Thyroid labs

I just got a call from my sons Endo. His yearly bloodwork showed an elevated level of thyroid auto anti-bodies and a slightly elevated TSH level. His free thyroid hormone was normal. She mentioned the possibility of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and said that he would have to get quarterly blood work now, instead of yearly. I’m pretty stressed out about this, because my son hates bloodwork. Also, it was just his four-year diabetes anniversary yesterday. He had an awful night with lots of wild blood sugar swings and low blood sugar reactions. He’s pretty stressed out about diabetes right now, and I just hate this for him. Does anyone have any good references for good information on hypothyroidism like this? There’s a lot of stuff out there, but I don’t want to read just anything.

I hate to hear this. These double whammies really stink. I can't help you personally, but my daughter and I just had a playdate yesterday with a recently diagnosed 6 year old who was concurrently dx with hypothyroid and is on Synthroid. Her mom has Hashimoto's. I'd be happy to see if she knows of any good resources.

Thank you.

My friend doesn't have any resources to recommend. Can your son's endo point you in the right direction? Any related groups here on TuDiabetes?

It is very, very common for people with T1D to either develop Hashimoto's themselves or to have a relative with it. The usual number batted about is 15–20%, but my endocrinologist has told me that in his experience, nearly everyone with T1D who doesn't get a thyroid disorder (Hashimoto's or Graves') themselves has a relative who has it or develops it.

I have Hashimoto's. In fact, I developed it while my T1D son was in utero and I've always wondered if there was a connection. The good news: it can be treated easily with one SMALL pill per day. The bad news: getting the exact dose of thyroid hormone required can be tricky, with blood draws every 6-8 weeks until it's clear that you're not over or under medicating (since too much thyroid hormone is as bad or worse than not enough). But I will say this: it's worth it to do the work to get the right dose, because MAN do you feel a whole lot better when it's stable. And, given that thyroid sets metabolic rate, getting thyroid taken care of will likely help stabilize insulin intake as well, even if that's something of a pipe dream in growing children.

There are some nutritional deficiencies that can affect thyroid hormone, the two key ones being selenium (which is a key component in the enzymes that convert T4 to T3) and iodine, which is an important element of the thyroid hormones themselves. If your son doesn't eat a lot of fish, eggs, or dairy (for iodine) or broccoli, spinach, mushrooms or other sources of selenium, it may be that boosting his intake of one or both will help considerably. I can't eat seafood or dairy because I'm allergic to both, and the area I live in has selenium-deficient soil such that even if I ate nothing but broccoli every day, I wouldn't get enough (we have to dose sheep with selenium shots annually to keep them healthy, that's how little selenium there is in the hay we grow!) so I'm taking a multivitamin that provides the RDA of iodine as well as selenium, and it has made a noticeable difference. Most kids' multivitamins are on the low side for both these elements — the manufacturers probably worry about people getting too much iodine and developing thyrotoxicosis — so dietary intake is probably your best bet, if your son can handle the foods that contain iodine. It used to be everyone got what they needed by iodized table salt but most manufacturers aren't adding it anymore.

The publisher who produced my book on T1D in children has a book on thyroid disorders that I recommend. It's not the most recent thing on the market, but it's likely to be helpful as it (like the other books in the series) tries to give advice from both a doctor's and a patient's perspective. I have not read this book myself but I worked extensively on the series when it was first created so I know the basic formula, and it's a useful one.

Hope that helps!

1 Like

Thanks for the information. After talking to the practice again, I'm going to take the wait and see approach. We'll get follow-up labs in a couple months, and we'll discuss the results at the endo appointment then. If his thyroid hormones or TSH are abnormal, then we'll take it from there.

Like Elizabeth said hypothyroidism is very common in people with T1D, especially if there is a family history. Just like diabetes, no two diagnoses of hypothyroidism are going to be the same. My daughter, who just passed her 11 year mark with diabetes, had elevated TSH levels for at least a year before we started treatment. My son, who just passed his 3 year mark with diabetes, started treatment the first time they checked his TSH levels because they were so bad. Luckily, we haven’t had any issues with finding the right dose and they are both feeling much better since they started treatment.

I’ve had hypothyroidism for close to 15 years and my mother also has it so I knew it was only a matter of time before my kids were diagnosed. It’s important to have your son checked as often as the doctor requires-the thyroid hormone regulates the body’s metabolic rate as well as heart and digestive function, muscle control, brain development and bone maintenance. I know it sucks to have to deal with another medical issue on top of diabetes, especially for a child. I hope all goes well for you and your son!

Thanks for the support. We'll see what the next set of labs hold, and the next and the next...

For now, we had a d-victory today. Despite the diabetes, my 11 y.o. just ran a sub-6 minute mile at a local track meet! His BG before the race was 140. Last week, with a BG we later found out was over 300 (he chose not to check ahead of time), he ran about :30 slower and felt it! Hopefully, he made a tangible connection between the two!

FINALLY got the lab draw this morning. He’s become blood-draw phobic all of a sudden! Found the best pediatric draw specialist around, and he still had to have his arm held in place. He balked, but my spouse held strong, and he got the draw. Now, we’ll have to wait for the results!

The best resource I have found for hypothyroidism and hashimoto’s thyroiditis is Stop The Thyroid Madness

Hope this helps.

Thanks so much.

1 Like

17, i have hashimotos hypothyroidism, its not that bad, the blood tests are fine, there are worse things to happen life.