyroid problems sending me back to my doctor to test my thyroid, and nuclear medicine doctors treating my thyroid did I ever find relief and help. You absolutely must take control of your own health and be your own advocate with your doctor. Five years is a long time for this lady and myself to suffer with your body (internally a rollercoaster) running out of control with the sense that you are bouncing off the sky and your life is tormented by the fact no doctor listens to you or cares because they either diagnose you that it is all in your head or ultimately misdiagnose you with Parkinson’s disease. We must remember that no doctor is a god.

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