- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, or TSH as it’s Commonly Referred to, is a Hormone Produced in the Pituitary Gland That Stimulates the Thyroid to Produce Thyroxine (T4)
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There are many different health problems associated with either an under-active or overactive thyroid gland so it is essential that basic thyroid function be tested regularly. The easiest way to do this is by testing for thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).
Thyroid stimulating hormone, or TSH as it’s commonly referred to, is a hormone produced in the pituitary gland that stimulates the thyroid to produce thyroxine (T4). When the body is producing high amounts of TSH, it typically results in lower levels of T4 resulting in hypothyroidism. When the body is producing low amounts of TSH, it typically results in higher levels of T4 resulting in hyperthyroidism.
The normal TSH levels in blood range between 0.5-5.5 mIU/ml. If the TSH levels are over 5.5 patient should be considered as a case of hypothyroidism i.e. having an under active thyroid. If the TSH levels are below 0.5, it is considered as a case of hyperthyroidism. TSH measurements are often supplemented with imaging tests, biopsies, clinical evaluation etc. Various symptoms like loss or gain of weight, blood pressure, facial features etc. are evaluated to diagnose hyper- or hypothyroidism.
According to the Harvard Medical School, at least 13 million Americans suffer from thyroid disorders, and in more than 80% of cases, the problem is an underactive thyroid gland — hypothyroidism. The condition is more common in women, and the rate rises with age, reaching 20% in women over 65.
Hypothyroidism: A condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. This is also known as an underactive thyroid.
- Some symptoms of hypothyroidism may include: fatigue, depression, weight gain, constipation & hair loss
Hyperthyroidism: A condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much thyroxine
- Some symptoms of hyperthyroidism may include: anxiety, weight loss, rapid heart rate, frequent bowel movements & restlessness
What is the job of the thyroid gland in the body?
The thyroid is a small gland located in the throat that produces thyroid hormones. These hormones are responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism including how it creates and uses energy.
What are some factors that can affect thyroid function?
Thyroid function can be affected by nutritional deficiencies including iodine & selenium and by exposure to toxic elements including bromine, arsenic, selenium, mercury & cadmium.
Who should test their thyroid function?
Routine screening is recommended for those experiencing symptoms such as: weight gain or inability to gain weight, feeling cold all the time, low energy, hair loss, irregular bowel movements or depression. Testing thyroid function is also recommended for individuals over the age of 50, anyone with a family history of thyroid disorders and those with autoimmune disorders.
- Use this Signs & Symptoms Checklist to Determine the Appropriate Hormone Imbalance Test Profile
- View our PDFs on Thyroid Imbalance Below: