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Thyroid Blood tests and elevated Ferritin levels


I am a 56 year old woman. I am post menopausal and I have had hypo thyroid for 5 years and have never been well controlled as my symptoms always feature in my life. I get an annual blood test and my GP is always reluctant to increase my Levothyroxine and always seems to underestimate the blood results. I am also sure I have cortisol problems and chronic stress and anxiety that never really reduced. I have had Psoriasis in the past but this is not a problem now. Apart from that I have no other physical problems and bowel and bladder all normal. I have noticed my eyesight is worse than ever and bright lights and driving at night has been a growing problem. I feel a wreck and now Im a worried wreck.

Last year my Thyroid levels reached 28 and the Doctor increased my Levothyroxine to 75mgs and told me to retest in 6 months. I don't think it made any difference. I am always cold, am tired but cant sleep and have noticed my anxiety getting worse. My hair is also coming out now and I have constant Tinnitus which my GP tells me I have to live with. I am stressed all the time and can often feel my heart beating in an unpleasant way and have tinging in my hands and feet- and the tinnitus gets worse as well at night. I jump at any little noise and feel constantly wired and grind my teeth.

2 weeks ago I developed a very unpleasant virus and had headaches as soon as I got up which lasted all day, I was constantly having hot flushes and then shivering attacks - alternately, and swollen glands in my neck. I have to talk alot for my work so after about 10 days of these symptoms I went to the GP and he gave me Clarithromycin 250mgs bd for 7 days. He said I probably had only a virus but thought it best to make sure as my voice had become very faint and I couldn't swallow due to the pain in my ears. He looked in my ears and said my ear drums were inverted. He also told me to get an appointment for my blood test for Thyroid.

I tried to get an appointment but was told it was a 3 week wait. I decided to get a private blood test and now wish I had not.

I got the results of my test on the same day and it showed my TSH was 29 - like before. However, what has worried me and I am now even more stressed than before is that my Ferritin levels were 330 and my Liver GGT was higher than it should be. My Cholesterol level was also high at 7. It has never been this before but I have always had a low fat diet until a few months ago.

I have yet to see my GP but am very scared. I have read on Google that Ferritin elevation can mean Malignancy as well as imflammation and infection. I know it can also indicate Haemochromatosis but I have no family history and am not from a high risk group - I am south european.

I need to know if the test may have been affected by being on Clarithromycin? Can it have affected the levels?
Also,I had been using alot of pain killers for my headaches for a few weeks before the test, and I have been taking 1000mcgs of Vit C a day and also Iron tablets and multivits and Levothyroxine every day - so wonder if this might have caused the high readings of the Liver test and Ferritin too.

I am not a heavy drinker-I have 3-4 glasses of wine a week and maybe a bit more than that since Christmas time but never to an excess. I eat a sugar free diet, perhaps a little too much fat, but few carbs and I do eat good quality protein. However, because I feel tired quite often and don't eat a lot of fruit, I have been using the Vitamins and Iron every day for months. I used to be very physically active but as I now spend alot of time sitting at my desk, my exercise activity has dropped now. I am an ex smoker and haven't smoked for years- I have no cough or chest pain apart from palpitations when Im stressed. When I am acutely stressed, I get a gripping pain across my lower back and can almost feel an adrenaline surge?? I very occasionally use 2mgs Diazepam if I am having a bad day but not often. Im rarely nauseated and eat well with a good appetite. I have lost a few pounds but I have been trying to since overeating over Christmas.

My anxiety has trebled since the blood test and I am now using NO alcohol, and have been off the antibiotics now for 1 week. I am drinking alot of water and stopped my fat intake. I hardly notice any physical symptoms now as all I can think about is dying of some hidden malignancy....my anxiety is through the roof and I am shaking and sweating all of the time. I truly cant think of anything else.

Can you give me any reassurance as to whether you think that the Ferritin levels and Liver test results may be artificially elevated because of the Clarithromycin, Iron and Vitamin supplements and regular anti imflammatory and painkilling medications I have been using for an extended period?

I am thinking now, of leaving 4 weeks since the last test, and retest after a month of low fat diet, no alcohol and no painkillers. I am using Bromelain, Green Tea and Milk Thistle supplements and drinking alot of water and tea.

Can you give me any advice please and would be very grateful. Am I taking the right approach?

Thank you so much for reading.
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649848 tn?1534633700
Is TSH the only thing that's been tested for thyroid?  You should also be getting Free T3 and Free T4 tested as those are the actual thyroid hormones, while TSH is a pituitary hormone, whose only role is to stimulate the thyroid to produce hormones... TSH often becomes irrelevant when one is on thyroid hormones, but yours is quite high, indicating hypothyroidism.  Free T3 and Free T4 would confirm this.  

Most of your symptoms sound like you could certainly use an increase in your levothyroxine dosage... High cholesterol is also a symptom of hypothyroidism, and your bears out the need for an increase in medication, as does your weight gain, fatigue, anxiety, etc

Ferritin is the iron storage hormone and does indicate the amount of iron in your body... you should have a complete iron panel to make sure hemochromatosis is not causing your high ferritin levels.  High ferritin is also caused by inflammation in the body, so a cold, flu or some other illness could easily explain the high levels.

Have you ever been tested for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis?  Hashimoto's is an autoimmune condition in which the body erroneously determines that the thyroid is foreign and produces antibodies to destroy it.  This process can produce inflammation, which can also increase ferritin levels.  

The chances of a malignancy are extremely slim...

Healthy fats, such as those found in olive and coconut oils, nuts and nut butters, seeds, lean meats, fish, etc are necessary for a healthy diet and can actually help ease inflammation and can help with weight loss, once thyroid hormone levels are stabilized.
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Thank you so so much for taking the trouble to write. I appreciate it greatly.
649848 tn?1534633700
You're welcome; that's what I'm here for... if there's anything more I can help with, feel free to ask the questions, here and either, I or someone else will do our best to provide answers...  
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