Hypothyroidism Tests: A Measure Of Treatment Success
Hypothyroidism is treated with daily medication. Taking synthetic thyroid hormone medication can bring your T4 and TSH levels back to their normal ranges. Once youre on the right dose, your symptoms should subside.
When you first start taking medication, your doctor will need to monitor your blood to fine-tune the dosage. Initially you will need to be tested more frequently, Doria-Medina says. A person who is newly diagnosed and taking medication for hypothyroidism should be tested every six weeks until the dosage is just right.
The dose you start with is your doctors educated guess about whats best for you most likely the lowest dose possible to avoid side effects, which can include a rapid heartbeat and restlessness.
Medication for hypothyroidism is slow acting, and it can take several weeks for your body to adjust. If your TSH is still high and your symptoms havent subsided after 6 to 10 weeks, your doctor will likely increase the dose, and youll need your blood tested again after another 6 to 10 weeks.
Low Levels Of The Hormone
If the hormone TSH lowered that this could mean? In the case of low thyroid-stimulating hormone, there is a disruption in the thyroid. In addition, the low TSH could be a sign of the presence of benign thyroid tumors, meningitis, encephalitis and other diseases. The lack of substance in women causes constant headaches, chronic fatigue, ucashenie pulse, the appearance of the swelling on the face, disruptions of the menstrual cycle.
How To Pass A Blood Test For Tsh
It is recommended to hand over the analysis on TTG in the morning on an empty stomach. At this time, the concentration of thyroid stimulating hormone is at its highest. The result can be influenced by food, therefore it is recommended to take a blood test TSH fasting. In the evening you should also pay attention to the diet and used products. It is advisable to avoid heavy and spicy foods.
From the consumption of alcoholic beverages should be discontinued one day prior to analysis. It is also preferable not to take drugs, with the exception of vital medicines. And should avoid emotional stress and heavy exercise.
Recommended Reading: Will Graves Disease Go Away
Normal Thyroid Levels: Typical Numbers & How Testing Works
Your thyroid gland is an essential part of your endocrine system that secretes hormones that regulate metabolism, heart function, digestion, muscles, brain development, and bone health.
In this article, well talk about typical thyroid hormone levels, which tests are important, and what to do if you have hypothyroidism.
Preparing For Radioactive Iodine Treatment For Thyroid Cancer
Radioactive iodine treatment is a type of internal radiotherapy. It uses a radioactive form of iodine called iodine 131 . It is a useful treatment in thyroid cancer because the thyroid gland absorbs and stores most of the iodine in your body. The thyroid gland gets iodine from certain foods and uses this to make essential thyroid hormones.
Radioactive iodine is a targeted treatment. The radioactive iodine circulates throughout your body in your bloodstream. But it is mainly taken up by thyroid cells, having little effect on other cells. Thyroid cancer cells in your body pick up the iodine. The radiation in the iodine then kills the cancer cells.
It is only suitable for some types of thyroid cancer. It is a treatment for:
- follicular thyroid cancer
- papillary thyroid cancer
It can treat the cancer even if it has spread. But even if you have one of these types of thyroid cancer, this treatment may not be necessary or suitable for you. Not all of the cancer cells take up the iodine so you may have a test dose to see if they do.
Read Also: Apple Cider Vinegar And Thyroid Medication
Reference Range & Interpreting Your Lab Results
How do you know if your antibody levels are optimal?
When it comes to TSI testing youll find that there is a standard reference range.
This range is developed based on normal healthy adults and if you fall within this range you are considered to also be normal.
But lets break this down a little bit more:
If the presence of antibodies in your body mean that there is a chance that you may have an autoimmune disease, doesnt it make sense to want this number as close to zero as possible?
I would tend to agree with you on that, and therefore I tend to prefer when patients have a TSI level which as close to zero as possible.
The standard range for TSI is measured as a percentage and the cut off for normalcy is usually less than 1.4 or 1.3 .
This means that you can have a result of 130% and still be considered normal even though you are rapidly approaching the high end of that range.
The high end of the normal range is considered to be 140% which means that the closer you get to this range the closer you are to developing abnormal test results and the closer you are to a diagnosis of Gravess disease.
Because of this, it is preferable to have your percentage as far away from that high end as possible, in this case as far away from 140% as possible.
Thyroid Function Tests Associated with High TSI
If your TSI lab tests are abnormal then your doctor will also order several tests to identify the function of your thyroid gland.
Treatment Of Advanced Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer that spreads outside the neck area is rare, but can be a serious problem. Surgery and radioactive iodine remain the best way to treat such cancers as long as these treatments continue to work. However, for more advanced cancers, or when radioactive iodine therapy is no longer effective, other forms of treatment are needed. External beam radiation directs precisely focused X-rays to areas that need to be treatedoften tumor that has recurred locally or spread to bones or other organs. This can kill or slow the growth of those tumors. Cancer that has spread more widely requires additional treatment.
New chemotherapy agents that have shown promise treating other advanced cancers are becoming more widely available for treatment of thyroid cancer. These drugs rarely cure advanced cancers that have spread widely throughout the body but they can slow down or partially reverse the growth of the cancer. These treatments are usually given by an oncologist and often require care at a regional or university medical center.
Dont Miss: Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For Your Thyroid
Read Also: Thyroid Peroxidase Inhibitor
How Is Thyroid Cancer Diagnosed
Most people who are eventually diagnosed with thyroid cancer first come to their doctor after noticing a lump in their neck, so the diagnostic process usually starts with an evaluation of this nodule. The first step is a medical history and physical exam from a medical professional. Blood and imaging tests for thyroid cancer may follow. A thyroid biopsy is used to confirm the diagnosis of thyroid cancer.
The Process Of Testing
Good testing means getting a full panel done. This is going to include a TSH, fT3, fT4 and thyroid antibodies .
You are also going to want to make sure that you are preparing the body. This means preparing it in the best way to get tests done.
Key Insight: If you are going to have a full panel of tests done, it should be done in the morning and before you take your days thyroid tablet. This way, you are able to get the best and most meaningful results possible.
Don’t Miss: Do I Need To Fast For Tsh Blood Test
Normal Thyroid Levels For Tsh
Thyroid function is measure base of the TSH range of TSH blood test. The normal thyroid levels for TSH used to be from 0.5 to 5.0. After clinical studies, in 2003, the TSH range has been revised to 0.3 – 3.0 as normal TSH levels.
If you are trying to conceive, a normal level of TSH for conception should be lower than 2, that is what many reproductive endocrinologists prefer to see. Hypothyroidism is present when elevated TSH levels are present.
Normal Thyroid Levels for T4
Total T4 levels should be approximately 4.5 to 12.5. A low T4 level with High TSH indicates hypothyroidism. Free T4 normal range is approximately 0.7 to 2.0. If the value is low, it indicates f hypothyroidism.
Normal Thyroid Levels for T3
Total T3 levels should be approximately 80 to 220. Hypothyroidism is suspected when values are less than 80, while hyperthyroidism if over 220. Free T3 levels should be approximately 2.3 to 4.2. When values are less than 2.3, hypothyroidism is most likely.
What Does It Mean When Your Tsh Is Low
Low levels typically indicates an overractive thyroid gland, which produces too much thyroid hormone. This is known medically as hyperthyroidism.
It can be caused by an autoimmune disease , goiter, excessive iodine in the body, or an overdose of synthetic thyroid hormone.
Initial hyperthyroidism treatment can involve antithyroid medications and radioactive iodine to slow down thyroid hormone production. Most respond well to hyperthyroidism medications and are treated successfully.
Summary: Low TSH levels for the average adult are less than 0.2 mIU/L. This reading typically indicates an overractive thyroid.
Recommended Reading: Can You Take Collagen Supplements With Levothyroxine
Discover Your Best Thyroid Levels Today
Far too often I have heard of other doctors simply dismissing patients by saying that their labs are completely normal, when they should really be optimal. That is why I hope we have uncovered a bit more about your levels, and what they mean, today.
Would you like to learn more about what your results are based? What your best levels of free T3 and T4 are? Do you want to know how to accurately test your thyroid?
If so, we can send you a free personalized report specific to you and your thyroids health. Try the Thyroid Calculator today and contact the folks at Integrative Health to get your very own thyroid advisor visit to help put your health on the right track.
Does Thyroxine Treatment Have Side Effects
No good-quality research is available on the side effects of treating subclinical hypothyroidism with thyroxine, but its generally considered to be a well-tolerated drug. Because the body usually produces this hormone on its own, there are no problems if the dose is correct. If its too high though, side effects cant be ruled out. Possible side effects include heart problems like or a racing heartbeat.
Read Also: What Does Np Thyroid Stand For
When Abnormal Thyroid Function Tests Are Not Due To Thyroid Disease
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.
What Is A Normal Thyroid Level
Tests often used to assess thyroid hormone status include TSH and FT4 tests. The normal value for a laboratory test is determined by measuring the hormone in a large population of healthy individuals and finding the normal reference range. Normal ranges for thyroid tests may vary slightly among different laboratories, and typical ranges for common tests are given below.
TSH normal values are 0.5 to 5.0 mIU/L. Pregnancy, a history of thyroid cancer, history of pituitary gland disease, and older age are some situations when TSH is optimally maintained in different range as guided by an endocrinologist.
FT4 normal values are 0.7 to 1.9ng/dL. Individuals taking medications that modify thyroid hormone metabolism and those with a history of thyroid cancer or pituitary disease may be optimally managed with a different normal FT4 range.
Total T4 and Total T3 levels measure bound and free thyroid hormone in the blood. These levels are influenced by many factors that affect protein levels in the body, including medications, sex hormones, and liver disease. A normal Total T4 level in adults ranges from 5.0 to 12.0g/dL. A normal Total T3 level in adults ranges from 80-220 ng/dL.
Free T3 assays are often unreliable and not routinely used to assess thyroid function.
Don’t Miss: Is Fasting Required For T3 T4 Tsh Test
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 be more aggressive than needed
Medication may be absorbing too much
When Do You Need Treatment
Many hypothyroid patients feel at their best when theyre on medication and their thyroid levels are in the optimal TSH range of 0.5-2.00 , Dr. Henderson says. Since lab assays and ranges vary, the optimized levels for a patients specific lab can also vary. For elderly patients, the TSH target is in the 4.0 6.0 range.
Most doctors commonly treat their hypothyroid patients with a daily dose of levothyroxine , a man-made version of the T4 thyroid hormone made by the body, some doctors recommend using both T4 and T3 as the treatment option.
With thyroid medication, the dosing has to be just right, Dr. Henderson says. Too much or too little of the medication can lead to side effects that affect a patients health.
In patients who are diagnosed as hyperthyroid, treatment can include antithyroid medications such as methimazole, that works to control the overactive thyroid. Some patients are given radioactive iodine, which is given in pill form to gradually and safely shrink the thyroid.
If you are experiencing signs of an under- or overactive thyroid, seek professional medical advice from your doctor or a specialist in endocrinology about these tests and treatments.
Also Check: Is Noni Juice Good For Thyroid
Also Check: High Thyroid Count Causes
What Do The Results Mean
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.
Controversy Over Optimal Tsh
While most laboratories define a normal TSH as between roughly 0.5 mU/L and 5.0 mU/L, some experts argue that the upper limit of a normal TSH should be loweraround 2.5 mU/L.
The reasoning behind this is that the vast majority of adults without thyroid disease have a TSH value between 0.45 and 4.12 mU/L.
In addition, some healthcare providers believe older patients should have a TSH level that is greater than 4.0 mU/L or 5.0 mU/L, since TSH normally increases with age.
Healthcare providers can avoid some of this controversy simply by looking at each person as an individual. For example, a person who still has significant symptoms of hypothyroidism at a TSH of 4.0 mU/L may do better with a goal TSH of around 1.0 mU/L.
In contrast, someone who has health riskssuch as heart disease or osteoporosismay benefit from having a goal TSH that is higher, perhaps around 5.0 mU/L or 6.0 mU/L.
In pregnancy, TSH should not be allowed to rise above 2.4 mU/L in the first trimester or 3.0 mU/L for the second and third. That protects the health of both the baby and mother.
Read Also: Soy Milk Thyroid
Overdiagnosis Of Hypothyroid Is Common
Research suggests that thyroid medication is overprescribed because many practitioners apply a very narrow range when reading thyroid hormone test results.
One very insightful study showed that up to 60% of patients may be taking thyroid hormone replacement unnecessarily . In this study, 291 patients taking Levothyroxine were asked to pause their medication for 6-8 weeks. Many of these patients had been taking thyroid medication for years but did not have strong diagnostic indicators of thyroid disease.
- After going without synthetic thyroid hormone replacement for several weeks, patients were given thyroid function tests. 60.8% of patients had results in the normal range, meaning their body produces enough thyroid hormone and they did not require thyroid medication.
While both conventional and functional medicine practitioners over diagnose thyroid disease, this is an area where conventional medicine tends to get it right more often than functional medicine.
If you suspect your diagnosis and/or treatment may have been premature or unnecessary, know that you can always get a second opinion. If your lab results did not show abnormally high TSH paired with abnormally low free T4 then you may not be truly hypothyroid and may not need medication. Of course, always check with your doctor before discontinuing your medication.
For help with your thyroid health, schedule an appointment at our center for functional medicine.