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A TSH test is done to find out if your thyroid gland is working the way it should. It can tell you if it’s overactive (hyperthyroidism) or underactive (hypothyroidism). The test can also detect a thyroid disorder before you have any symptoms. If untreated, a thyroid disorder can cause health problems. TSH stands for “thyroid stimulating hormone” and the test measures how much of this hormone is in your blood. TSH is produced by the pituitary gland in your brain. This gland tells your thyroid to make and release the thyroid hormones into your blood. The Test The TSH test involves simply drawing some blood from your body. The blood will then be analyzed in a lab. This test can be performed at any time during the day. No preparation is needed (such as overnight fasting). You shouldn’t feel any pain beyond a small prick from the needle in your arm. You may have some slight bruising. In general, there is no need to stop taking your medicine(s) before having your TSH level checked. However, it is important to let the doctor know what medications you are taking as some drugs can affect thyroid function. For example, thyroid function must be monitored if you are taking lithium. While taking lithium, there is a high chance that your thyroid might stop functioning correctly. It's recommended that you have a TSH level test before starting this medicine. If your levels are normal, then you can have your levels checked every 6 to 12 months, as recommended by your doctor. If your thyroid function becomes abnormal, you should be treated. High Levels of TSH TSH levels typically fall between 0.4 and 4.0 milliunits per liter (mU/L), according to the American Thyroid Association. Ranges between laboratories will vary with the upper limit generally being between 4 to 5. If your level is higher than this, chances are you have an underactive thyroid. In general, T3 and T4 levels increase in pregnancy and TSH levels decrease. Low Levels of TSH It's also possible that the test reading comes back showing lower than normal levels of TSH and an overactive thyroid. This could be caused by: Graves’ disease (your body’s immune system attacks the thyroid) Too much iodine in your body Too much thyroid hormone medication Too much of a natural supplement that contains the thyroid hormone If you're on medications like steroids, dopamine, or opioid painkillers (like morphine), you could get a lower-than-normal reading. Taking biotin (B vitamin supplements) also can falsely give lower TSH levels. The TSH test usually isn’t the only one used to diagnose thyroid disorders. Other tests, like the free T3, the free T4, the reverse T3, and the anti-TPO antibody, are often used too when determining whether you need thyroid treatment or not. Treatment Treatment for an underactive thyroid usually involves taking a synthetic thyroid hormone by pill daily. This medication will get your hormone levels back to normal, and you may begin to feel less tired and lose weight. To make sure you're getting the right dosage of medication, your doctor will check your TSH levels after 2 or 3 months. Once they are sure you are on the correct dosage, they will continue to check your TSH level each year to see whether it is normal. If your thyroid is overactive, there are several options: Radioactive iodine to slow down your thyroid Anti-thyroid medications to prevent it from overproducing hormones Beta blockers to reduce a rapid heart rate caused by high thyroid levels Surgery to remove the thyroid (this is less common) Your doctor may also regularly check your TSH levels if you have an overactive thyroid. From https://www.webmd.com/women/what-is-tsh-test
The pituitary gland works hard to keep you healthy, doing everything from ensuring proper bone and muscle growth to helping nursing mothers produce milk for their babies. Its functionality is even more remarkable when you consider the gland is the size of a pea. “The pituitary is commonly referred to as the ‘master’ gland because it does so many important jobs in the body,” says Karen Frankwich, MD, a board-certified endocrinologist at Mission Hospital. “Not only does the pituitary make its own hormones, but it also triggers hormone production in other glands. The pituitary is aided in its job by the hypothalamus. This part of the brain is situated above the pituitary, and sends messages to the gland on when to release or stimulate production of necessary hormones.” These hormones include: Growth hormone, for healthy bone and muscle mass Thyroid-stimulating hormone, which signals the thyroid to produce its hormones that govern metabolism and the body’s nervous system, among others Follicle-stimulating and luteinizing hormones for healthy reproductive systems (including ovarian egg development in women and sperm formation in men, as well as estrogen and testosterone production) Prolactin, for breast milk production in nursing mothers Adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), which prompts the adrenal glands to produce the stress hormone cortisol. The proper amount of cortisol helps the body adapt to stressful situations by affecting the immune and nervous systems, blood sugar levels, blood pressure and metabolism. Antidiuretic (ADH), which helps the kidneys control urine levels Oxytocin, which can stimulate labor in pregnant women The work of the pituitary gland can be affected by non-cancerous tumors called adenomas. “These tumors can affect hormone production, so you have too little or too much of a certain hormone,” Dr. Frankwich says. “Larger tumors that are more than 1 centimeter, called macroadenomas, can also put pressure on the area surrounding the gland, which can lead to vision problems and headaches. Because symptoms can vary depending on the hormone that is affected by a tumor, or sometimes there are no symptoms, adenomas can be difficult to pinpoint. General symptoms can include nausea, weight loss or gain, sluggishness or weakness, and changes in menstruation for women and sex drive for men.” If there’s a suspected tumor, a doctor will usually run tests on a patient’s blood and urine, and possibly order a brain-imaging scan. An endocrinologist can help guide a patient on the best course of treatment, which could consist of surgery, medication, radiation therapy or careful monitoring of the tumor if it hasn’t caused major disruption. “The pituitary gland is integral to a healthy, well-functioning body in so many ways,” Dr. Frankwich says. “It may not be a major organ you think about much, but it’s important to know how it works, and how it touches on so many aspects of your health.” Adapted from http://www.stjhs.org/HealthCalling/2016/December/The-Pituitary-Gland-Small-but-Mighty.aspx
Updates on Treating Hypothyroidism Dr. Theodore Friedman will be giving a webinar on Updates on Treating Hypothyroidism. Topics to be discussed include: New articles showing patients prefer desiccated thyroid New thyroid hormone preparations Update on desiccated thyroid recalls New article on why TSH is less important than thyroid hormone measurements What is the difference between desiccated thyroid and synthetic thyroid hormones? Is rT3 important? Sunday • April 25• 6 PM PDT Via Zoom Click here to join the meeting or https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4209687343?pwd=amw4UzJLRDhBRXk1cS9ITU02V1pEQT09 OR +16699006833,,4209687343#,,,,*111116# Slides will be available before the webinar and recording after the meeting at slides Meeting ID: 420 968 7343 Passcode: 111116 Your phone/computer will be muted on entry. There will be plenty of time for questions using the chat button. For more information, email us at email@example.com