The thyroid hormones namely triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) are metabolism regulators in the human body. They also help in protein synthesis, bone growth and help to overcome neural growth disorders. It is observed that they also control body temperature. If the thyroid glands produce more hormones, the body temperature increases.
What is TSH?
There is a stimulating hormone that is produced by the pituitary gland in one’s brain. This is known as thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). This hormone instructs the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormone into one’s bloodstream.
The TSH test is conducted using a blood sample. No patient preparation is needed for the same. If the subject under test is under medical treatment already, it is mandatory to mention this to the doctor as the other drug’s chemical composition can affect the TSH test results. The result of the TSH level in blood is measured and according to the American Thyroid Association, the levels are differentiated.
What are the Normal TSH Levels?
The normal weighing adult male should have a TSH in-between 0.4 to 4 mU/L. The TSH level depends on factors like age, sex, weight, menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and lifestyle. Other factors include:
- Stress is a constant reason for increased TSH levels.
- A recent study has found that dietary irregularity too can affect TSH levels.
- TSH levels of thyroid hormone production are inversely proportional. If one’s TSH is high, it refers that the body is not producing enough thyroid hormone. This medical condition is known as hypothyroidism.
- Similarly, if the TSH levels are very less, the body is producing more thyroid hormone than required. This medical condition is known as hyperthyroidism.
- High or low levels of TSH hormone in men can affect their fertility. Any imbalance in thyroid hormone in men can result in complications like irregular genital development that can require thyroid hormone replacement therapy.
Is a TSH Level Limit for Women Different?
- In women, for the ones below 30 years of age, the normal TSH level should be between 0.4 to 2.4 mU/L.
- Those aged between 30 to 50, the TSH level should be 0.4 to 4.0 mU/L and for the ladies who are above 50, the TSH level can be anywhere between 0.46 to 4.68 mu/L.
- Since women have a different biological cycle from men, their TSH level upper limits vary.
- Also, it has been observed that during menstruation and menopause the TSH levels vary to a great extent.
- Research has observed that women are more prone to thyroid problems than men.
Symptoms of Thyroid Problems
Based on TSH levels, doctors can diagnose diseases like hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Before one consults the doctor, a few symptoms indicate the distorted activity of the thyroid gland. For example:
- Bulging eyes
- Increased hunger
- High sensitivity to heat
- Muscular fatigue
- Irregularity in the menstrual cycle
- Weight gain/ weight loss
- Hair growth on the face
- Thyroid gland enlargement
If one is observing any such persistent symptoms, they can consult an endocrinologist and get the hormone test done. Apart from hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, one can even identify other problems like inflammation of the gland.