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Thyroid disorders are very common. Approximately 20 million people in the US have a thyroid disease. Thyroid disorders are more prevalent in women than in men (5 to 8 times greater) and about 12% of the population will develop a thyroid condition during their lives. Due to their prevalence, thyroid screening is often ordered during a routine lab work as part of physical or checkup.
The TSH (Thyroid-stimulating hormone) test is considered the test of choice when screening for thyroid disease and evaluating thyroid function. This test measures the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in the blood and helps diagnose hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).
Thyroid-stimulating hormone, or TSH, is produced by the pituitary gland. TSH facilitates the production of two hormones produced by the thyroid, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones are essential for regulating the body’s metabolism. If too little or too much TSH is produced, this will result in inappropriate amounts of T3 or T4 causing thyroid dysfunction.
A TSH test is also administered when a thyroid condition is suspected or a person is displaying possible symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Since symptoms of thyroid disease can be vague, a thyroid test is the only way to diagnose these conditions.
- Increased heart rate
- Weight loss
- Tremors in hands
- Difficulty sleeping
- Diarrhea (sometimes)
- Weight gain
- Dry skin
- Inability to tolerate cold
- Menstrual irregularity (women)
Why Do I Need It?
Thyroid disorders are very common and may be causing symptoms that can be disruptive from fatigue, depression and weight gain to rapid heart rate, anxiety and weight loss. If you are experiencing unpleasant metabolic changes the TSH Thyroid Test is a simple way to identify or rule out thyroid disorders.
Understanding TSH Test Results
Normal Range: 0.4-4.2 mcU/ml (or mU/L)
If TSH test results return out of range, a doctor can help establish a diagnosis. Additional thyroid testing is often ordered to gain a more thorough understanding of the person’s thyroid function. Tests for T3 and T4, two additional thyroid hormones, are usually ordered with a TSH test or after receiving out-of-range results.