Wednesday, June 15, 2022
HomeNewsWhat Does Elevated Thyroid Levels Mean

What Does Elevated Thyroid Levels Mean

Definition Of A High Tsh

Thyroid TSH Levels High – What it means and what to do!

So what defines a high TSH?

If your TSH is higher than 5.0 then the lab will flag you as high and you may experience the symptoms listed above.

You can see a clear example of this below:

The reference range in this example is 0.3 to 5.00 uIU/ml and the result is 7.024.

Having said all of this, theres actually a good case to make that you can still have a high TSH but still be inside of the reference range.

So how do we get there?

Well, newer studies have shed light on the fact that some of the original tests that helped determine our standard normal TSH values may not have have been full of healthy people.

When you are being compared to some standard you want to make sure that the standard you are being compared to is actually healthy!

It doesnt make sense to compare your TSH as a 25-year-old to that of an 86-year-old .

Using this logic some newer studies have suggested that a more normal TSH reference range is somewhere between 1.0 and 2.5 uIU/ml and anything higher than 2.5 is considered high .

With this logic you can have a high TSH anywhere between 2.5 and 5.5, even though it technically falls within the normal range:

In addition, other studies have suggested we use the African American population as the standard for TSH testing because they have one of the lowest rates of autoimmune disease compared to other populations and their TSH is somewhere around 1.0.

How Tsh Affects T3 And T4 Levels

Levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone directly influence the amount of T4 and T3 your thyroid secretes.

The journal Acta Endocrinologica says that there is a positive relation between TSH serum levels and serum levels of T3 and T4.20

TSH stimulates your thyroid gland to produce T3 and T4 hormones. Obviously when TSH is high, your thyroid will be stimulated to generate more thyroid hormones. When TSH levels are low, your thyroid will generate less T3 and T4.

What More Should I Know About Thyroid Blood Tests

Ranges noted here are approximate your providers may differ slightly. Its important that you remember abnormal readings do not necessarily mean a thyroid disorder is present, as each test can be affected by a variety of factors.

No preparation is required for these tests. They can be taken any time of day without fasting.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/27/2019.

References

Don’t Miss: Thyrokare For Dogs Side Effects

What Is A Bad Tsh Level

TSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary that stimulates your thyroid to produce T4 and T3 hormones. Your doctor may order a TSH blood test to assess your thyroid health, often as part of a thyroid panel. Normal TSH levels are around 0.4-4.5 mIU/ml. If your TSH levels are high, you may have an underactive thyroid.

Questions For Your Doctor About Test Results

Why Do I Have Thyroid Symptoms If My TSH Is Normal?

When you review the results of your TSH test with your doctor, it could be helpful to ask specific questions, such as the following:

  • Is my level of TSH within the normal range?
  • Do my test results suggest that my thyroid is overactive or underactive?
  • What additional tests will you be ordering, if any?

Recommended Reading: Can Thyroid Problems Cause Eye Floaters

This Is Super Important To Understand

Before I get into the cause of High TSH, there is something I want you know and I think this is SUPER IMPORTANT that you understand this because no one else is talking about this. So, I want you to pay very close attention to what Im about to tell you

#1 It is absolutely critical that you have a complete thyroid panel. You can visit it my website for more information on what this consists of. But if you have that done, thats only step one. While having a complete Thyroid panel is essential to addressing the Root Cause of Thyroid disease, many people mistakenly think and believe that by having a complete thyroid test they will have ALL the answers as to why they are gaining weight or why they are losing their hair or why they are fatigued all the time, but there is much more to this.

What Are Thyroid Nodules

Thyroid nodules are small bumps that can form inside the thyroid gland. Approximately 90% of thyroid nodules are non-cancerous however, in some cases, these nodules may suggest the presence of thyroid cancer. Also, thyroid nodules can sometimes alter thyroid hormone levels, resulting in either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

Women are about 4 times more likely than men to have thyroid nodules. And older age, a history of thyroid radiation, and iron deficiency are all linked with a greater likelihood of having thyroid nodules.

Also Check: Does Graves Disease Go Away After Thyroid Removed

What Is A T3 Test

T3 TestsT3 tests measure triiodothyronine levels in the blood. A Total T3 test measures the bound and free fractions of triiodothyronine. Hyperthyroid patients typically have an elevated Total T3 level. T3 tests can be used to support a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism and can determine the severity hyperthyroidism.

In some thyroid diseases, the proportions of T3 and T4 in the blood change and can provide diagnostic information. A pattern of increased T3 vs T4 is characteristic of Graves disease. On the other hand, medications like steroids and amiodarone, and severe illness can decrease the amount of thyroid hormone the body converts from T4 to T3 resulting in a lower proportion of T3.

T3 levels fall late in the course of hypothyroidism and therefore are not routinely used to evaluate patients with underactive or surgically absent thyroid glands.

Measurement of Free T3 is possible, but is often not reliable and therefore may not be helpful.

What Are High Tsh Levels

High TSH Symptoms (The complete list what’s a normal level)

The normal reference range for the concentration of TSH levels in blood serum is between 0.4 and 4.0 mUI/L. If you have high TSH of over 4.0 mIU/L doctors will probably arrange to check for levels of T4 hormone to help identify the type of hypothyroidism you have.

However, as already mentioned, some doctors say that anything over 2.5 mIU/L should be considered as high TSH.

Don’t Miss: Can Thyroid Problems Cause Eye Floaters

Slightly Elevated Thyroid Levels

Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!

Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!

HealthTap doctors are based in the U.S., board certified, and available by text or video.

So How Do Doctors Use Tsh

TSH is primarily used as a marker of thyroid hormone status in the entire body.

Checking your TSH can be used as a quick measure to determine if your thyroid is functioning properly or not.

A high TSH tells your Doctor that your thyroid is not working properly which means that you may need the use of thyroid hormone medications to increase and normalize thyroid function.

After starting thyroid medication the TSH can be used to “track” your progress.

As you take thyroid medication your TSH should be reduced back to the “normal” range.

As this occurs you are said to once again become “euthyroid”.

This is how everything is supposed to work, but is it really that easy?

This is where Doctors and patients tend to disagree .

Even though you can “normalize” the TSH with thyroid medications, many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism may actually still persist.

We will discuss more of that below, but for now, let’s discuss what kind of symptoms you may experience if your TSH is elevated.

Recommended Reading: Does Thyroid Function Affect Bipolar Disorder

How Does A Blood Test For Hyperthyroidism Work

A TSH test for hyperthyroidism evaluates your levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone , and the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 may also be evaluated. Because TSH signals the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormones, unusually low levels of TSH can mean that your thyroid is making too many hormones. T3 and T4 measurements can also reveal just how high your thyroid hormone levels are, which can help your healthcare provider decide on a treatment strategy.

What Does A Low Tsh Level Mean

PPT

A TSH level below 0.5 mIU/L can mean that your thyroid gland is overactive. This is hyperthyroidism, which can cause such symptoms as , heat intolerance, increased appetite, and bulging eyes.

One of the most common causes of hyperthyroidism is Graves disease, an autoimmune disorder in which your bodys immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland. also can be caused by or taking certain medications.

Read Also: Symptoms Of Graves Disease After Thyroidectomy

Radioactive Iodine Uptake Test

A radioactive iodine uptake test, also called a thyroid uptake test, can help check thyroid function and find the cause of hyperthyroidism. The thyroid takes up iodine from the blood to make thyroid hormones, which is why this is called an uptake test. Your health care professional may ask you to avoid foods high in iodine, such as kelp, or medicines containing iodine for a week before the test.

For this test, you will swallow a small amount of radioactive iodine in liquid or capsule form. During the test, you will sit in a chair while a technician places a device called a gamma probe in front of your neck, near your thyroid gland. The probe measures how much radioactive iodine your thyroid takes up from your blood. Measurements are often taken 4 to 6 hours after you swallow the radioactive iodine and again at 24 hours. The test takes only a few minutes.

If your thyroid collects a large amount of radioactive iodine, you may have Graves disease, or one or more nodules that make too much thyroid hormone. You may have this test at the same time as a thyroid scan.

Even though the test uses a small amount of radiation and is thought to be safe, you should not have this test if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What Blood Tests Do Doctors Use To Check Thyroid Function

Doctors may order one or more blood tests to check your thyroid function. Tests may include thyroid stimulating hormone , T4, T3, and thyroid antibody tests.

For these tests, a health care professional will draw blood from your arm and send it to a lab for testing. Your doctor will talk to you about your test results.

Also Check: Can I Take Collagen With Levothyroxine

How To Measure Tsh Levels

The TSH test involves a healthcare professional drawing blood from a vein in the inner arm. They then send the blood sample to a laboratory for testing.

Usually, people do not need to prepare for a TSH test. However, if the doctor is testing the blood for more than one issue, a person may need to fast or prepare in another way. The doctor will provide this information beforehand.

If a person has abnormally high or low TSH levels, the doctor needs to run at least one other diagnostic test to identify the underlying cause. These tests look at levels of specific thyroid hormones and antibodies.

When Abnormal Thyroid Function Tests Are Not Due To Thyroid Disease

What do TSH levels mean?/what do high and low tsh means?

While blood tests to measure thyroid hormones and thyroid stimulating hormone are widely available, it is important to remember that no all tests are useful in all circumstances and many factors including medications, supplements, and non-thyroid medical conditions can affect thyroid test results. An endocrinologist can help you make sense of thyroid test results when there is a discrepancy between your results and how you feel. A good first step is often to repeat the test and ensure there are no medications that might interfere with the test results. Below are some common reasons for mismatch between thyroid tests and thyroid disease.

Non-thyroidal illness Significant illness, such as an infection, cancer, heart failure, or kidney disease, or recent recovery from an illness can cause changes transient changes in the TSH. Fasting or starvation can also cause a low TSH. An endocrinologist can help to interpret changes in thyroid function tests in these circumstances to distinguish non-thyroid illness from true thyroid dysfunction.

Test interference Biotin, a common supplement for hair and nail growth, interferes with many thyroid function tests and can lead to inaccurate results. Endocrinologists recommend stopping biotin supplements for 3 days before having a blood test for thyroid function.

Recommended Reading: Apple Cider Vinegar And Thyroid Medication

What Causes High Tsh And Normal T4

A normal TSH and normal T4 show a normal thyroid. A low TSH and high T4 generally means an overactive thyroid. A high TSH and low T4 means an underactive thyroid. A low TSH and low T4 mean low thyroid function because of another problem, such as with the pituitary gland or hypothalamus of the brain.

Underactive Thyroid: Deciding Whether Or Not To Treat Subclinical Hypothyroidism

Subclinical hypothyroidism means that the thyroid gland is still producing enough thyroid hormones. But some blood values may suggest the early stages of a hormone deficiency. Experts dont agree on whether subclinical hypothyroidism should be treated. Its not clear in which cases treatment would have advantages.

If you already have noticeable hypothyroidism, the thyroid is no longer producing enough thyroid hormones. Thyroxine is the most important of the thyroid hormones. It helps regulate many of the bodys functions to balance your metabolism. Too little thyroxine can cause a number of different health problems. The symptoms range from cold hands to physical weakness, difficulty concentrating and . Hypothyroidism can be treated easily by taking a tablet containing the thyroid hormone once a day. These tablets act to replace the thyroxine that is not being produced. This usually makes the symptoms disappear completely.

Because it doesnt cause any symptoms, subclinical hypothyroidism isnt noticeable. The TSH value is too high, but the thyroid is still producing enough hormones. This hormone is produced in the pituitary gland and acts as a trigger for the thyroid to start producing the thyroid hormones. TSH levels that are just a little too high may be the first sign of the early stages of hypothyroidism: The pituitary gland responds to lower levels of thyroid hormones by increasing TSH production to activate the thyroid.

Read Also: Graves Disease After Total Thyroidectomy

What Does The Thyroid Do

Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland at the front of your neck that secretes thyroid hormones into your bloodstream.

Doctors from the Department of Health in Australia say that your thyroid regulates your bodys metabolism and affects your nervous and immune systems. This means that your thyroid affects most of the complex processes that happen in your body. Your body needs iodine to create adequate levels of T3 and T4 hormones.1

Some of the functions that your thyroid controls include:

  • Your body weight
  • Processes connected to your central nervous system
  • Your heart rate

What Do The Results Mean

TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone test, TSH levels &  TSH ...

High TSH levels can mean your thyroid is not making enough thyroid hormones, a condition called hypothyroidism. Low TSH levels can mean your thyroid is making too much of the hormones, a condition called hyperthyroidism. A TSH test does not explain why TSH levels are too high or too low. If your test results are abnormal, your health care provider will probably order additional tests to determine the cause of your thyroid problem. These tests may include:

  • T4 thyroid hormone tests

Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.

Read Also: Can You Take Collagen Supplements With Levothyroxine

In People With Thyroid Disease

In people being treated for hypothyroidism, a low TSH level may mean:

  • Overmedication with thyroid hormone replacement
  • Interactions that cause increased absorption or activity despite an optimal dose of medication
  • Central hypothyroidism

In people being treated for hyperthyroidism, a low TSH level usually means that further treatment is needed to reduce thyroid hormone levels.

It could also mean that a person must continue to be monitored to make sure thyroid hormone levels return to normal. This is often the case for people who have temporary thyroiditis related to pregnancy or chemotherapy treatment.

  • Treatment may need to be more aggressive

  • Medication may not be absorbing enough

  • Treatment may be more aggressive than needed

  • Medication may be absorbing too much

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

  • What is the cause of my underactive thyroid ?
  • Do I have Hashimotos disease?
  • What do the results of my blood test mean?
  • How long will I need medicine for my hypothyroidism and what are the side effects?
  • What TSH level will you use as a target for me?
  • After Im in the optimal range, how often do you suggest I come back for blood tests to make sure my dosage needs havent changed?
  • Am I at risk for related health problems?
  • How quickly can I expect relief from my hypothyroid symptoms?
  • Are there any lifestyle changes I can make to relieve my symptoms?

Once you have the answers to these questions, your doctor will have a better understanding of your concerns and needs, and can take all the information into consideration in formulating a thyroid management plan in discussion with you.

Dont Miss: Is Orange Juice Good For Thyroid

Read Also: Does Armour Thyroid Cause Weight Loss

When Tsh Alone Is Not Enough

During diagnosis, most doctors use the TSH test to evaluate thyroid function and determine the optimal course of treatment. There are times, however, when knowing one’s TSH may be insufficient.

For instance, free T4 in addition to TSH is usually tested if a doctor suspects thyroid dysfunction due to disease of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus.

Likewise, if the TSH is normal, but a person still has symptoms of being hyperthyroid or hypothyroid, free T4 may be checked.

TSH is also not necessarily sufficient to monitor hypothyroidism during pregnancy T4 and free T4 are often recommended.

Depending on the clinical situation, other thyroid tests that may be done include triiodothyronine , free T3, reverse T3, and thyroid antibody tests.

RELATED ARTICLES

Popular Articles