Patterns Of Thyroid Tests Associated With Thyroid Disease
Primary Hypothyroidism A high TSH and low thyroid hormone level can indicate primary hypothyroidism. Primary hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland makes too little thyroid hormone. Symptoms of hypothyroidism can include feeling cold, constipation, weight gain, slowed thinking, and decreased energy. Causes of primary hypothyroidism include:
- Autoimmune thyroid disease, including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Thyroid gland dysfunction due to a medication
- Removal of all or part of the thyroid gland
- Radiation injury to the thyroid
- Excess treatment with anti-thyroid medications
Early or mild hypothyroidism may present as a persistently elevated TSH and a normal FT4 hormone level. This pattern is called subclinical hypothyroidism and your doctor may recommend treatment. Over time, untreated subclinical hypothyroidism can contribute to heart disease.
It is important to remember that normal TSH levels in older individuals are higher than the normal ranges for younger individuals.
Primary Hyperthyroidism A low TSH and a high thyroid hormone level can indicate primary hyperthyroidism. Primary hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland makes or releases too much thyroid hormone. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism can include tremors, palpitations, restlessness, feeling too warm, frequent bowel movements, disrupted sleep, and unintentional weight loss. Causes of primary hyperthyroidism include:
What You Can Do To Get Healthy Thyroid Hormone Levels
After all this thyroid-hormone-levels-gone-wrong talk, youâd be justified in thinking to yourself, âOkay, so how can I get healthy thyroid hormone levels to help avoid a thyroid problem?â
First, make sure youâre getting the right amount of iodine in your diet .
For men and non-pregnant women, the recommended daily allowance for iodine is 150 micrograms . For pregnant women, that number rises to 220 mcg per day â and 290 mcg a day for women who are breastfeeding.
If you want to check if you have an underactive thyroid gland âor if youâre interested in finding out if you have high thyroid levelsâgetting a thyroid function test can be a good place to start.
Of course, if your thyroid hormone level isn’t within a normal range and you may have a thyroid dysfunction, consult with your healthcare provider to learn what solution is best for you to help get your hormone levels back in balance . If you do have a thyroid disorder or thyroid condition, your healthcare provider may recommend ongoing thyroid testing to monitor results of your treatment plan.
Questions To Ask Your Endocrinologist:
- What tests do I need to check my thyroid levels?
- What are the normal ranges for each hormone?
- Are my T3, T4, and TSH levels normal?
- Are my symptoms indicative of a thyroid disorder?
- How can we correct any issues with the levels through medication or lifestyle changes?
- Are there any side effects to the medications?
- How long does it take before the medicine starts to work?
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Is Hypothyroidism During Pregnancy A Problem
Left untreated, hypothyroidism during pregnancy can affect both mother and baby. However, thyroid medicines can help prevent problems and are safe to take during pregnancy. Many women taking thyroid hormone medicine need a higher dose during pregnancy, so contact your doctor right away if you find out youre pregnant.
Try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This type of therapy may help you better deal with your emotions by changing negative thought patterns and replacing them with more positive ones. In studies looking at physical activity, CBT, and fatigue including research published in the journal Health Psychology in May 2018 researchers observed that CBT appears to help people feel like theyre more active or capable of being active. CBT assists by helping you learn how to notice fatigue-related thinking that can make you feel youre just too tired from the effects of hypothyroidism to do anything. Its worth looking into this and various other ways you can get support for whats going on in your life as you wait for the effect of the thyroid medication to kick in.
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On Thyroid Therapy Tsh Can Be Higher In The Coldest Months Of The Year
In 2017, Gullo and team did a study of a huge number of peoples seasonal TSH, Free T3 and Free T4 levels.
They compared people with healthy thyroid glands not taking thyroid hormones vs. people after a thyroidectomy who were taking thyroid hormones .
Look what happened to the people who were on the same dose of thyroid hormone all year long.
This study was done on patients in Sicily in this climate:
What would the results be like in Scotland, or North Dakota, or Canada, or Norway, or Finland where the cold months will be colder?
They also found that thyroidless people on thyroid therapy lost a lot of Free T3 hormone in winter, while people with helathy throids gained Free T3 in Winter.
See my previous post with the fuller data set and discussion of Gullo et al, 2017: In Winter, everyone gains T3 except thyroidless patients on T4
TIP: If you test TSH once a year, test in the coldest month of the year. If you get TSH tested and your dose adjusted in summer, you may need a really big sweater to stay warm in the winter.
Hashimoto’s Disease And Hypothyroidism
The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s disease. It’s an autoimmune disorder, meaning that the body’s own immune system attacks the thyroid and causes inflammation. This prevents the thyroid from making enough hormones, causing hypothyroidism.
Hashimoto’s disease often runs in families, and it affects women more than men. People with other autoimmune diseases are also more likely to get Hashimoto’s disease.
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Thyroid Hormone: How It Affects Your Heart
The thyoid gland, which wraps around the windpipe, releases hormones that have wideranging effects on the body.
Too little or too much of this crucial hormone can contribute to heart problems.
Located at the base your throat, the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland releases hormones that affect every organ in your bodyespecially your heart. Thyroid hormone influences the force and speed of your heartbeat, your blood pressure, and your cholesterol level. As a result, a malfunctioning thyroid gland can cause problems that masquerade as heart disease or make existing heart disease worse.
An estimated 6% of people in the United States have thyroid disease. Most of themabout 80% have an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism. When thyroid levels drop, all the systems in the body slow down, triggering a range of symptoms that include fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, constipation, and dry skin. But these symptoms are very common in people as they grow older, including those with normal thyroid levels.
Signs And Symptoms Your Thyroid Medication Is Too Low
First things first, let’s talk about how to know if your thyroid medication is working or not.
It’s actually quite simple and once I explain it to you, it will make a lot of sense.
How do you know if your thyroid medication is high enough?
Well, if it is high enough then you will experience NONE of the symptoms of having a low thyroid.
So if you are experiencing ANY remaining low thyroid symptoms then you know right away that your thyroid medication is off.
These symptoms include:
- Continued dry skin
You’ll notice that I used the term “continued” in the description list and this was by design.
Because the symptoms of low thyroid present with these exact symptoms.
And if your symptoms did NOT go away when you started your thyroid medication then you know that your meds aren’t working.
If you are experiencing ANY of these symptoms AFTER you start taking your thyroid medication then you need to look at the reasons listed below.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism has many symptoms that can vary from person to person. Some common symptoms of hypothyroidism include
- thyroiditis, or inflammation of the thyroid
- congenital hypothyroidism, or hypothyroidism that is present at birth
- surgical removal of part or all of the thyroid
- radiation treatment of the thyroid
- some medicines
Less often, hypothyroidism is caused by too much or too little iodine in the diet or by disorders of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus.1 Iodine deficiency, however, is extremely rare in the United States.
Treating An Underactive Thyroid
Treatment for an underactive thyroid involves taking daily hormone replacement tablets, called levothyroxine, to raise your thyroxine levels.
You’ll initially have regular blood tests until the correct dose of levothyroxine is reached. This can take a little while to get right.
Once you’re taking the correct dose, you’ll usually have a blood test once a year to monitor your hormone levels.
You’ll usually need treatment for the rest of your life. However, with proper treatment, you should be able to lead a normal, healthy life.
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How Does Hypothyroidism Affect Your Metabolism
The thyroid hormone helps control the speed of your metabolism. The faster your metabolism, the more calories your body burns at rest.
People with hypothyroidism make less thyroid hormone. This means they have a slower metabolism and burn fewer calories at rest.
Having a slow metabolism comes with several health risks. It may leave you tired, increase your blood cholesterol levels, and make it harder for you to lose weight .
If you find it difficult to maintain your weight with hypothyroidism, try doing moderate or high intensity cardio. This includes exercises like fast-paced walking, running, hiking, and rowing.
Research shows that moderate to high intensity aerobic exercise may help boost your thyroid hormone levels. In turn, this may help speed up your metabolism (
People with hypothyroidism usually have a slower metabolism. Research shows that aerobic exercise can help boost your thyroid hormone levels. Additionally, eating more protein may help boost your metabolism.
Several nutrients are important for optimal thyroid health.
Weak Nails And Thinning Hair
Your hair and nails are constantly growing. One important function of the thyroid gland is sending hormone signals to trigger hair and nail growth. With hyperthyroidism, the extra hormones tell your body to increase the growth of your hair follicles and nails in a shorter period of time. While it would seem that your nails growing fast would be a positive side effect of thyroid dysfunction, that isnt the case. This forced growth is too fast. As a result, your body has to stretch its natural resources, which can lead to thin and brittle hair and nails.
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How Do Doctors Diagnose Hypothyroidism
Your doctor will take your medical history and perform a physical exam. A hypothyroidism diagnosis cant be based on symptoms alone because many of its symptoms are the same as those of other diseases.1 Thats why your doctor may use several thyroid blood tests and imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis and find its cause.
Because hypothyroidism can cause fertility problems, women who have trouble getting pregnant often get tested for thyroid problems.
Surgical Removal Of Your Thyroid
If your entire thyroid gland is removed as a result of thyroid problems, youll develop hypothyroidism. Using thyroid medication for the rest of your life is the primary treatment.
If only a portion of the gland is removed, your thyroid may still be able to produce enough hormones on its own. Blood tests will help determine how much thyroid medication youll need.
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What Is Thyroid Medication
Thyroid Hormone Treatment Levothyroxine is thestandard of care in thyroid hormone replacement therapy and treatment of hypothyroidism. Levothyroxine is equivalent to the T4 form of naturally occurring thyroid hormone and is available in generic and brand name forms.
How do I take levothyroxine? To optimize absorption of your thyroid medication, it should be taken with water at a regular time each day. Multiple medications and supplements decrease absorption of thyroid hormone and should be taken 3-4 hours apart, including calcium and iron supplements, proton pump inhibitors, soy, and multivitamins with minerals. Because of the way levothyroxine is metabolized by the body, your doctor may ask you to take an extra pill or skip a pill on some days of the week. This helps us to fine tune your medication dose for your body and should be guided by an endocrinologist.
For patients with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, a gluten free formulation of levothyroxine is available.
Some individuals may have genetic variant that affects how the body converts T4 to T3 and these individuals may benefit from the addition of a small dose of triiodothyronine.
Liothyronine is replacement T3 thyroid hormone. This medication has a short half-life and is taken twice per day or in combination with levothyroxine. Liothyronine alone is not used for treatment of hypothyroidism long term.
When And How You Take Your Pill
If you’re taking your thyroid replacement or antithyroid medication at different times each day, you might not be consistent about taking it on an empty stomach as recommended. Food may delay or reduce the drug’s absorption by changing the rate at which it dissolves or by changing the stomach’s acid balance, ultimately affecting your thyroid hormone levels, your symptoms, and your test results.
If you want to ensure the best possible absorption of your medication, take your thyroid medication consistently. Ideally, you should take your thyroid medicine in the morning, on an empty stomach, about one hour before eating breakfast and drinking coffee, or at bedtime .
Also, make sure to wait for at least three to four hours between taking thyroid medication and taking any fiber, calcium, or iron-rich foods or supplements, as they can prevent you from absorbing your full dose of medication.
Ultimately, when it comes to how you take your thyroid hormone drug, consistency is what you should strive for. If you plan to change the way you take your thyroid medication, make sure you clear it with your doctor first.
What Is Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism, also called underactive thyroid disease, is a common disorder. With hypothyroidism, your thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone.
The thyroid gland is located in the front lower part of your neck. Hormones released by the gland travel through your bloodstream and affect nearly every part of your body, from your heart and brain, to your muscles and skin.
The thyroid controls how your body’s cells use energy from food, a process called metabolism. Among other things, your metabolism affects your bodyâs temperature, your heartbeat, and how well you burn calories. If you don’t have enough thyroid hormone, your body processes slow down. That means your body makes less energy, and your metabolism becomes sluggish.
What Are Symptoms:
The most common cause of low TSH level is a hyperactive thyroid gland. Because the thyroid hormones help regulate various body functions such as metabolism, an increase in these hormones can lead to the following symptoms:
- General Symptoms
A patient will experience restlessness, nervousness, muscle cramps, involuntary muscle movements, weakness, and fatigue. In addition, most people with thyroid problems have heat intolerance, wherein a warm weather is unbearable for them. They will sweat more during these days.
- Lung and Heart Problems
It can also lead to several heart problems such as an increase in blood pressure and irregular heartbeats. In some cases, this abnormality can also affect the heart muscle leading to cardiomyopathy. In a worst-case scenario, heart failure may also occur.
A person with low TSH may also experience shortness of breath even when doing normal activities.
- Digestive System
Weight loss is evident in people with this condition even though they have an increase in appetite, because they have an accelerated metabolism. However, compared to younger people, the elderly may experience a loss of appetite.
Bowel movements may also be affected. One may feel the need to defecate more often than usual. However, vomiting and abdominal pain will rarely occur.
Some patients may also develop a goiter, or an enlargement of the thyroid gland, which may affect their ability to swallow food.
- Skin and Hair
- Personality and Mental Problems
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What Is Depression
Almost all of us feel low sometimes, usually because of a disturbing or difficult event in our lives. But ongoing sadness or despair can be caused by depression, a serious condition that warrants treatment. Talking to your primary care doctor can be a good place to start. Your doctor can screen you for depression and help treat your symptoms.
Depression affects more than 300 million people worldwide — 20% of all women, 10% of all men, and 5% or more of all adolescents. It is the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, and is the second most common psychiatric problem in the U.S. , afflicting about 17.6 million people each year at a cost in the range of about $50 billion a year.
Depression can strike at any age, including in childhood. Between 2013 and 2016, 8.1% of American adults ages 20 and older had depression in a given 2-week period. In 2017, 13.3% of teens ages 12 to 17 reported at least one major depressive episode in the previous year. Among children ages 3 to 17, about 3.2% have diagnosed depression.
However, most people first experience depression when they are in their early thirties, and depression is particularly rife among older adults. Depression is not simply a normal reaction to the challenges of growing older, such as the death of a spouse or friends and the physical limitations of age, but is a medical condition without a known cause.
What Is Low Tsh
The endocrine system is responsible for regulating the function of organs in your body. The pituitary gland produces thyroid stimulating hormone . TSH stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones.
If the pituitary gland is not functioning to produce TSH as it should, then the thyroid will not make the level of hormones it should be. This reduction of hormones from the thyroid can lead to many health problems.
Low TSH levels can affect your health, quality of life, and your relationships. The signs of the conditions caused by a low TSH level are essential to know so that you can recognize that you might have a health issue and discuss it with your doctor to get the proper treatment.
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