Understanding Your Thyroid Blood Test Results
The TSH test is the "gold standard" in diagnosing and monitoring thyroid disease, but as with any medical test, there are exceptions and variations to what the test may mean, as well as situations in which the test may be inaccurate. If your TSH levels don't seem to reflect how you are feeling, speak up. Even a "normal" TSH may be abnormal for you. Jun 17, · Your doctor may order a blood test to check your body’s levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). The amount of TSH circulating in your bloodstream indicates how well your thyroid gland is functioning. TSH levels that are too high or too low can tell your doctor if you have a thyroid disorder or not. Learn more about what normal, high and low TSH levels mean.
TSH stands for thyroid what is writ in law hormone. A TSH test is a blood test that measures this hormone. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located near your throat.
Your thyroid makes hormones that regulate the way your body uses energy. It also plays an important role in regulating your weight, body temperature, muscle strength, and even your mood. TSH is made in a gland in the brain called the pituitary.
When thyroid levels in your body are meanign, the pituitary gland makes more TSH. When thyroid levels are high, the pituitary gland makes less TSH. TSH levels that are too high or too low can indicate your thyroid isn't working correctly. You may need a TSH test if you have symptoms of too much thyroid hormone in your blood hyperthyroidismor too little thyroid hormone hypothyroidism.
A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes. You don't need any special preparations for a TSH blood test. If your health care provider has ordered other blood tests, you may need to fast not eat or drink for several hours before the test.
Your health care provider will let you know if there are any special instructions to follow. There is very little risk to having a blood test. Oof may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly. 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.
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:. Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, fo understanding results. Thyroid changes can happen during pregnancy.
These changes are usually not significant, but some women can develop thyroid disease during pregnancy. Hyperthyroidism occurs in about one in every pregnancies, while hypothyroidism occurs in approximately one in every pregnancies. Hyperthyroidism, and what is the meaning of tsh test often, hypothyroidism, may remain after pregnancy.
If you develop a thyroid condition during pregnancy, your health care provider will monitor your condition after your baby is born.
If you have a history of thyroid disease, be sure to talk with your health care provider if you are pregnant or are thinking of mwaning pregnant. The medical information provided is for informational purposes only, and is not to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please contact your health care provider with questions you may have regarding medical conditions or the interpretation of test results.
TSH Thyroid-stimulating hormone Test. What is a TSH test? Other names: thyrotropin test. What is it used for? A TSH test how to use nokia lumia 510 used to find out how well the thyroid is working. Why do I need a TSH test?
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism, also known as overactive thyroid, include: Anxiety Weight loss Tremors in the hands Increased heart rate Puffiness Bulging of the eyes Difficulty sleeping Symptoms of hypothyroidism, also known as underactive thyroid, include: Weight gain Tiredness Hair loss Low tolerance for cold temperatures Irregular menstrual periods Constipation.
What happens during a TSH test? Tsn I need to do anything to prepare for the test? Are there any risks to the test? What do the results mean? These tests may include: T4 thyroid hormone tests T3 thyroid hormone tests Tests to diagnose Graves' disease, an autoimmune disease that causes hyperthyroidism Tests to diagnose Hashimoto's thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease that causes hypothyroidism Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.
Is there anything else Us need to know about a TSH test? References American Thyroid Association [Internet]. Thyroid Disease and Pregnancy; [cited Mar 15]; [about 2 screens]. Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone, Serum; p. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. Washington D. Overview of the Thyroid Gland; [cited Mar 15]; [about 2 screens]. Bethesda MD : Tye. In the event of a medical emergency, call immediately.
What is it used for?
Oct 25, · The thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test measures the amount of TSH in the blood. The results convey how well the thyroid is functioning. Doctors can use TSH test results to diagnose thyroid. Dec 05, · The Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test is often the test of choice for evaluating thyroid function and/or symptoms of a thyroid disorder, including hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. TSH is produced by the pituitary gland, a tiny organ located below the brain and behind the sinus cavities.
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Measure ad performance. Select basic ads. Create a personalised ads profile. Select personalised ads. Apply market research to generate audience insights. Measure content performance. Develop and improve products. List of Partners vendors. It's important to understand the meaning and possible causes of both high thyroid stimulating hormone TSH and low TSH, whether you have been living with thyroid disease for a long time or are only having the test to screen for a thyroid disorder.
A high TSH level can mean a new diagnosis of hypothyroidism or inadequate thyroid replacement. A low TSH might mean hyperthyroidism or overtreatment of hypothyroidism. That said, there are exceptions to these interpretations, as well as what a "normal" level may be for you. TSH—short for thyroid-stimulating hormone—is a pituitary hormone that acts as a messenger to the thyroid gland. When released by the pituitary gland, it stimulates the production of more thyroid hormone.
TSH levels are confusing and not necessarily intuitive. For example, many people question why high TSH levels can mean the thyroid is underactive and low TSH levels can mean it's overactive. Understanding exactly how the thyroid gland works can help.
Your thyroid gland produces thyroid hormone. When it functions properly, your thyroid is part of a feedback loop with your pituitary gland that involves several key steps:.
Once you understand these thyroid basics, it's easier to understand what a low TSH and a high TSH reveal about your thyroid's function. The normal range for TSH is between 0. As with most medical conditions and tests, however, there are exceptions to this rule.
It's also important to note that normal thyroid levels may be abnormal for you. For example, a TSH greater than 3. While most laboratories define a normal TSH as between roughly 0. In addition, some physicians believe older patients should have a higher TSH for example, greater than 4. Some of this controversy can be averted by doctors simply looking at each person as an individual.
For example, a person who still has significant symptoms of hypothyroidism at a TSH of 4. In contrast, someone who has health risks such as heart disease or osteoporosis may benefit from having a goal TSH that is higher perhaps 5.
In pregnancy, TSH should not be allowed to rise above 3. A high TSH means different things depending on whether a person has known thyroid disease or not. A high TSH in people who are not undergoing thyroid disease treatment usually indicates the presence of primary hypothyroidism.
This is by far the most common form of hypothyroidism and occurs because the thyroid gland produces an inadequate amount of thyroid hormones. An elevated TSH may also occur with normal thyroid function due to the presence of antibodies and more. A high TSH may be found in people being treated for either hypo- or hyperthyroidism. With hypothyroidism, a high TSH usually means that the dose of thyroid hormone needs to be increased.
In some cases, however, the dose is optimal, but the medication is not fully absorbed. Many foods and medications can affect levothyroxine, and it's important to learn how to properly take thyroid hormones. With hyperthyroidism, a high TSH usually means that the treatment whether surgery, radioactive iodine, or medications was effective in turning off the overproduction of thyroid hormone, and that a person has now become hypothyroid.
A low TSH often, but not always, means that a person has an elevated level of thyroid hormones. While often associated with hyperthyroidism, a low TSH could also be a sign of central hypothyroidism.
In people being treated for hypothyroidism, a low TSH level may mean:. In people being treated for hyperthyroidism, a low TSH level usually means that further treatment is needed to reduce thyroid hormone levels or that a person must continue to be monitored to make sure thyroid hormone levels return to normal such as in cases of transient thyroiditis related to pregnancy or chemotherapy treatment. There are a number of variations and factors that can affect TSH levels. It's important to be aware of these, as treatment that is dictated solely by lab values as opposed to also considering an individual's symptoms can result in an ineffective plan.
If a TSH level is surprising, sometimes simply repeating the test is the best course. Errors can occur during the blood draw, in transcribing the results, or due to mix-ups in the lab. Statistically, there is always a risk of lab error, and results should always be interpreted along with clinical symptoms and findings.
Antibodies are thought to interfere with accurate thyroid testing in roughly 1 percent of people. A number of other factors can affect TSH test results either through having an effect on actual levels of thyroid hormones or interacting with testing measures.
Some of these include:. In order to get the most accurate results, it's important to be consistent. For example, always having your test done at the same time of day. A somewhat controversial test available some places uses fingerprick rather than venous blood draw samples to evaluate thyroid function.
Since the test is not currently widely available, it's unknown exactly how well the test compares with conventional TSH testing. During diagnosis, most doctors use the TSH test to evaluate thyroid function and determine the optimal course of treatment.
There are times, however, when a TSH is or may be insufficient. For instance, free T4 in addition to TSH is usually tested if a doctor suspects thyroid dysfunction arising from disease of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus. TSH is also not necessarily sufficient to monitor hypothyroidism during pregnancy , and a T4 and free T4 are often recommended. Depending on the clinical situation, other thyroid tests that may be evaluated include triiodothyronine T3 , free T3, reverse T3 , and thyroid antibody tests.
The TSH test is the "gold standard" in diagnosing and monitoring thyroid disease, but as with any medical test, there are exceptions and variations to what the test may mean, as well as situations in which the test may be inaccurate. If your TSH levels don't seem to reflect how you are feeling, speak up.
Even a "normal" TSH may be abnormal for you. Losing weight with thyroid disease can be a struggle. Our thyroid-friendly meal plan can help. Sign up and get yours free!
Sheehan MT. Clin Med Res. Guidelines of the American Thyroid Association for the diagnosis and management of thyroid disease during pregnancy and postpartum. Chaker L.
Drugs R D. De Leo S. Ross DS. Pitfalls in the measurement and interpretation of thyroid function tests. Does fasting or postprandial state affect thyroid function testing? Indian J Endocrinol Metab. The use of filter paper-dried blood spots for thyroid-antibody screening in adults. J Lab Clin Med. Barbesino, G. Favresse, J. Endocrine Reviews. Srichomkwun, P. Your Privacy Rights. To change or withdraw your consent choices for VerywellHealth.
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A high TSH suggests your thyroid is underactive hypothyroid and not doing its job of producing enough thyroid hormone.