What are TSH levels and what do they mean for your thyroid health? Here are some frequently asked questions about how TSH affects the function of your thyroid gland.
In this article:
- What Is TSH?
- What Is the TSH Levels Test?
- What Are the Factors That Affect TSH Levels?
- What Are the Normal TSH Levels?
- What Does It Mean to Have High and Low Thyroid TSH Levels?
- How Do I Maintain Normal TSH Levels?
What Are TSH Levels and How Do They Affect Thyroid Health?
What Is TSH?
TSH stands for thyroid-stimulating hormone. The pituitary glands produce it to trigger the production of the thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine (T3 and T4).
The main duty of this hormone is to ensure that the thyroid gland secretes enough thyroid hormones to maintain peak bodily functions.
What Is the TSH Levels Test?
TSH test analyzes the level of the thyroid-stimulating hormone in the blood. The normal range is around 0.4 to 4 milliunits (mU/L) of TSH per 1 liter of blood.
The TSH levels test is usually done together with the T4, T3RU, and T3 tests. One thyroid function test is normally not enough to come to a clear diagnosis.
Together, the test results may indicate one of the following thyroid conditions (but not limited to):
What Are the Factors That Affect TSH Levels?
TSH normal levels may be affected by age, gender, preexisting medical conditions, and overall health.
The normal TSH levels for females around 25 to 30 of age may be at about 2.34 mU/L. Meanwhile, a healthy 90-year-old man’s TSH level may reach 5.49 mU/L.
Medications, stress, and diet also heavily affect your TSH levels. If you’re taking thyroid medication, your levels will differ from that of a healthy person’s.
What Are the Normal TSH Levels?
Here are the normal TSH levels according to age and gender:
Normal TSH Levels in Men
- 18 to 30 Years Old: 0.5 to 4.15 mU/L
- 31 to 50 Years Old: 0.5 to 4.15 mU/L
- 51 to 70 Years Old: 0.5 to 4.59 mU/L
- 71 to 90 Years Old: 0.4 to 5.49 mU/L
Men with an abnormal TSH level have a smaller sperm count. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism affect male fertility.
Normal TSH Levels in Women
- 18 to 29 Years Old: 0.4 to 2.34 mU/L
- 30 to 49 Years Old: 0.4 to 4.0 mU/L
- 50 to 79 Years Old: 0.46 to 4.68 mU/L
Women are generally more prone to develop abnormal levels of TSH during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.
What Does It Mean to Have High and Low Thyroid TSH Levels?
The results from a TSH test aren’t just mere numbers. They indicate how healthy your thyroid gland is. Here’s what you need to know about having an abnormal TSH count:
High TSH Levels Symptoms and Meaning
If your TSH levels are high, that means you have hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid gland.
The thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. The pituitary gland, then, secretes more TSH to stimulate the thyroid into functioning as a compensatory mechanism.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, and muscle cramps.
Low TSH Levels Symptoms and Meaning
Having low TSH levels means that your thyroid gland is producing too many thyroid hormones, a case called hyperthyroidism. In this condition, the pituitary gland decreases the amount of TSH it secretes to offset the high amount of thyroxine, triiodothyronine, and other thyroid hormones in your body.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include heat intolerance, increased bowel movements, frequent palpitations, and weight loss.
How Do I Maintain Normal TSH Levels?
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Eat Less Cruciferous Vegetables
If you have abnormal TSH levels, you might want to stay away from veggies such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. These are harder to digest and may worsen different thyroid complications.
Of course, you should still follow a healthy, balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and meat. Avoiding cruciferous veggies is only applicable to patients with low or high TSH levels.
Avoid Stressing Yourself Out
You may not notice it but stress can really take its toll on your physical and mental health. While you can’t necessarily avoid stressful situations, you can control the way you react to them.
Before letting loose and beating yourself up over a mishap, take a few minutes to do some breathing exercises. Only act on a problem once you’ve calmed down and are able to make objective decisions.
Set aside a few minutes every day to do yoga and meditation exercises as well. These will help mold a strong mindset resistant to stress.
Exercise More Often
Exercising is a solid way to reduce inflammation and sweat out harmful toxins in your body. A few minutes of exercise every day is exactly what you need.
For people suffering from thyroid diseases, try doing low-impact workouts that your inflamed joints can handle. As you recover, you can opt to intensify your routine.
Of course, make sure to ask for your doctor’s permission before performing any of these.
If you’re not suffering from any thyroid complication, then opt for some more intense anaerobic exercises. These are high-intensity workout routines composed of explosive bursts of movement with quick, short breaks in between.
Take Thyroid Function Supplements
If you want to ensure a healthy thyroid, then you should combine proper diet and exercise with an effective supplement program. Try using products such as Thyroid Support System by Dr. Seeds which supports your thyroid function.
Note: Before taking any supplement, make sure to seek the advice of a medical professional. You need to know which supplements may affect the drug mechanism of your thyroid medication.
Check out the video below by Doctors’ Circle – World’s Largest Health Platform and watch as Dr. Sanjay Panicker, a Homeopathic Consultant, explains further the thyroid gland, TSH levels, and more:
These are just some of the things you need to know about TSH levels. Remember that this is just a guide to help you gauge how your thyroid gland is doing.
It’s always best to set regular thyroid checkups with a medical professional so they can give you the proper diagnosis and management plan. Together, you can formulate a suitable and practical treatment schedule, diet plan, and lifestyle program you can follow religiously to maintain normal TSH levels.
Do not ever attempt to take thyroid medication without your doctor’s permission.
Is there a treatment plan you follow to maintain normal TSH levels? If yes, do you take supplements to support it? Share your thyroid health management with us in the comments section below!