Abnormal TSH levels
If you have presented to your medical practitioner with any or all of the following symptoms – muscle or joint pain; bowel irregularities; changes in the skin and/or hair loss; hoarseness of voice; discomfort or swelling in the neck; fertility problems and irregularities in the menstrual cycle; fatigue; weight change; a family history of thyroid problems; non responsive cholesterol issues – then he or she may order a test of your TSH levels. This test is used for the diagnosis and monitoring of those with abnormal thyroid function.
A TSH test is a blood test used to determine TSH levels in a patient where TSH stands for Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. Production of TSH takes places in the pituitary gland and is essential for the making and releasing of thyroxine and triiodothyronine. The pituitary gland detects the thyroid levels in a patients bloodstream and will then release THS or inhibit production of the thyroid hormone accordingly in an effort to normalize thyroid levels. Thus a high TSHlevel may indicate an underactive thyroid gland and a low TSH level may indicate an overactive thyroid gland.
The test for TSH levels takes the form of a normal blood test where blood is drawn from a vein typically on the inside of the elbow, the medical practitioner will use a tourniquet on the upper arm in order to swell the vein which should make it easier to draw the blood required. The blood is collected using an airtight valve via attachment to a needle. After the procedure the site will be covered to avoid further bleeding. A blood test is generally quite painless, some people may experience some discomfort, others may feel pain, but it is generally a quick and easy procedure when undertaken by an experienced professional.
Although no special preparation is required for this test for TSH levels your medical practitioner may advise you to stop taking certain medications which could interfere with the results. Drugs which may affect TSH levels include prednisone, lithium, potassium iodide, dopamine, and antithyroid meds. amiodarone. It is important not to stop taking any medication unless specifically advised to by your medical practitioner.
If there are no signs or symptoms of an underactive thyroid and the TSH level is 2.0 mIU/L with normal levels of thyroxin then the future development of hypothyroidism is a real possibility. Anyone with TSH levels in this range should be monitored by their medical practitioner. If a patient is being treated for a thyroid disorder the TSH level should be in the range of 0.5 – 3.0 mIUL/L
It is important to note that the so-called normal value range of TSH levels may vary slightly – discussion with your medical practitioner about the specific test results is imperative.
The results of a TSH level test may be indicative of any one of a number of problems. Greater than normal TSH levels may show congenital hypothyroidism; primary hypothyroidism; resistance to the thyroid hormone and TSH-dependent hypothyroidism. Lower than normal TSH levels may be linked to Hyperthyroidism; TSH deficiency and can also be seen as the side effect of some medications (including glucocorticoids, somatostatin analogues, dopamine agonists and bexarotene).
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