Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hypothyroidism and The Athlete - A Personal Story - Part Two

Hypothyroidism and The Athlete - A Personal Story - Part One (in case you missed it!)

OK, now where did I leave off?  Oh yes, I had just been diagnosed and had transitioned my running to outside!!!

While I had been officially diagnosed there was still the issue of treatment and I went through several types/strengths of HR drugs (hormone replacement) drugs.  The generic brand seemed to do nothing and I went through a couple of those before finally I said "I WANT SYNTHROID!".  And lo and behold it worked!

When you have an underactive thyroid -- hypothyroidism -- a surgically removed thyroid, or a thyroid that has been disabled by radioactive iodine, you need thyroid hormone replacement. Drugs include the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine (i.e., Synthroid, Levoxyl), as well as synthetic forms of the T3 hormone.

Unfortunately replacement therapy is the only effective way to treat hypothyroidism and I will be on it for the rest of my life.  I still have to go and be tested at least every year, sooner if I start to feel like something is off, so that the strength of the meds is accurate.  Too much or too little and you begin to have issues again.

It also takes a little bit of time of actually taking the medicine before one actually feels the benefits.  Its been so long now I cannot really remember much, just that I wasn't tired and sleeping all the time and well I was able to tolerate the running/walking more and more. 

I do want to say, especially since weight gain is the number 1 symptom, yes taking HRT drugs does help you to lose, it doesn't come off fast, nothing like how it went on in my case, but yes it does eventually.

In my situation due to the fact that my hypothyroidism also hit when I had hit my 40's and the fact that I was never blessed with a raging metabolism to begin with (fought weight issues my entire life sans the 'bad' years), it was a bit harder to get the weight off, and still today, its a tough tough battle.  When people say 'oh you must burn calories out the wazoo!', this is not the case.  I don't burn calories like a normal person my age/gender, I burn less.  I do not and will not ever have a 'normal' metabolism ever again.

As you initiate and continue treatment with thyroid replacement hormone, you will most likely find it easier to lose the weight you added and find physical activity like running more enjoyable.  I know I certainly did.  Life in general became so much better.

There is no known reason to change your training habits or to stop running because you developed hypothyroidism.  Once optimally treated, you will most likely note an improvement in your performance and resolution of the sluggishness.

It is a common problem in the general population and probably affects many runners.  It is more common in women, but it does affect men as well.  Thyroid hormone is the primary determinant of the overall metabolic rate in the body, and by accelerating the metabolic rate of most tissues, it increases heat production. 
This is one of (and probably the main one) the reasons that I have that on again/off again thing with heat 'production' in the night time hours.  Initially I thought it was PMP symptoms, but more than likely its the HRT, and my doctor said that if it got to be so bad that I just wasn't able to sleep because of it etc., then to let him know.  So far its ok, not ideal; but ok.   It seems to get worse the week before my (.), as in THIS week.  Gah!  Weren't we just here?  And the same thing again?  Before a really long run?  I am hoping its one of those random months where it just doesn't show up at all!  I have had the symptoms, but no cramps yet and thats a good sign.  :O)  Of course hopefully it doesn't do the exact same thing as last time and decide to do that tomorrow evening.
So the bottom line is that hypothyroidism (or any of its symptoms) have to keep you from forever enjoying a normal, happy life.  You just have be properly diagnosed and properly medicated.  You do probably need to alter your lifestyle somewhat in that if you don't already, incorporate exercise of some sort and eat better.  This is especially important if you gained any weight that you want to lose.  I havent NOT exercised since my diagnosis/prognosis so I don't know that if I didn't and ate how I do now if that would be enough to keep me at my OK weight.  I just know that doing what I do and eating how I eat it does. 
Besides in addition to the meds, the way you eat and the way you move in general makes for a happier body (on the inside!) and this transcinds into your outward appearance including your ability to be a much more happier person to be around!
My advice is if you start to feel any of the symptoms associated with this disease don't just take words like "oh you're 40+ now, its just normal", or "well you are getting older, so yeah you can't do all the things you use to do".
Call 'bullshit' and go get a 2nd, 3rd or 4th opinion.


alferdoz said...

I've been on bovine thyroid for two years now and have found that once you are on the right dosage it's brilliant. Just be patient from the start.

Pharmaspider said...

I'm 26. Hypothyroidism was discovered by my OB/GYN a few months ago after a yearly blood test she gives me. I had no idea I had hypothyroidism! The doctor told me this is why I'm having hot flashes and night sweats before my time! I gained 10 pounds but that fluctuates wildly depending on what time of the month it is. My periods were lasting 10 days and were very heavy during the last five days; so much I was afraid I was bleeding too much! After starting Synthroid, my periods are back to normal and the hot flashes and night sweats, while still not completely gone, are much better!