The purpose of the TSH test
Diagnose and monitor thyroid disorders and to monitor the treatment of under-active or hyper-active thyroid.
What is Thyroid?
Thyroid is a relatively small gland about five inches in width located at the front of the neck below the Adam’s apple. Thyroid gland produces two major thyroid hormones, thyroxin T3 and T4 Triiodotironina. These hormones affect heart rate, cholesterol, body metabolism, body weight, memory, energy level, and more. Most common problems related to the thyroid gland are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
In order to understand the thyroid functions you must also get to know the hormone TSH that is secreted from the pituitary gland (a small organ located below the brain) that affects the secretion of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland. That is, TSH is a hormone released by the pituitary gland and stimulates the thyroid gland to secrete the hormones T4 and T3. When hormone levels are rising, TSH level drops, and vice versa: when the level is too low the level of TSH rises.
The Thyroid TSH Blood Test Explained
TSH blood test checks the amount of TSH hormone in your blood. When the function of the pituitary gland is impaired, then the blood level of TSH hormone will be too high or too low. TSH blood test is usually used for evaluating thyroid function and is often held with other tests such as measuring thyroid hormones T4 and T3.
You will need to stop taking drugs that may affect the test results, according to your physician requirements. Drugs that can affect TSH blood test are: Amiodarone, anti- thyroid (Ant thyroid drugs), Dopamine, lithium, potassium iodide, prednisone, and more.
Do you need to fast before TSH test?
No, you don’t need to fast before you do TSH lab test.
How long Does it take to preform TSH test?
When looking at the TSH blood test, blood taking it-self takes a few minutes. Then the blood is sent to the laboratory and the time it would take the results to be sent to you are based on Laboratory testing availability and the efficiency of your Medical Center.
Are there any Risks regarding the TSH Blood Test?
The TSH blood test is usually performed by taking a blood sample from a vein in your arm, this procedure is not dangerous but in any blood test you have a little risk to it. First, it may be difficult for the person who takes blood to find a suitable vein for drawing blood. After taking blood there are slim chances for the occurrence of the following: excessive bleeding, puncture fainting or feeling dizzy, hematoma (blood accumulated under the skin) and infection (which is a common risk in any case of open wounds).
How Frequent Is TSH Test preformed?
TSH blood test is not performed routinely. Family doctor recommends TSH blood test after the patients’ complaints raise suspicion of an imbalance in thyroid functions, might be a case of under-active or over- active thyroid gland.
You might take more TSH level test when it is necessary to monitor thyroid function among people treated by hormone replacement thyroid – Levothyroxine. TSH blood test is also performed for tracking fertility problems in women, to examine the functions of the thyroid gland in infants and more.
How to read and understand TSH Test results?
Normal TSH blood test results are in between 0.2 to 4.7 mcU / ml.
Elevated TSH levels-
Elevated TSH levels in the blood can cause the thyroid gland to produce more hormones T4 and T3, and the person will suffer from symptoms of excessive thyroid activity, such as rapid heart rate, weight loss, nervousness, tremors of hands, difficulty sleeping, acne and more. Result of high TSH blood test also means that sometimes the thyroid gland is not preforming properly due to a particular problem. Above normal test results can also indicate a problem with the pituitary gland that produces excess TSH.
Below normal TSH level-
Below normal level of TSH hormone causes symptoms such as weight gain, dry skin, constipation, fatigue and more. Low TSH blood test levels can indicate an overactive thyroid. Rarely low level of TSH also points to a problem in the pituitary gland.
It is important to know that many drugs such as aspirin may affect test results. Also, extreme stress or acute illness can affect the results as well.
We reccommend you test thyroid functions at the comfort of you own home
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