Post count: 1324

    First off — we cannot interpret blood test results. Actually, you should not rely on anyone online (unless you are emailing your doctor) to interpret blood test results. Each lab has its own set of procedures to run the tests, and those procedures may give different numbers than other labs. In the U.S. the labs put "in range" or "out-of-range" (often with "high" and "low") next to the numbers on their reports. I assume it’s the same in the U.K. but it might not be. We need our doctors, however, to interpret what those numbers mean for our health issues.

    RAI has been used a lot in the U.S. to treat hyperthyroidism. I has been shown to be fairly safe — i.e. not leading to the development of cancers further on in life. One swallows a pill, or a bit of chalky liquid, and that’s it. The radioactive material is taken into the thyroid, and only the thyroid. Any that misses being taken into the thyroid is eliminated from the body, primarily in urine, but also in sweat and saliva, during the first three days. The only side effects at this point are the potential for a sore throat for a few days, and an elevation in the amount of thyroid hormone in the body about one week after we swallow the pill. The major drawback for RAI is that it takes time to work to it’s maximum — weeks, and sometimes months. And, if you have major eye disease along with it, RAI can occasionally (about 16% of the time) temporarily worsen your eye symptoms. There are ways around that (taking steroids), but it is an additional slightl risk.

    Surgery acts rather immediately to lower thyroid hormone levels. In the hands of a well-qualified surgeon the risks are minimized, but there are risks of infection, damage to the parathyroid gland, and damage to the vocal cords.

    As to which one you choose, you really need to discuss things with your doctor, who knows your specific health condition and issues. I know it isn’t an easy decision, but it is essential that your main source of advice be your own doctor.

    Good luck,
    Bobbi — Online Facilitator