Thyroid Cancer / Nodules & Hyperthyroidism Expert Forum
TSH Level Dangerously High?
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Questions in the Thyroid forum are answered by Mark Lupo, MD. Topics covered include Goiter, Graves Disease, Hyperthyroid, Parathyroid/Calcium Problems, Thyroid Cancer, Thyroid Nodules/Cysts, Thyroiditis, Thyroid & Pregnancy, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), Thyroid Tests, and Thyroid Surgery.

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Avatar universal
TSH Level Dangerously High?
I was wondering what exactly you would classify as a "dangerously" high TSH level. I have had Hypothyroidism since I was 14, I am now 22. When I was 14 and was first diagnosed my levels were in the 900's. I have since been on medications and they have come back down but for the last year I have been unable to be on medication due to lack of insurance and I finally just got my levels taken again dispite still lacking insurance and my level was 1249. What is your take on this and what are the results that this will have on my body? I did get medication for it that I will be starting tomorrow morning but I was wondering how dangerous this really was. thank you
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97953 tn?1440868992
I think that must be the TPO antibody -- most TSH assays don't go that high.  If it is TSH, that would be severe hypothyroidism and would correlate with T4 and T3 -- which would be expected to be undectable with a TSH this high in hypothyroidism.
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Avatar universal
My goodness! that is the highest TSH level I have ever heard/read of.  Are you healthy.  Did you not suffer with symptoms?

Severe, prolonged hypothyroidism can lead to multiple abnormalities within any system of the body including heart, brain, and skin. Untreated hypothyroidism can cause heart disease, osteoporosis or thinning of the bones, and infertility in women. If left untreated for many years, severe hypothyroidism can eventually lead to death, as well as the following:

Myxedema coma - life-threatening complication of untreated hypothyroidism.
Heart - Thyroid hormone is very important for normal cardiovascular function, so when not enough thyroid hormone is present neither the heart nor the blood vessels function normally. In hypothyroidism the heart muscle is weakened in both its contraction phase, and also its relaxation phase. This means that the heart cannot pump as vigorously as it should, and the amount of blood it ejects with each heart beat is reduced. In addition, because the heart muscle does not relax normally in between heart beats, a potentially serious condition called diastolic dysfunction may result.  Furthermore, hypothyroidism reduces the amount of nitric oxide in the lining of the blood vessels, causing them to stiffen.
Cholesterol and Lipid Levels -  Hypothyroidism is significantly associated with unhealthy lipid levels.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension). Hypothyroidism - may slow the heart rate to less than 60 beats per minute, reduce the heart’s pumping capacity, and increase the stiffness of blood vessel walls.
Homocysteine - Studies are also finding that hypothyroidism is associated with elevated levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that is increasingly becoming a major suspect in heart diseases.
Iron deficiency anemia.
Respiratory problems.
Osteoarthritis.
Diabetes
Glaucoma. Some research has associated hypothyroidism with an increased risk for glaucoma.
Depression is common in hypothyroidism and can be severe
Mental and Behavioral Impairment. Untreated hypothyroidism can, over time, cause mental and behavioral impairment and, eventually, even dementia.
Hypothyroidism is also commonly associated with iron deficiency anemia and respiratory problems. Some research has associated hypothyroidism with an increased risk for glaucoma.

There are legit internet sources for low cost meds. and free meds. to people who qualify.  Never let pride over ride your health. Hopefully there is no damaged to your health and you will be free from all the above. You are so young with your whole life ahead of you so please take care of yourself.  Good luck.

GL,
Just my personal opinion as a thyroid patient.
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393685 tn?1425816122
Dr Lupo is a very qualified professional and I have asked him questions ocassionally. I have recieved very wonderful feedback and I hope he posts to you soon.



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Avatar universal
I'm not sure the absolute level of TSH is the determinant factor in the severity of the disease.  However, with such an elevated TSH, you obviously are hypothyroid.  It is important for you to get FREE T3 and FREE T4 tests to see where your actual thyroid hormones are.  TSH is a pituitary hormone.

GravesLady, you give good, sound advice.

highonhim2, my daughter (aged 26) gets Blue Cross insurance for about $125 a month, and she has PCOS and ADD.  Could you do that amount?  I worry that if you develop other health problems, you may become uninsurable.

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125112 tn?1217277462
Just to be certain, are these elevated numbers for TSH or Thyroid antibodies?
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Avatar universal
According to the American Thyroid Association, "normal" is classified as a TSH between 0.4 and 2.5; back in 2003 they classified 2.5 to 4.0 as "at risk" and 4.0 to 10.0 as subclinical hypothyroidism, which doctors could treat at their own discretion.  Above 10 is classified as overt hypothyroidism.

Research since 2003 has shown that even very small elevations in TSH - within the 2.5 to 4.0 range - carry significant health issues (cardiovascular, etc) and more recently, evidence has shown that treating those patients helps to lower such risks.

A joint statement by the ATA and the CDC states that women who want to become pregnant and have a TSH over 2.5 should be treated to prevent miscarriages, premature births, and other significant health issues to the fetus.

Your levels are so high that you may be able to find a researcher who would be willing to treat you.
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Avatar universal
Oh, I forgot to mention one thing:  the target range for those who are being treated is between .5 and 2.0.  

Therefore, if you are starting with a TSH of 1249, you would need to cut down your levels by 1247 points.
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Avatar universal
thank you all very much for your answers back. I do know that I have hypothyroidism i have had it for 8 years now. I was just curious about the consequences of my levels being so high and what effects it would have on my other body functions. so thank you all very much for your answers.
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125112 tn?1217277462
I think Dr. Lupo is correct (antibodies not TSH). You can request copies of your labs from your doctor's office. It is what I would do, if I were you.

Best,
~Kate
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Avatar universal
i already have and it is my TSH level, not the antibodies
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Avatar universal
I have never heard say or read any material putting a level to distinguish "dangerously high".
I think it might be more on "how long" a person is hypo, in combo with level and how severe the hypothyroidism, and, I would assume that to be symptoms. Nor have I never heard say or read a time on, "how long" is long.
I would think levels above 10 for a lengthy period of time would be suspicious.
However, we are each different to how our system works, handles or reacts and tolerate to illness.

Have you been tested for HAMA (HHA) - Human heterophilic antibodies? It causes  falsely raised TSH levels.   The rheumatoid RH factor is also known to interfere with TSH assays and increases the FT4 High.
You might have doctor try a different Lab which might confirm the possibility of interfering substances with your first test, and to check for the presences these antibodies. If your Lab hasn't alreay.
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Avatar universal
well i know i have hypothyroidism and that my levels are that high because i wasn't on my medication for so long and i DEFINATELY have the symptoms of hypothyroidism. I just was unsure of whether or not my levels being so high would have effected other parts of my body and how bad. that's all i am really asking through this question
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Avatar universal
The only one that can answer your questions is your personal physician by checking you out through a thorough and complete physicals throughout time.

You being hypo is not in question, but rather your high TSH is in question.
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Avatar universal
A related discussion, goiter was started.
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