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Should I see an endocrinologist??

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  • Should I see an endocrinologist??

    Hey everyone! I have a question that somewhat relates to my eyes, but has to do with another health issue as well. I don't know who else to ask for advice, so i thought i might explain my situation here in hopes of figuring out what i should do, so bear with me. Any advice would be great.

    About four years ago when I first started having problems with my eyes my doctors and opthalmologists were trying to figure out why i had gotten SLK and dry eye at such a young age (17 at the time) and thought there must be a root problem to my eye issues. One doctor then discovered that I have Raynaud's as well and thought that I should get my thyroid checked as a reason for my eye problems and Raynaud's. It turns out that I have a history of hyperthyroidism in my family and I have always had problems with keeping weight on me, so it all seemed to make sense that hyperthyroidism was the reason for all the random problems I was having. Unfortunately, the blood work for my thyroid tests came back normal, so the doctors just figured that the symptoms were all random and unrelated. They never came to a conclusion of why I have the eye problems that I have.

    Since then, I've just been trying to take care of my eyes, and always stayed really healthy so I never really thought about getting my thyroid checked again.... until a few weeks ago.

    In May I went to London to study abroad, and two days into my trip I became extremely sick (throwing up, fever, to put it nicely- other digestive problems, the whole shabang). I NEVER get sick, so it was all very unusual for me. I went to the doctor in London, but the doctor just figured that I had a stomach virus (which i agreed with) and gave me some anti-nausea medicine. As the month continued, the vomiting stopped, but I began to have horrible heart palpitations, I was constantly shaky, was always incredibly hot (my skin- especially on my thighs for some reason- was very hot to the touch and would get incredibly red), I was loosing weight although I was eating a ton, and I was unable to sleep at night, which i don't usually have a problem with. I just figured that maybe my immune system was still weak from getting sick and I wasn't recovering because I was constantly doing school work and traveling. The last week in June though, all of a sudden, I being throwing up and having diarrhea again and could not keep anything down. After a few days, it got so bad that my roommate had to take me to the emergency room (i was so weak i could barely walk at this point) and I had to be given two iv's to replace all the fluids I had lost. The doctor figured I had just unluckily caught another stomach bug. It was discovered that I had lost over 1/10th of my body weight in just a few weeks and he couldn't get my heart rate below about 115 beats per minute. This happened to be the day before I flew back home to the US, so as soon as I arrived home, I went to see an American doctor. They did a bunch of blood work, which I assumed was routine, and low and behold- they discovered that my thyroid was overactive.

    My doctor then went on to explain that all the symptoms and health problems that I had while I was abroad (and the problems i've had with my eyes) are symptoms of hyperthyroidism and that it all made sense. As much as I hated to know that there was something potentially wrong with me it felt good to hear that there was a reason behind all the strange health problems that I had in Europe, not to mention the problems that I have with my eyes, my weight, etc. It was like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel- after over four years of eye problems, maybe i would finally get them under control. She suggested I get more blood work done, just to double check things, but she felt almost 100% certain that i had hyperthyroidism. Unfortunately, the next blood work that I got showed that my thyroid was normal once again. I was very frustrated to say the least.

    Then today, I had to go get a routine physical here at my university. The university doctor said that I had incredibly high heart palpitations (just like I did in Europe) and couldn't get them down. I am so incredibly frustrated with the random health issues that I am suddenly having.

    Is there anyone here on the DEZ that has eye issues due to hyperthyroidsim, and if so, did you have some of these other symptoms as well? Even though the second set of blood work said that my thyroid was normal should I go see an endocrinologist to get to the bottom of this, or would that be wasting my time? I apologize for the lengthy email, but I am just kind of worried. Thanks so much.
    Last edited by Amy09; 21-Jul-2008, 16:27.

  • #2

    You absolutely need to see an endocrinologist. There are times when a specialist is in order, and I'd say this is one of those times. There are assorted tests that can be given to prove or disprove a thyroid disorder. It seems I have read plenty of instances where basic testing for thyroid issues with a general practitioner was inaccurate and not thorough.

    Your condition is not something to be ignored. I know there are pleny on this site who will give you far more specific details as to what needs to be checked and why. But I'm sure the conclusion will be the same.

    Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.


    • #3
      I'm not too familiar with hyperthyroid problems, being hypo myself, but I agree with Dianat, you should see an Endocrinologist.

      I don't know what tests you had, but I do know that the standard TSH test is not specific enough to show how your body is utilizing the thyroid hormone it's getting. Sounds like your hormone level is fluctuating, and an endocrinologist will be able to order tests to find out why.

      I just read some info on this site---your symptoms certainly match the hyperthyroid description.

      The doctor can check the health of your thyroid gland, and see if you have certain antibodies, etc.



      • #4
        Amy, Graves Disease (hyper-thyroid) can cause the symptoms you're talking about. Loss of weight, BIG appetite, heart palpatations,etc. Make sure they check you thoroughly, Another thing that comes to mind, although less likely is Diabetes (Type I) or juvenile diabetes.

        My daughter got Type I at age 27 and went from 110 down to 87 lbs, but was eating like a truck driver. She is insulin dependent. After almost a year, she had more symptoms and then was diagnosed with Graves Disease and was having heart palpatations, shakey etc. They took out her thyroid and she's on thyroid meds now and doing ok.

        Graves Disease can have effects on your eyes, but I'm not sure exactly how. Be sure and check this stuff out. Lucy
        Don't trust any refractive surgeon with YOUR eyes.

        The Dry Eye Queen


        • #5
          Hi, Amy.

          I agree with everyone here. I believe that I am hypothyroid, and so does my endocrinologist. However, the tests kept coming back, saying that I was within normal range. Meanwhile, I had a lot of disruptive symptoms.

          So, yes, you should see an endocrinologist, and maybe a second one, if you cannot get answers there. Also, be sure to tell him or her about your family history.

          Good luck!



          • #6
            Yes,You need to see a endo ASAP! from what it sounds like you have Graves Disease!!! You have every symptom of it! I was left undiagnosed for years,and it did some number on me,and MY EYES!
            You need them to do blood work again,but this time you need them to do a TSI,this will show if you are producing the antibodies for graves (which I am sure you are) this test and this test alone will tell.They never did this test on me,and all my blood work for the thyroid (like you) was coming back normal!!
            Please get this check out!

            WIshing you all the best


            • #7
              thanks for everyone's advice. i didn't even stop to think that it might be something else as well, like grave's disease or diabetes and i am going to try and see a specialist as soon as possible. pray that whoever i see can figure out why my health has been so strange recently.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Amy09 View Post
                Is there anyone here on the DEZ that has eye issues due to hyperthyroidsim, and if so, did you have some of these other symptoms as well?

                I haven't seen Graves disease discussed much here on the board but I regularly get phone calls from people with Graves disease (usually calling about Tranquileyes goggles) who have chronic exposure keratitis due to poor lid coverage - commonly associated with the eye bulging that is characteristic of Graves.

                Best of luck getting a thorough diagnosis. It's very important to find a good endocrinologist when you've got any of these issues going on.
                Rebecca Petris
                The Dry Eye Zone


                • #9
                  good advice rebecca. one last question- do any of y'all know if it is possible to be diagnosed with hyperthyroidism even if your blood work is not showing signs of it? i am afraid that my symptoms are going to keep fluctuating, and that the chances of me showing signs of hyperthyroidism will be slim by the time that i see an endocrinologist. i made a list of all the symptoms that i have been experiencing though,


                  • #10
                    Take along a copy of all your lab results and doctors' comments from your previous appointments--they showed hyperthyroid levels, so it's not like you're just "inventing this." Sometimes, doctors will take a "wait and see" approach---monitor your bloodwork every 2-3 months and then look at the trend. My endocrinologist gave me a standing order at the lab for the TSH test, so that "if I got to feeling crummy" I could go in right then and get a blood test while I had symptoms.

                    Is your appointment soon? I hope so---waiting, wondering, and worrying isn't so great.



                    • #11
                      so i got an appointment with an endocrinologist- the earliest a new patient (i.e. me) can see one is december.... so basically i will be waiting a while to figure all this stuff out. i feel fine right now, i'm just afraid that by the time i see an endocrinologist or get more blood work done, the results will be fine and my random month of being horribly sick will become completely irrelevant again.


                      • #12
                        Sorry you have to wait till December. Sometimes, you can call a doctor's office once a week and try to get in sooner on a cancellation. In the meantime, you could ask your primary care doctor to do some periodic testing for you. I know it kind of depends on how interested and caring your regular doctor is, but it's maybe something you could try.

                        Feeling sick, every if it seems temporary, isn't irrelevant. It doesn't just come out of nowhere.

                        But I'm glad to hear you're feeling better right now.



                        • #13

                          It is highly probably that if you do have a thyroid problem, the endocrinologist will be thorough enough to find it whether you are symptomatic or not. An endocrinologist is a specialist; investigating is their job. Please keep the faith on this and don't worry all this time.

                          It is great advice to keep calling to check on a cancellation. I've done this successfully in the past, particularly with appts. addressing something immediate and worrisome.

                          Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.