Hypothyroid? Nah, just eat better, move more.

DW writes:

I hadn’t been feeling right for many months and went to see an
endocrinologist at Columbia Presbyterian in NYC who was highly
recommended. I explained my symptoms – fatigue, restlessness,
thinning hair, and inexplicable weight gain despite the fact I am
active. I was pretty sure I was suffering from some thyroid
malfunction as there is a history of thyroid disease on my
mother’s side of the family. My mother is hypothyroid, her mother
was hypothyroid, HER mother was hypothyroid. See the pattern?
After poking, prodding, blood work, etc. he finally calls me and
tells me nothing is wrong with me hormonally; I should eat better
and exercise more. Excuse me? I paid you $500.00 out of network
for THAT? I was so angry that my symptoms were dismissed because
of mere numbers on a page of lab work. Fast forward eight months.
I see ANOTHER physician at the same hospital who looks at the
SAME EXACT lab work and tells me that YES, my thyroid is
under-functioning at the sub clinical level (the gray area where
treatment is not usually prescribed) and, hey, isn’t that far too
much insulin in your blood? Turns out that I am pre-diabetic
(also my mother’s side of the family), have a mildly
under-functioning thyroid, and produce no progesterone. HELLO –
did I mention she read the SAME LAB WORK? She told me it was no
wonder that I felt terrible all the time, my body was producing
way to much insulin and I was on my way to diabetes. Which for me
is a GENETIC, not a fat, disease. As per her, a diabetes
researcher, there is little I can do to affect my inherited
genetic makeup. I am now on a medication for insulin resistance
and will be considering taking meds for thyroid disease at my
next appointment.

What angers me the most is that she could tell all of this by
looking at the existing blood work her colleague had drawn and
read. Did he fail to notice the huge discrepancy between normal
insulin production and thyroid function or did he just see me as
another complainer about my weight looking for a fix? What a
jerk of a doctor. I am 5’3, 180 pounds, a bra size of 36 DD, a
size 12 Gap jeans and a BMI of 30 (I think). In medical terms,
obese. Never mind that I am a massage therapist, a former dancer
& cheerleader, a trained yoga instructor, and my blood pressure
is great. I walk 3-4 miles 2-3 times a week and I eat all organic
fruits & veggies, lean meats, etc. NO fast foods EVER. No pizza,
no chips, no fries, no candy. Every doctor tells me to lose
weight, that my BMI is too high. What a load of crap. I am a size
6 at the high “normal” range of the BMI for my height. I look
like a skeleton at that weight. Totally unattractive and
unhealthy for me. I went to him because I felt awful and the
best he could tell me was to go on a diet. Gee, thanks. My
husband and his sister are both physicians and they cannot
understand why I dislike and mistrust doctors OH SO much. They
have never had to endure these “just lose wait” pat answers to
just about every ailment they have ever had, including a freakin’

Leave a comment


  1. MargB

     /  June 18, 2009

    Please make a complaint about that first doctor so that his laziness and incompetence can’t harm others. If the hospital doesn’t play ball, threaten to sue him and then for not delivering the services you paid good money for.

    Re: Insulin resistance – yep, you can’t help your sucky genes but there are things you may be able to do to delay and minimise the side-effects of full-blown diabetes. If you can delay the diabetes kicking in by even a year, it will really help your quality of life. See if you can find an exercise physiologist who has experience with people with diabetes. Us fatties usually get told to do the cardio work under the misapprehension that this is the fastest way to burn calories. BUT it’s actually light weight-resistance work that is the key when it comes to insulin levels. If you can get those levels down you will feel 100 times better. You might still have to take drugs but doing light weights is very likely to help them work better.

  2. lilacsigil

     /  June 18, 2009

    I know exactly what you’re saying! And yet doctors try to claim that they provide “evidence-based medicine” and practice science. Some doctors do, but most allow their illogical and cruel prejudices to come first.

  3. I had very much the same problem, including the insulin resistance. My thyroid doctor has prescribed me DHEA along with thyroid medication, and after several months of treatment I have NORMAL insulin and BG labs. If you are hypothyroid for any length of time without treatment, it can wear out your adrenal glands and they produce less DHEA and other hormones, which leads to all kinds of wonkiness, and also means your thyroid medication won’t work as well as it could. I take 25mg a day. It’s not prescription medication in the USA so you could probably get a high-quality brand and try it yourself. My doctor also mentioned that a lot of her patients find R-Lipoic Acid to be helpful with insulin and BG levels – again get a high quality brand.

    • “If you are hypothyroid for any length of time without treatment, it can wear out your adrenal glands and they produce less DHEA and other hormones, which leads to all kinds of wonkiness, and also means your thyroid medication won’t work as well as it could.”

      untreated thyroid issue affects your adrenal glands??? I wonder if that would have anything to do with the panic attacks that have set in recently. My Dr wanted to give me anti depressants for gereralized anxiety disorder. I told him NO until we find out what my weight gain is from.


  4. catgal

     /  June 18, 2009

    The stories on this blog are so awful. It makes me feel very grateful that I have found 3 doctors, well 4 if you count my dentist, that are treating me without fat rhetoric. It also makes me aware of what to look for so I can get out if I need to, I’m not sure about my OBGYN yet.

    I am currently seeing a rheumatologist (sp?) because I have been suffering from really bad fatigue for a while now. My GP gave me a full blood workup and didn’t find anything but an elevated indicator for inflammitory diseases (ANA?). I have been seeing this doc for a few months now and he keeps tesing me blood for different things and everytime it comes out inconclusive. I am going for a sleep study tomrrow night. I pray I don’t have apnea, but then again, it would be a reason for my tired all the time feeling.

    Before I left his office last the doctor said, don’t worry, we’ll get to the bottom of this. That made me feel really good.

    The only time he ever mentioned weight was when we were talking about medications and he indicated that he did not want to give me steroids because weight gain is a side effect.

    So hang in there guys, and gals! Good doctors are out there… I guess you just have to look hard enough…

  5. jessica

     /  June 20, 2009

    i’m in the ny area. is there any way you can let me know your doctor’s name? i’ve been looking for a good endocrinologist but so far have failed miserably.

  6. Jessy

     /  June 25, 2009

    I Am Glad you found out what was wrong it Can be Scary not knowing what is wrong with you.


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