The thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is produced by the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain and is responsible for regulating the number of hormones released by the thyroid. The thyroid is an important gland located in the front of the neck. One should not confuse the hormones released by the thyroid to be TSH. The thyroid releases three hormones: triiodothyronine, thyroxine, and calcitonin. The thyroid is responsible for controlling several bodily functions such as metabolism and growth. This is regulated through the release of these hormones. The pituitary gland and the thyroid work hand in hand as more TSH produced by the pituitary gland will lead to the release of more hormones by the thyroid.
What is the Normal TSH Range?
If this system is disrupted, an inappropriate number of hormones is regenerated and released into the body, which may lead to complications and several symptoms. The normal range of TSH in the body is between 0.4 to 4.0 milliunits per liter. If you are already being treated for a thyroid-related problem, you should know that normal TSH levels are 0.5 to 3.0 milliunits per liter. A TSH test is conducted to determine the cause of this disruption and the underlying factors resulting in its onset. It is also used to determine whether the thyroid is overactive or underactive. The measurement of the level of TSH in the blood enables doctors to determine the functioning condition of the thyroid.
Why is a TSH Test Performed?
A TSH test may be prescribed by your doctor if you are displaying the symptoms of a thyroid disorder. The overactive or underactive nature of the thyroid in this condition leads to the categorization of its related diseases as either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism takes place when the thyroid produces too few of its primary hormones. You might experience several symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, and difficulty in concentrating. This may lead to your doctor asking you to take a TSH test. When the thyroid is not producing enough hormones, the pituitary gland produces more TSH which disrupts the TSH normal range. Here are a few of the most common causes of hypothyroidism:
Thyroiditis is a condition that leads to the inflammation of the thyroid gland. It is caused due to either an autoimmune disease or a viral infection. This condition hampers the ability of the thyroid to produce enough hormones and eventually leads to the onset of hypothyroidism.
- Hashimoto’s Disease
This is an autoimmune condition that causes the body to fight against its own thyroid cells and attack it. The thyroid is unable to produce enough hormones and may lead to hypothyroidism. The strange thing about this condition is that it often does not cause any symptoms. It may take several years before any significant damage is noticed.
- Iodine Deficiency
Iodine deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism as well, as the thyroid uses iodine to produce hormones.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid produces too many hormones. This leads to the metabolism rate speeding up and the pituitary gland producing less TSH to compensate for the excess hormones in the system. This disrupts the TSH normal range. The symptoms of this condition include an increased appetite, anxiety issues and a difficulty in sleeping. Here are a few of the most common causes of the condition:
- Graves’ Disease
This disorder is one of the most common disorders resulting in hypothyroidism. The thyroid increases in size and produces more hormones. The condition shares many similarities to hyperthyroidism and often contributes to the eventual development of the disease.
While thyroiditis primarily results in hypothyroidism, it may lead to hyperthyroidism in the short term. The inflammation caused to the thyroid may lead to the excessive production of hormones, causing the thyroid to release them at one go.
- Excess Iodine
While having too little iodine in the body may lead to hypothyroidism, having too much of it may also lead to hyperthyroidism. This may be caused due to the intake of medicine that contains iodine, over a long time. There are several cough syrups that have iodine in them.
Once the test has been conducted and a thyroid condition is detected, the treatment is quite easy. The goal is to establish normal hormone levels and maintain TSH normal range. There are several thyroid hormone pills available in the market, and your doctor will recommend which medication will suit you best, depending on whether you are suffering from hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. You should start to feel better within a few weeks while it may take a couple months to recover completely and restore the normal TSH levels.