TSH, or Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone, is produced in the thyroid gland. This hormone helps the body use energy efficiently and makes sure that every organ of the body is functioning well. Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone tests are done to determine the TSH levels in the body, which helps determine if the thyroid glands are working correctly.
TSH also plays an essential role in helping regulate body temperature, weight, mood and muscle strength. Drastic fluctuations in the TSH test serve as a warning sign for physicians to help treat the patient before the onset of more severe symptoms.
If the TSH levels are very high, it indicates that the thyroid hormone is not being produced enough by the glands, whereas if the levels are too low, it means there is excess production of the thyroid-stimulating hormone. Both cases are not ideal for normal body functioning; hence TSH levels need to be monitored to keep the thyroid glands in check.
Where is TSH produced?
Thyroid-stimulating hormone is produced by the pituitary gland, which is a part of the brain. The thyroid is a small gland shaped like a butterfly located below the adam’s apple, at the front of the neck. The pituitary gland dictates the release of thyroid hormones into your bloodstream through the thyroid gland.
What is a TSH test?
A TSH test measures the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone in the body. This test can be taken at any time of the day and does not require prior preparation like stopping your regular medication or overnight fasting. However, the doctor performing the test needs to be informed about the intake of medications, if any.
What are TSH levels?
Typically, normal TSH levels are between 0.4 and 4.0 mU/L. İf, the TSH test shows that the level of TSH in the blood is more than this range, which means that the thyroid gland is inactive or underactive. This condition is called Hyperthyroidism, which causes the body’s metabolism to speed up.
On the other hand, if the TSH levels are lower than the typical range, it can mean that the thyroid gland is overactive. This condition is called Hypothyroidism, which causes a slow metabolism rate in the person suffering from it.
What are the different causes of thyroid diseases?
There are two types of thyroid diseases, and the causes for each can differ.
Causes of Hypothyroidism:
- Iodine deficiency: Since the thyroid gland needs iodine to produce the thyroid hormones, a lack of iodine in the body can cause Hypothyroidism.
- Thyroiditis: This condition causes an inflamed thyroid gland which is the result of an autoimmune disease or a viral infection.
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: It is an autoimmune disease that makes the body fight the thyroid hormones that are being produced. This causes a drastic decrease in the body’s ability to produce thyroid hormones.
- Postpartum thyroiditis: It is a form of temporary thyroiditis that occurs in women after giving birth.
Causes of Hyperthyroidism:
- Excess iodine: When the body has a lot of iodine, it can cause the thyroid gland to produce more than the normal range of thyroid.
- Thyroiditis: It causes an inflamed thyroid gland which produces an excess of thyroid hormones but soon triggers the onset of Hypothyroidism because the gland can no longer produce the hormones.
- Thyroid nodules: The main symptom of this disease is the formation of a lump in the thyroid gland. When the lump becomes too big, they tend to become overactive and produce many thyroid hormones.
- Graves disease: The thyroid glands increase in size and produce an excess of the thyroid hormones.
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