Overview of TSH
TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone is also known by the names thyrotropin and thyrotropin. A TSH test is a blood hormone test which helps in measuring the amount of thyrotropin in the body. The thyroid gland is responsible for the production of hormones which regulates several body mechanisms like weight control, energy utilization, body temperature, mood control, and muscle strength.
TSH is formed in a pituitary gland located in the brain. When the thyroid levels in your body get low, the pituitary gland initiates more TSH release. When the thyroid levels reach so high, then the pituitary gland decreases or finally stops TSH release. High TSH levels indicate that the thyroid gland is not working properly.
TSH is controlled in the body via a specific mechanism. TSH binds to receptor sits in the thyroid cells which triggers them to produce thyroxine and triiodothyronine and release it into the bloodstream. These hormones if in excess effects negatively on the pituitary gland and stops the TSH production. It further stops production of the thyrotropin-releasing hormone in the hypothalamus and controls pituitary gland for TSH release.
Can too much thyroid stimulating hormone cause any risks?
A simple blood test can let you know the amount of thyroid stimulating hormone in your blood circulation. In case you have too much of it, then your thyroid gland is not making probably sufficient amounts of thyroid hormones and you might be facing through an underactive or hypothyroidism condition. Its symptom prominently includes feeling lethargic most of the times, experiencing weight gain, and sensitivity towards the cold. Goiter condition might also appear in extreme cases.
For this treatment in the form of medication can be taken to get the hormonal levels back within range. It further reduces TSH levels in the blood. It is essential for the pregnant women to treat this condition in case they suffer from it, to ensure the healthy development of the fetus of the baby. In very rare cases, problems might appear because of the pituitary gland or rare genetic conditions resulting in inappropriate high TSH values, and high amounts of free thyroid hormones.
Can too little thyroid stimulating hormone cause any risks?
If someone has too little thyroid stimulating hormone, then it indicates the thyroid gland is making way too much of hormones in excess leading to an overactive or hyperthyroid condition. It further suppresses the production of thyroid stimulating hormone.
Its symptoms might include weight loss despite eating good diets, hot sensitivity, anxiety or palpitations. Treatment is received in the form of medication to reduce the activity of the thyroid gland and to get the all thyroid hormones back to normal rages.
When should you go for a TSH test?
You may need a TSH test if you have symptoms of too much thyroid hormone in your blood termed as hyperthyroidism, or too little thyroid hormone termed as hypothyroidism. So get a Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Test to avoid any confusion if you get to see any thyroid related symptoms. It is always best to be sure than confused.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism, also known as overactive thyroid, include:
- Weight loss
- Tremors in the hands
- Increased heart rate
- Bulging of the eyes
- Difficulty sleeping
Symptoms of hypothyroidism, also known as underactive thyroid, include:
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Low tolerance for cold temperatures
- Irregular menstrual periods
What is the procedure of a TSH test?
In this test, a technician will take a blood sample from the arm vein with the help of a small needle. After needle insertion, a very small amount of blood is withdrawn and collected in a test tube or a vial. A little sting or prick might be felt when the needle goes in and comes out. The test usually takes nearly five minutes in total.
No pre-test preparations are required for a TSH blood test. You might be asked just to fast by not eating or drinking anything just before the test for few hours. Besides this, any specific instructions if any will be shared and discussed by your prescribing physician.
Also, there is no risk factor involved in getting this blood test done. You might experience slight pain or bruise on the spot needle prick but it will subside eventually.
How to understand the TSH results better?
High levels of TSH indicate that your thyroid is not making enough amounts of thyroid hormones, also known as hypothyroidism. However, low TSH levels can indicate your thyroid is making excessive amounts of the hormones, also known as hyperthyroidism. Although, a TSH test can not indicate the reason of too high or too low levels. In case you have abnormal values of TSH, then your physician might prescribe you to undergo few more thyroid tests to help him diagnose your actual thyroid issue.
The tests may include:
- T3 thyroid hormone tests
- T4 thyroid hormone tests
- In case of hyperthyroidism, tests to diagnose Graves’ disease which is an autoimmune disorder.
- In case of hyperthyroidism, tests to diagnose Hashimoto’s thyroiditis which is an autoimmune disorder.
There is a self-need of acknowledging any unexpected condition or symptoms. Thyroid problems are complicated ones and affect various other body functions. Women might even develop thyroid disorders during pregnancy. It is always best to discuss with your physician if you have any history or your family has any history of thyroid disorders.