Thyroid-stimulating hormone(TSH) is a tiny butterfly-like hormone that is situated near your throat. It produces hormones that are responsible for regulating how your body utilizes energy. The thyroid also performs an essential function in regulating body temperature, muscle strength, weight, or mood. TSH is formed in a gland within the brain known as the pituitary. When your thyroid levels decrease, the pituitary gland produces a lot of TSH, while when they increase, the gland produces less TSH. Higher or lower levels of TSH may indicate poor functionality of your thyroid.
A TSH test is carried out to determine whether your thyroid gland is working effectively by indicating overactive (hyperthyroidism) or hyperactive (hypothyroidism). The test can also be used to detect a thyroid condition before experiencing any symptoms, which, if not managed, can lead to health issues. A TSH test comprises getting a blood sample from your body, which is then examined in a laboratory. The test can be carried out any time of the day, and you do not require to do any preparations such as fasting overnight. You will only experience a tiny prick from your arm and not much pain, and you may also get minor bruising.
Generally, it would be best to stop utilizing your drugs before performing the TSH test. However, it is crucial to inform your doctor of your medications, as some may interfere with the thyroid’s functionality. A good example is lithium, whereby you should monitor your thyroid function if you take it. It is because utilization of lithium increases the chances of your thyroid stopping to work correctly. If your thyroid levels are in check, you can examine them for 6-12 months as advised by your doctor. In case your thyroid starts functioning abnormally, then it should be treated.
Patterns of Thyroid Tests Related to Thyroid Diseases
Primary hypothyroidism is one of the conditions that take place when the thyroid gland produces few thyroid hormones. Its symptoms involve constipation, feeling cold, slowed thinking, weight gain, and reduced energy. Causes of primary hypothyroidism are:
- Removal of the entire or a section of the thyroid gland
- Autoimmune thyroid condition comprising Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Injury of the thyroid caused by radiation
- Thyroid gland dysfunction caused by medication such as cancer immunotherapy
You should note that TSH levels in older persons are generally higher compared to levels in younger individuals.
Primary hyperthyroidism is another disease that occurs when the thyroid gland releases increased levels of thyroid hormones. Its symptoms are restlessness, tremors, feeling too warm, palpitations, unplanned weight loss, disrupted sleep, and frequent bowel movements. Thyroiditis is also a condition known as thyroid inflammation which leads to injury of the thyroid gland and production of the thyroid hormone. People suffering from thyroiditis typically experience a short period of hyperthyroidism accompanied by resolution or the development of hypothyroidism. Your endocrinologist will observe your thyroid tests during the condition and help to indicate whether you require short and long-term interventions to manage any symptoms.
Central hypothyroidism is also a thyroid condition that may show a pituitary condition. The diagnosis of this disease should elicit your doctor to examine other issues in another pituitary hormone, the leading cause, and imaging tests to examine the pituitary gland. It is generally caused by conditions of the pituitary gland-like pituitary tumor and pituitary inflammation. It is managed with thyroid replacement. The doctor should examine the lack of stress hormone cortisol to inhibit an adrenal crisis before thyroid treatment.
Levothyroxine is the standard of treatment in thyroid hormone replacement therapy and management of hypothyroidism. For optimum absorption of your thyroid drugs, they should be consumed with water at the same time every day. Various medications and supplements reduce the intake of the thyroid hormone. Therefore, they should be taken within 3-4 hours apart, comprising iron and calcium supplements, soy, proton pump inhibitors, and multivitamins with minerals. Pregnant women should be treated with levothyroxine (T4) only. It is because it effectively crosses the placenta to offer thyroid hormone to the growing placenta.
Rare Causes of Abnormal Thyroid Function
- Germ cell tumors
- Iodine induced hyperthyroidism
- Trophoblastic disease
- Thyroid hormone resistance
- Infiltrative conditions
Despite blood examinations to test TSH and thyroid hormones being extensively available, it is significant to understand that not all hormones tests are essential in all experiences. It is because various aspects such as supplements, medications, and non-thyroid medical diseases may interfere with your thyroid test findings. However, an endocrinologist should assist you in understanding your thyroid test results when there is an issue between how you feel and your results. If you require any help, call us today at 205-352-9141.