Thyroid Guide – Thyroid Levels: The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones and is responsible for the metabolism in the body. When the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, one may suffer from hyperthyroidism. When the thyroid glands fail to produce enough thyroid hormones needed by the body, one may suffer from hypothyroidism. One may complain about feeling symptoms such as losing or gaining weight, depression, cold or heat intolerance and increased or decreased heart rate. When this happens it would be best to seek medical help. To be able to assess and determine which thyroid disorder an individual may be suffering from, one must submit himself for a thyroid test.
Testing Thyroid Levels
The thyroid test is dome by getting a blood sample of a person suspected of having thyroid disorder. This blood sample will then be forwarded to the laboratory. The thyroid test is done to check on an individual’s thyroid function. Once the thyroid test result is available, the attending physician will then be able to check and assess an individual’s thyroid hormone level.
There are three levels of thyroid hormone levels in the body. These are high thyroid hormones level, low thyroid hormone level and normal thyroid hormone level. Low thyroid hormone level means that a person has hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid gland. High thyroid hormone level indicates that an individual is suffering from hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid gland. Thyroid test results that show a normal thyroid hormone level indicates that an individual’s thyroid gland is producing just enough thyroid hormones needed by the body.
Interesting Questions about Thyroid:
What do antithyroid drugs do?
Antithyroid drugs block pathways leading to thyroid hormone production.
Antithyroid drugs used in this country are Propylthiouracil (PTU) and Tapazole®. Some physicians will recommend antithyroid medication as a first line of treatment to see if the patient is one of the lucky 30% of patients who go into a remission after taking antithyroid medication for one to two years. (Patients are said to be in remission if their hyperthyroidism does not recur after discontinuing the antithyroid drugs.) If antithyroid drugs do not work for the patient, then physicians usually recommend radioactive iodine.
Antithyroid drugs are also used to treat very young children, older patients with heart conditions, and pregnant women. For severe or complicated cases of hyperthyroidism, especially in older patients, PTU or Tapazole® can be given for four to six weeks to bring the hyperthyroidism under better control prior to administering radioactive iodine treatment.
In cases when women are diagnosed with Graves’ disease while they are pregnant, PTU is prescribed. The smallest dose possible is given because the medication does cross over to the fetus. The mother should be checked every three to four weeks during the pregnancy so that the lowest possible dose can be given. Too much PTU can cause fetal goiter, hypothyroidism, and mental retardation.
® Tapozole is a registered trademark of Jones Medical Industries.
Are there any side effects?
Antithyroid drugs cause side effects in about 10% of patients. Reactions can include:
- skin rash
- swollen, stiff, painful joints
- sore throat and fever
- low white blood count, which can lead to serious infections
- jaundice (yellow coloring of the skin) and, rarely, liver failure.
Most side effects clear up once the drugs are stopped. If you think you are having a reaction to anti-thyroid drugs, call your doctor immediately.
What can be expected with antithyroid drug treatment?
- Several pills are taken from one to four times a day, every day for six to 24 months.
- Some patients complain that the pills have an unpleasant smell and taste.
- There is usually some symptom relief within one to two weeks. In some cases, it can take several months to relieve symptoms.
- Antithyroid drugs have a relatively low success rate. While PTU or Tapazole® may correct the problem temporarily or for a few years, the chances of a permanent remission are about 30% once the drugs are stopped.
- The likelihood of achieving a permanent remission is increased if the patient takes the medication for one to two years.
- There are side effects in 10% of the people treated with Tapazole® or PTU. These are:
- skin rash over most of the body swollen, stiff, painful joints
- sore throat and fever — if this happens, the antithyroid drugs should be stopped immediately and the physician contacted
- liver damage, which is fatal in rare cases
- Because antithyroid drugs pass into breast milk, only PTU in a dosage less than 200 mg a day is advised if the baby is not weaned.
- Within 15 years, the thyroid gland may burn out, resulting in hypothyroidism, and the patient will need thyroid hormone replacement.
Most patients with hypothyroidism have some degree of associated depression, ranging from mild to severe. 10% – 15% of the patients with a diagnosis of depression may have thyroid hormone deficiency. Patients with depression should be tested to determine if they have a thyroid disorder.
- Several research studies have been done and continue to be done on the association between depression and thyroid disease. Although all forms of depression, including bipolar disorders like manic depression, can be found in either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, depression is more often associated with hypothyroidism. Many patients with hypothyroidism have some degree of associated depression, ranging from mild to severe.
- If a large population of depressed patients was screened, a significant percentage, perhaps 10% – 15%, would be found to have thyroid hormone deficiency. For this reason, patients with a diagnosis of depression should be tested to determine if they have too little thyroid hormone. If they do, thyroid medication should be prescribed.
- Thyroid hormone is sometimes prescribed for depressed patients with normal thyroid function because it magnifies the beneficial effects of certain antidepressants.
- Lithium, a commonly prescribed drug for certain types of depression, has profound effects on the size and function of the thyroid gland. Patients taking lithium need periodic examinations of their thyroid gland and thyroid function.
Graves’ disease is the most common form of hyperthyroidism. It affects many Americans, including Olympic athlete Gail Devers, who won a gold medal in track after being diagnosed with and treated for Graves’ disease.
Graves’ disease is caused by problems with the immune system. Normally, the immune system defends the body against germs and viruses. In autoimmune diseases such as Graves’, the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues. In Graves’ disease, the body produces antibodies which make the thyroid gland produce too much thyroid hormone.
Diseases of the immune system tend to run in families and are about five times more common in women. Graves’ is linked to other autoimmune conditions, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, premature gray hair, diabetes mellitus, arthritis and patchy loss of skin pigment (vitiligo).
Have more questions? Need more answers? Check our Full Thyroid FAQ
3 Thyroid Levels
With thyroid tests, an attending physician will be able to determine if one’s thyroid gland is dysfunctional and which thyroid disorder an individual may be suffering from. The thyroid test plays a very important role in determining a thyroid disorder since the attending physician’s diagnosis is based on the thyroid test result. The thyroid test does not only check the thyroid gland functions, it also checks if the body is able to receive enough thyroid hormones from the thyroid gland.
There are three types of thyroid hormone levels. A thyroid test result may show a low thyroid hormone level in the body. Having a low level of thyroid hormones in the body shows a clear basis of hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid gland. The thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, more than the body needs. An individual may have symptoms such as weight loss, palpitations, heat intolerance and increased heart rate. Other thyroid test result is a high thyroid hormone level.
When one has a high level thyroid hormone, this is enough basis to determine that an individual is suffering from hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid gland. In this case, the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormones needed by the body. One may feel symptoms such as fatigue, decreased heart rate, depression, constipation and dry skin.
Another thyroid test would show a normal thyroid hormone level. In this case, an individual has nothing to worry about since the thyroid gland produces and secretes just enough thyroid hormones needed by the body. In cases that an individual may have either a high thyroid hormone level or a low thyroid hormone level, the attending physician will provide a proper treatment and medication depending on the extent of the thyroid disorder.
Thyroid FAQ & Links to Related Articles
|There are four parathyroid glands that are normally having the size of a single rice grain. In some normal cases, they can be as big as the size of a pea.|
|Also called underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism is a disorder that is characterized by abnormal level of thyroid hormones in the body, which is too low.|
|The thyroid is a butterfly (pear)-shaped gland, it consists of 2 symmetrical lobes joined by a central isthmus that normally covers the 2nd & 3rd tracheal rings.|
|Congenital hypothyroidism is a thyroid gland disorder that may lead to deafness or mental retardation if left undetected.|
|Hypothyroidism can cause depression. Most people don?t realize that this feeling is depression caused by the thyroid gland not functioning as it should.|
|Papillary thyroid cancer is one of the thyroid cancer types. This type of thyroid cancer arises from the follicles in the thyroid gland.|
|The thyroid gland is located immediately below the larynx on each side of and anterior to the trachea. It is one of the largest of the endocrine glands|
|These thyroid hormones are responsible in regulating the body?s metabolism, which is how much food will be broken down into useful energy for consumption.|
|When the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, one may suffer from hyperthyroidism.|
|The thyroid stimulating hormone is produced by the pituitary gland. The thyroid stimulating hormone promotes the growth of the thyroid gland.|
|Thyroid hormones are chemical substances produced by the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck.|
|Natural thyroid supplements are helpful as a remedy to thyroid disorders. Its natural ingredients assure one of its safeties in taking it.|
|The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland that is the primary responsible in regulating the body?s metabolism.|
|Thyroid surgery is used to treat people with thyroid problems such as thyroid cancer, thyroid nodules and hyperthyroidism.|
|Thyroid tests or thyroid function tests are done to check the thyroid function in one?s body. A doctor will be able to determine and diagnose the thyroid disorder.|
|Treatment for thyroid disorders should be done to prevent unwanted results caused by the severity of the condition. Consult a physician for more of these treatments.|
|Thyroidectomy is a surgical process wherein the whole or a part of the thyroid gland is removed. This surgical process is used to treat thyroid disorders.|
|Having an underactive thyroid is a minor problem but it seeks proper attention to avoid further health problems. Consult a physician about any thyroid problem.|
|Low thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism, is a condition where the thyroid gland is under active.|
|Following a healthy meal plan, exercise and proper medication goes hand in hand to treat hypothyroidism. Consult a physician for a more individualized plan.|
|Each thyroid cancer treatment depends on the type of thyroid cancer and the extent or stage of the thyroid cancer one is suffering from.|
|Parathyroid hormones are considered to be the most important endocrine regulator. It basically regulates the calcium and phosphorus concentration in the body.|
|Studies show that since 1925, the standard treatment for parathyroid disease is to surgically remove the parathyroid gland(s) which are overproducing parathyroid hormones.|
|Parathyroid adenoma is a small tumor of the parathyroid gland and is known to be the most common disorder of the gland.|
|Medullary thyroid cancer is one of the types of thyroid cancer. This type of thyroid cancer is more common in women than in men.|
|Most people don?t feel any symptoms. Others can just lose weight and just feel depressed for no reason at all.|
|Suppose you go in for a routine checkup and your doctor decides to test your thyroid function. You?ve experienced no thyroid disease symptoms|
|Hypothyroidism develops for over a long period of time. It?s normally from several months to even several years.|
|People who are suffering from hypothyroidism are advised to get plenty of exercise and have a balanced and healthy diet. The diet must be rich in protein and iodine.|
|Self medicating one?s thyroid disorder with hypothyroidism diet pills without proper information of the diet pill does not address the problem.|
|Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid gland is overactive and produces too much thyroid hormones more than the body needs.|
|Hypothyroidism is one of the chronic diseases in the world. Hypothyroidism is also known as underactive thyroid; hypo means under or below normal.|
|Anaplastic thyroid cancer is a type of thyroid cancer that is rare and aggressive. It affects the thyroid gland and most especially its function.|
|Problems arise if the thyroid gland is overactive or underactive. There are three common thyroid disorders. These are hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and the thyroid nodules.|
Thyroid Hair Loss
|Hair loss may happen for so many reasons but it is commonly associated to thyroid problems such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.|
|Thyroid Function Tests are the different tests conducted to assess and determine the cause of an individual?s thyroid problems.|