Sorry in advance for this being long...
When I first started dating my girlfriend two years ago, she told me that her mom had periodic memory issues. Being in college at the time, it was something that concerned me but since I was only 22 I didn't think much of it. Now, 2 years later my girlfriend and I have become serious and I've started to think more about it. I'm obviously worried about the possibility of some sort of serious hereditary disease which my girlfriend could eventually get.
What leads me to this forum is that after researching, it seems like this could very well be a thyroid issue. My girlfriend's mom had her entire thyroid removed via radiation approximately 10 years ago. She currently also has issues such as weight gain, coarse hair, and hair thinning and some memory loss. All of which appear to be symptoms of not having enough synthetic thyroid hormones.
According to my girlfriend who does not like talking about this, her mom has been anything but the model patient. She basically refuses to admit anything could be wrong and will not go to the doctor. Her dad is very busy and does not force her to go. Both my girlfriend's parent's are older, and I have seen with my own parents dealing with their parents how it seems like the children usually need to give their parents a push in the butt to do stuff like this when they are older.
From what limited doctor attention my girlfriend's mother has had, they don't seem to know what is wrong with her exactly. They think it could be Alzheimer's but I guess her brain scan didn't show that it was so they are basically unsure. I have read online that symptoms related to a thyroid condition can appear very similar to Alzheimer's.
I guess my questions are:
1. Have other people experienced these same symptoms after having their thyroid removed? Was it a result of their medication being off?
2. What tests should my girlfriends mother have? She already had some basic bloodwork done, but I've read that even if it shows your hormone levels are okay, that the patient should still push for the T3 and T4 to be done because that may not show up? Are there other tests that should be done to check if this is thyroid related?
3. Can anyone recommend any good thyroid specialists in Los Angeles and Orange County? I saw that USC has a thyroid center but where else may be good?
4. Is there anything else that I may be missing? This is extremely difficult for my girlfriend since she works full time and lives about an hour away from her parents.