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Why Are My Thyroid Levels High

Causes Of High Tsh Levels

My TSH is high, why won’t my doctor prescribe thyroid hormones?

Thyroid hormones operate on a negative feedback loop. Low thyroxine levels indicate to the pituitary gland to produce more TSH, but more TSH can further decrease thyroxine levels. Therefore, any issues that cause hypothyroidism, will in turn affect production from the pituitary gland.

One of the most common causes of hypothyroidism with a high TSH level is chronic autoimmune thyroiditis, also known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. White blood cells begin to attack the thyroid gland, which decreases the amount of thyroid hormone it produces.

Other things that affect T4 levels, ultimately affecting TSH levels, include:

  • Hormonal changes from hormonal birth control or a shift in estrogen levels
  • Medications that cause thyroid dysfunction, like amiodarone or tyrosine kinase inhibitors
  • Injury to the thyroid gland from radiation therapy
  • Partial or complete removal of the thyroid gland

While the causes of thyroid diseases are widely researched and understood, it is less clear what can cause the elevated TSH levels if the pituitary gland is the source of the issue. One possible cause of elevated TSH levels are TSH-secreting adenomas. These are tumors on the pituitary that independently produce TSH, stimulating the thyroid gland to produce T4 and T3. However, these tumors are rare.

Swelling of the pituitary gland can also cause malfunction and hormonal imbalance, potentially affecting TSH levels. However, the condition is rare and usually affects other hormones produced by the pituitary.

When Is It Ordered

Testing may be ordered when an individual has abnormal TSH and/or free T4 test results or signs and symptoms of a low or high level of thyroid hormones or the presence of a goiter, especially if the cause is suspected to be an autoimmune disease.

A low level of thyroid hormones can cause symptoms, such as:

  • Weight gain
Graves diseaseWhen a person has symptoms of hyperthyroidism

If a pregnant woman has a known autoimmune thyroid disease or has another autoimmune disorder and thyroid involvement is suspected, then one or more of the thyroid antibodies may be ordered early in the pregnancy and then again near the end. These tests are used to help determine whether the baby may be at risk of thyroid dysfunction. Thyroid antibodies can cross the placenta and cause hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism in the developing baby or newborn.

Thyroid antibody testing may also be ordered when a person with another autoimmune disorder has symptoms of thyroid dysfunction and/or when she has reproductive difficulties that a healthcare provider suspects may be associated with autoantibodies.

Is It Possible To Have A High Tsh And Normal T3 & T4


In some cases, the serum T3 and T4 levels can be relatively preserved despite elevation in TSH levels.

Some people assume this is a reactive response but you must realize that serum concentrations of thyroid hormone do not necessarily reflect tissue levels of thyroid hormone.

What’s important is not the serum concentration but the amount of thyroid hormone that enters the cells and activates genetic transcription.

TSH reflects the tissue concentration of the pituitary gland, but it does not reflect the concentration of say your liver.

You can learn more about using the SHBG for this purpose in this guide.

Just realize for now that in order to get a “complete” picture of thyroid function in the body, you should evaluate TSH in the presence of other thyroid lab studies such as free T3, total T3, free T4, sex hormone binding globulin and of course thyroid antibodies.

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What Is A Tsh Test

A TSH test is a lab test that analyzes your blood to determine the body’s overall TSH levels. If you begin to show signs of a malfunctioning thyroid, your doctor my order a test to check for the TSH levels in your system. If the resutls show a high level of TSH, you may have a sluggish thyroid, but low levels of TSH signal that your thyroid may be overactive.

During a TSH test, your doctor will take a blood sample to check the hormone levels. A needle will be placed in a sterilized are of your arm, then attached to a tube to collect the blood. After this is finished, the needle is removed and you will be asked to put pressure and a bandage on the site to stop the bleeding. In some cases, an elastic band may be placed around the arm to make it easier to collect the blood. You should not feel a great deal of pain from the elastic band or the needle, though you may develop a bruise at the injection site.

Your doctor will be focusing on the two hormones that control the metabolism, triiodothyronine and thyroxine . Results of the TSH test are typically available 2-3 days after the test is given. If you have high TSH or low TSH, your doctor will explain what may be going wrong and what you can do treat this condition.

What Does A Tsh Level Indicate

Why Thyroid Levels Fluctuate....

Remember when we were talking about TSH levels? TSH is a hormone released by the pituitary gland that stimulates the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormones. If your TSH levels are too low, then you may have an overactive thyroid gland â with your body producing too much thyroid hormones, which can lead changes in your bodyâs metabolism. And if you have high TSH levels, then the reverse is true: you may have an underactive thyroid gland thatâs not producing enough hormones.

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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Graves’ Disease

Kids and teens with Graves’ disease might notice that:

  • they’re more tired than usual
  • they have lots of trouble sleeping
  • they lose weight
  • their heart is beating very fast
  • their hands shake
  • they have a lot of trouble focusing

Girls with Graves’ disease sometimes notice that they have fewer menstrual cycles. Over time, many people notice that their thyroid glands are enlarged.

Some people with Graves’ disease have troubles with their eyes itching, burning, redness, and sometimes trouble seeing normally. Sometimes they feel pressure behind the eyes, feel their eyes bulging, or see double. This is because the antibodies that make the thyroid overactive also cause and swelling behind the eyes. When this happens, it’s calledGraves’ eye disease.

Normal T3 And T4 Levels

What are normal T3 and T4 levels when your thyroid is functioning properly?

Dr. Jayita Poduval who specializes in neck and throat disorders says that normal free T3 levels are 125 250 ng/dL in children and 80 200 ng/dL in adults.21

The reference range for free T4 is 0.7 1 ng/dL in adults and 0.8 2 ng/dL in children and adolescents.22

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How Is Graves’ Disease Diagnosed

Graves’ disease is diagnosed based on a visit with a doctor who will review the symptoms and examine the patient.

It’s important to do lab tests too, because many people can have some of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism for other reasons. Sometimes the blood tests aren’t enough to be sure of the diagnosis and other tests are needed, like a thyroid scan or ultrasound.

Stage : Subclinical Hypothyroidism Occurs

Why do my thyroid hormone levels go up and down from one lab test to the next?

Stage 3 is when subclinical hypothyroidism occurs, and in this stage, people are going to have an elevated TSH in addition to having thyroid antibodies. They will also have immune cell infiltration into the thyroid gland, although their T3 and T4 levels are still going to be normal. Many people will have some symptoms of hypothyroidism or autoimmune symptoms at this stage.

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Why Not Check Thyroid Hormones Directly

Why not check the thyroid hormones themselves, to see if the gland is not functioning properly?

The thyroid only makes small amounts of T3. Even in cases of severe hypothyroidism, T3 levels dont go down that much. T4 is produced in large quantities by the thyroid. However, TSH is a far superior screening test because small changes in T4 cause large TSH spikes. Usually when a person has hypothyroidism, TSH levels become very high way before T4 levels fall below normal. So, in our analogy, the thermostat is very sensitive to small variations in temperature.

Thats why a normal TSH almost always means the thyroid gland is healthy and producing enough thyroid hormones. Research finds that a simple TSH test is enough to identify hypothyroidism in 99.6% of the tests performed.

You may have heard of expanded or full thyroid panels, which often include tests for TSH, total T3, total T4, free T3, free T4, anti-TPO antibodies, thyroglobulin, and reverse T3. There is no evidence these extra tests help to diagnose and manage thyroid disease, although they definitely add to health care costs. Proponents of expanded thyroid analysis believe more data may support a personalized intervention plan. However, what happens in a lab test often fails to mirror the elaborate dance of hormones in the body. Additionally, findings are highly variable. What happens in your body today may change in a matter of days or weeks, even without significant interventions.

How Is Subclinical Hypothyroidism Diagnosed

Thyroid values like TSH are measured in blood tests. Because a single test can be misleading, a second test is usually done 2 or 3 months later. In both tests, the blood is taken at the same time of day because TSH levels can fluctuate over the course of 24 hours. Subclinical hypothyroidism is diagnosed when both TSH readings are high but the thyroid hormone thyroxine is still within the normal range.

Experts don’t agree on which TSH levels should be considered too high. Some suggest that TSH levels of over 2.5 milliunits per liter are abnormal, while others consider levels of TSH to be too high only after they have reached 4 to 5 mU/L.

Both children and teenagers as well as older people have somewhat higher TSH levels than middle-aged people. Because of this, thyroid specialists have been debating whether a higher threshold should be used for these age groups. Being severely overweight and certain medications can also increase TSH. TSH levels are likely to fluctuate more during pregnancy.

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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

How Long Does It Take To Treat Hyperthyroidism

New Thyroid Genetic and Blood Tests  Purehealth Clinic

The amount of time it takes to treat hyperthyroidism can change depending on what caused the condition. If your healthcare provider treats your condition with anti-thyroid medications your hormone levels should drop to a controllable level in about six to 12 weeks. Your healthcare provider may decide to give you high doses of iodine drops which would normalize thyroid levels in seven to 10 days. However, this is short-term solution and you will most likely need a more permanent solution like surgery. Though you may need to wait for a period of time to be scheduled for thyroid surgery , this is a very effective and definitive way to treat hyperthyroidism. Its considered a permanent solution for hyperthyroidism.

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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.

Does Thyroxine Treatment Have Side Effects

No good-quality research is available on the side effects of treating subclinical hypothyroidism with thyroxine, but it’s 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 it’s too high though, side effects can’t be ruled out. Possible side effects include heart problems like or a racing heartbeat.

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Hypothyroidism Vs Hyperthyroidism: Whats The Difference

Were you recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism? If so, youre likely aware your bodys thyroid gland is underactive. And youre probably all too familiar with some of the associated symptoms like tiredness, constipation, and forgetfulness. These symptoms are frustrating. But with the right treatment plan, they can become manageable.

Questions For Your Doctor About Test Results

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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?

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What Tpo Antibody Levels Indicate

When TPO antibody levels are found in profuse amounts in your blood, itâs a red flag that your thyroid gland may be malfunctioning because of an autoimmune disorder. Not everyone with high TPOab levels has a badly-working thyroid gland, but elevated levels are commonly seen in individuals with autoimmune thyroid diseases, such as Hashimotoâs thyroiditis.

What Are T3 And Ft3

Triiodothyronine is usually referred to as T3 and is one of the hormones that the thyroid secretes. Doctors from the American Association for Clinical Chemistry say that T3 is more active than the more abundant T4 and is a powerful thyroid hormone in the body. Free T3 is the amount of triiodothyronine that is not bound to protein and can still be used by the body. Doctors sometimes run tests for total T3 or just FT3 to check thyroid function.3

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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?

High Tsh But Normal Free T4

5 Causes of Your High TSH in Woman (Hypothyroidism)

What does it mean if your TSH levels are too high but you have normal FT4?

The journal American Family Physician says that levels of TSH over 4.0 mIU/L and free T4 levels within the normal range could be an indicator of subclinical hypothyroidism. This means that a person is at risk of developing hypothyroidism but is not yet showing any noticeable symptoms.12

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What Are Clinical Trials And Are They Right For You

Clinical trials are part of clinical research and at the heart of all medical advances. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Researchers also use clinical trials to look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses. Find out if clinical trials are right for you.

Testing T3 In The Serum/blood

Now that you understand the symptoms of high T3, it’s time to talk about how to actually go about testing for it.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above then you will want to get these tests:


  • Serum Free T3
  • Serum Total T3


These two tests help you understand exactly how much T3 is floating around in your body, but each tells you slightly different information.

The amount of free T3 circulating in your body is a measure of how much hormone is free and active.

Most hormones circulate in your bloodstream bound to certain proteins which inactive them until a certain time and place.

If the hormone is “free”, it means that it is not bound to a protein and it is immediately available to be used by your body.

In endocrinology, we almost always prefer to look at free hormones because this measurement has more meaning then understanding the “total” amount of hormone available.

But this doesn’t mean that the other test, total T3, is any less important!

Total T3 gives you information about the total amount of T3 available in the body .

In this way, total T3 provides a more stable measurement of T3 in your body at any given time.

Free T3 tends to fluctuate on a daily, hour to hour basis while total T3 tends to be more stable over time.

Both tests are important, however, which is why you generally wouldn’t want to test one without also looking at the other.

Reverse T3 is a byproduct created when your body is not able to produce ENOUGH T3.

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