Untreated ‘Borderline Hypothyroidism’ Leaves Many Thyroid Patients Unwell

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Originally published on 31st May 2017
Last updated on 29th October 2018

A someone who was diagnosed with a ‘borderline underactive thyroid’, I always wince at the phrase.

The photo on the left below is from two years ago today when I was incredibly ill from ‘only borderline hypothyroidism’, as the doctor kept telling me. You can clearly see that I was not well.
They refused to treat me for my failing thyroid gland, being destroyed by my own immune system and dismissed my concerns of feeling overwhelmingly fatigued, weak and unfit. At the end of the day on which this photo was taken, after walking around Edinburgh, I collapsed at the hotel, passing out from pure exhaustion. It took a good hour or so for me to come back around. It was very scary.

A week later, the doctor eventually agreed to trial me on thyroid hormone replacement and agreed I had autoimmune hypothyroidism now worthy of treatment. Because he let it get that bad.

‘Borderline’ or ‘Subclinical’ hypothyroidism is a term I really don’t like. To me, your thyroid hormone levels are either optimal or not. If they’re not optimal they can cause symptoms, so ‘borderline’ levels are no excuse to not treat someone. They are no excuse to withhold crucial medication or imply someone is a hypochondriac. Every person is individual, so we should be treated as such and this includes those with ‘only borderline’ results who have mounting, debilitating symptoms.

I lost years, of my life to hypothyroid symptoms ruling it, due to doctors dismissing me because they went on inaccurate tests and outdated, wide ranges, above my symptoms. Many patients lose many years. Until it was so late for me that the medication they did eventually give me made no difference whatsoever. My body was in too poor a state.

If your doctor has said you’re borderline or subclinically hypothyroid, then I strongly suggest you get another doctors opinion, and possibly another, until you’re happy. You should also have a retest of any borderline/subclinical TSH, Free T3 or Free T4 readings to see if they have gotten better or worse. They can occasionally get better, but for many, they get progressively worse.

You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given, but more reading and references can also be found at:


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Written by Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism

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2 thoughts on “Untreated ‘Borderline Hypothyroidism’ Leaves Many Thyroid Patients Unwell

  1. I found out recently in 2009 my doctor knew I was hypothyroid but did nothing about it. Nothing was done until 2013 after I had my first child and my levels went mad. I just wish I’d looked into it all more when I first got my symptoms. Even now I am still fighting to get my optimal mess and start to feel better. Your blog helps me so much. Thank you for your great work xx

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that you were left for so many years without proper treatment and attention. It’s never too late to start researching and correcting your levels though. Thank you for your lovely comment x

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