Monday, May 02, 2011

fracture risk a Multiple Sclerosis trump card

Headlines are always one of those random variables of living with Multiple Sclerosis, “Thyroid Drug Linked to Fracture Risk

While MS unquestionably dominates living with MS it is never the whole story. Patti has been taking the thyroid drug of recent headlines for over 25 years. Pre-MS, Patti was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease and her thyroid removed.

Unable to direct her own medical care actually this is one of those times where 24/7 facility care supports and protects her better than anything or anyone else.

The gist of the study is that synthroid (levothyroxine) levels were found to be a factor in bone weakening.  While the specific study involved patients older than 70 taking the drug for 5 years, it is not a stretch of the imagination to think about this for a younger but non-ambulatory woman with severely disabling MS taking it for over two decades.

It’s all about dosing levels, monitoring and adjusting as the body changes. In our homecare era, Patti’s testing and adjustments were made annually with her physical. Now in the care facility era her synthroid levels are monitored monthly and adjusted as necessary.

Being the kind of caregiver that continues to stick my nose in everything, I am always intrigued by the seemingly minute changes and adjustments. Especially since they obviously were happening in the home care era but only dealt with annually.

Memory problems, fatigue, constipation, having trouble thinking clearly, and weakness are symptoms of which of the following?

     a)              Hypothyroidism
     b)             Multiple Sclerosis
                     c)              Both of the above

When the answer is “c” it certainly makes you wonder.

Especially since Graves Disease which predates MS is, in simple speak, about the immune system attacking the thyroid gland which in turn overproduces creating hyperthyroidism.

‘The immune system attacking …’ - now where have I heard that before? Oh yes! When the attack is on the myelin sheath protecting the central nervous system, it’s called Multiple Sclerosis?

Looking back I swear it gets more confusing. Better to focus on now, tomorrow and most of all – safer! ‘Fracture risk’ is a trump card.

Related entry:
thyroid and Multiple Sclerosis

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer 
web site:  


  1. This couldn't have been more timely. Today I saw my MS doctor. Wednesday I see my primary for the results of my bone scan and thyroid tests. I'm on a low dose of thyroid med and have been for many years. It will be interesting to see what shows up.

  2. I think it is confusing to look back and "second guess" or try to piece together things, etc. Not that I'm a doctor, but I'm surprised that they do monthly levels as adjustments in doses sometimes take 4-6 weeks to make a difference in symptoms and testing (but again, what do I know, I know Patti is getting great care and that is all that matters!!)

    hope you are all doing well!


  3. Betty, 'word count' is trump in a blog entry, likely I could have expanded. "Monthly give or take" sound better as there are variables to monitoring and adjusting not only for synthroid but related and unrelated MS symptoms and medications, yada yada. ... That sentence alone would have put me over entry word count and guilt by verbosity. :)

  4. As someone who suffers from hypothyroidism I know that not taking medication (or not enough) would make me feel mentally unstable. I once had my TSH levels climb so high (that means I needed a higher dose) I felt insane. I had to go on xanax to control my anxiety levels.

    I'll chance the fractures over insanity any day!

    I get mine tested every 3 months since it is "brittle" as they call it. Plus if you are using generics, (as those on Medicare and Medicaid are required to do so) there can be slight differences from bottle to bottle...enough to change your TSH levels if you are sensitive to the slightest change in the way the drug is made.

    Hope you and your family have a wonderful Mother's Day with Patti.

  5. Sorry, I mean if TSH levels climb you need lower dose grrr...everything is opposite in Thyroid land. =)


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