I have been reading all over the Internet and on other blogs about how important it is to not only get your TSH tested, but also your T4, Free T3, and Free T4. I recently read an article about the under treatment of hypothyroidism on About.com. The author, Mary Shomon explained that a lot of people do not feel well on just a levothyroxine/T4 only drug (like Synthroid, which is what I am currently prescribed). Shomon explained that she feels better taking T3, such has Thyrolar, and others feel better by adding Cytomel, or time-released T3 to their levothyroxine. Shomon also mentions that some people have success taking a natural thyroid hormone replacement, Armour. In February 11, 1999, the New England Journal of Medicine published research that shows that many people feel better on a combination of T4 and T3, not T4 (such as Synthroid) alone. Many people, like me, have a normal TSH level but are still symptomatic. Apparently the addition of T3 helps relieve depression, brain fog, fatigue, and other symptoms. (Additional information can be found at http://thyroid.about.com/cs/hypothyroidism/a/undertreated_2.htm)
So, after doing a lot of research I sent an email to my physician:
"Could I come in for a lab appointment some time to get my T4, Free T3, and Free T4 testing done to get a better picture of the condition of my thyroid? My TSH level came back normal but a lot of the symptoms of hypothyroidism are still present, including weight gain and low energy."
My physician promptly replied a couple of hours later:
"If you are still symptomatic, then we could increase your synthroid to 88mcg to lower your TSH below 2. Then when you return in 6 weeks, will check both your TSH and free T4."
First thing...I am so thankful to have a physician who listens to me and responds to me so quickly. She is wonderful! Second...I wonder why she plans to only test my Free T4? Although I have been doing a lot of research about this subject lately, I am still confused about exactly what T4, Free T3, and Free T4 are...any one have any further information about this?