Thyroid Blood Tests - Conditions like CFS, ME and Fibromyalgia
There are conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), myalgic encephalopathy (ME) and fibromyalgia for which our current treatments are inadequate. Patients with these conditions often never get a full restoration of health.
The symptoms associated with all three of these conditions overlap hugely with those of hypothyroidism. Some people with impaired cellular response to thyroid hormone can have perfectly normal looking thyroid blood test results after treatment with T4 or T4/T3. For many people who completely fail to respond to other forms of thyroid hormone replacement, T3-Only replacement therapy often fully restores their health.
I have seen thousands of cases of thyroid patients with good looking thyroid blood test results when on T4 or T4/T3 or NDT who still cannot get well until T3-Only is used. It does not take much imagination to see that it is possible for someone who has never had an obviously under active thyroid to potentially have a similar issue, i.e. an undiagnosed thyroid hormone issue. I would go as far to say that think it is very likely that a good percentage of CFS, ME or fibromyalgia patients have some form of thyroid hormone issue underlying their symptoms. Many thyroid patients who eventually get well using NDT, T4.T3 or T3-Only had a CFS, ME or fibromyalgia diagnosis at one time (I know I did).
Consequently, the question I would like to leave readers with is:
How many of the ME, CFS or Fibromyalgia sufferers, who have been tested for thyroid disease, and have been told their "lab were normal", actually have thyroid hormone issues at the cellular level and might in fact respond to a trial of NDT, T4/T3 or T3-Only replacement therapy. We know there are serious dangers in mechanically using thyroid reference ranges: http://recoveringwitht3.com/blog/thyroid-blood-tests-reference-ranges-are-not-normal-ranges
It is also important to be aware that when patients develop thyroid problems their thyroid hormone levels can adjust from the healthy levels they were for them as individual levels to different, unhealthy levels. But these new, unhealthy levels may still be well within the large population ranges and so they may never be diagnosed with thyroid problems.
If there were laboratory tests that could measure how well our cells were being regulated by thyroid hormone, I would expect some proportion of the sufferers of these types of conditions to have problems with thyroid hormones at the cellular level. I believe that this scenario is true. The worrying thought is that people in this category may never be found because no existing laboratory test can show the actual level of regulation of cell function by thyroid hormone!
The late Dr. John C. Lowe discovered from his own research over many years that often treatment with T3-Only was absolutely necessary to relieve many patients of the symptoms of fibromyalgia. I believe that this is probably true of other conditions like CFS and ME. However, we desperately need more research to be done to provide adequate laboratory tests that show the actual level of cell regulation by thyroid hormone.
We need medical research to make some big breakthroughs for thyroid patients. These breakthroughs especially need to happen in the field of diagnostic tests for actual regulation of cell function at the nuclei and mitochondria by thyroid hormone. Only with these types of tests can a proper indication of thyroid hormone activity be seen. These tests would be the laboratory test equivalent of going beyond the old basal metabolic rate (BMR) test. Advances in science will enable this research to occur at some point, and the lives of thyroid patients and some sufferers of other related conditions like CFS, ME and fibromyalgia will improve dramatically.
(Updated in January 2019)