Thyroid Cancer / Nodules & Hyperthyroidism Expert Forum
TSH levels
About This Forum:

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.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

TSH levels

Can you please help me understand my test?  My TSH levels range from 0.85ulU/mL-2.79ulU/mL within the last 3 years.  What does that number mean?  Is it better for it to be higher or lower?  I keep going to my doctor because I just don't feel right.  I eat healthy, do cardio workout about 3-4 times a week 45mins-hour, and yet my weight only increases.  
I was diagnosed with Graves' in May 1999, was treated with radioactive iodine and went from my usual 120 lbs. to my current 170lbs. I am 5'2", so this is devastating to me.  But I don't know that I can cut down any more calories.  It seems that I would have to starve to maybe see results.  Please Help!!!
thank you,
Z
Related Discussions
97953_tn?1193367871
Sounds like TSH is okay - I presume you're not on thyroid replacment meds - if so keep the TSH around 1.  The overactive thyroid falsely inc'd your metabolic rate making it easy to keep around 120# - the avg weight gain is about 15-20# no matter how the Graves is treated - 50# is a lot but taking thyroid meds is unlikely to help given your current TSH values.
22 Comments
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Do you have the results from your past couple of tests and dates they were done? If you could list those most current ones, it might be helpful and include any other thyroid levels (and ranges) that were on those more recent tests.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
The reference range is 0.48-5.90.
10/26/05 1.71
8/24/04  0.85
11/11/03 2.79
7/16/03  1.27
5/30/03  1.06

Waiting for results from 1/16/06.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Are you taking any thyroid hormone replacement meds? Sounds like you should be if you're not. After RAI it sometimes takes the TSH a long time to reflect the fact that you need replacement hormones. Without them for a long period of time, a person would die - that's how important thyroid is! Ask your doctor to start you on a course of thyroid hormone. I had RAI in 2002, my doctor put me on Synthroid, which didn't work for me (but the doc told me I was fine based on the stupid TSH test). When I found out about Armour, a natural desiccated thyroid product, I found a doctor to prescribe it - a lot of doctors won't - and now I'm on the way to being my "old" self again!
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Yes I am on synthroid .10mg/daily.  But that's exactly what I tell my doctor. It doesn't feel like it's doing a good job.  I know I will never be the same.  I've finally come to terms with that but I think I can get closer to my "old" self.
Thank you for your responses.  
What's Armour?
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Armour is "natural" thyroid hormone (animal thyroid glandulars), whereas Synthroid is "synthetic". Armour contains both T-3 and T-4, whereas Synthroid is a T-4 only medication.
The reason Dr.s sometimes switch patients from T-4 only meds, to one with both, is because they cannot successfully convert the T-4 into the more active T-3 hormone. Something in their system doesn't allow for this, so they need a med with both.
Other Dr.s prescribe only T-4/T-3 combo meds because they have found this problem more common than it was originally thought to be. Dr.s can also add synthetic T-3(Cytomel) to the T-4 you are already taking. Many believe the combo found in Armour is superior to the others. This was my experience.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I have been on Synthroid .05mg. for several years now.  I was diagnosed as borderline about 12 years ago. I have experienced hair loss which has not returned to this day.  It seems to have stabilized but has not grown back. I recently got a copy of my labwork from last year and the year before.  I am one of those who is tired of being tired all the time.  I noticed my TSH was 2.94 last year and 3.0 the year before.  I also had a T3 total of 116 and T4 free of 1.3 in 2003.  I am going to find a new physician since my doctor has recently retired.  I'm wondering if I may need to switch to Armor or add a T3.  I also stay cold all the time.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I hope to get a response from the MD. I am a 46 year old female who was born with Congenital Hypothyroidism. turned out pretty well despite what the MD's told my folks in 1960.
I was on .2mcg Synthroid for 12 years and for some reason I went hyper in a very short time, my TSH went down to 0.03.
I was suffering from anxiety to the point of not wanting to leave my home, but forced to because of supporting household.
My synthroid was reduced three times, down to .112mcg then I started to go hypo, I went up to every other day 125 and 112 and my TSH went up to 6.5.
I am now taking .125 three days and one .112 and repeat. and go back in two weeks for TSH.
Of course I have had alot of problems going so hypo, loss of eyelashes, major brain fog, menstrual period: constant break through bleeding (checked out by GYN all else is ok) very dry rough skin.....Any Idea why it would fluctuate like it has? going hyper and then hypo? I have a feeling that I am not through with this.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Dr. Mark is more likely to answer if you post as a new question. For some reason they are not taking new questions right now...that's not normal. Maybe Dr. Mark is out of town. Keep trying though.             Good Luck, Jean
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Anxiety has been reported to be an adrenal symptom, do you think maybe your adrenals are exahusted? I've heard that sometimes people don't convert T4 (storage thyroid hormone) to T3 (usable thyroid hormone) very well, so they don't do well on a T4-only med like Synthroid. I have also read that when your thyroid isn't working properly, your adrenals try to take over, and they do for a while, but slowly get burned out. Could this be your problem?
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I just wanted you to know that I was born with no thyroid gland.
In fact, it was not discovered until I was one year old, and in pretty rough shape, all the signs were there but in 1959 when I was born they had not started doing the heel ***** that they do to babies now.
I have had my adrenal glands checked with a 24 hour urine output and a lot of bloodwork. My t3 was high so there does not seem to be a problem there either. I was on Armour thyroid hormone for 32 years. My family Physician recommended going to an endocrinologist and getting put on synthroid. Up until two years ago I never had a problem with it. I will accept suggestions though.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
hipmom46

Are you on any other meds or supplements that could be blocking your hormone absorption? Are you still having hypo symptoms right now?
Why did they take you off Armour, were you having problems with it or did your physican just prefer Synthroid?
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Your high T3, was it above the range? Some doctors believe that low thyroid hormone and low adrenal function go hand in hand. Ferritin gets the thyroid hormone to the cells, and Cortisol allows it to be used by the cells. If your T3 is high and your T4 is low, it could mean that the thyroid hormone just isn't getting into the cells. Have you had your ferritin (storage iron) checked? It should be at least 80-90, even though the range starts a lot lower.

There's a really good book I read, "Thyroid, Guardian of Health", by Philip G. Young. It's easy to understand and has a lot of really good information about thyroid and how it relates to the rest of the endocrine system. I recommend you read it - you may be able to get it at your local library, or it is available thru Amazon.com for $19.95 new.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I learned a while back not to take iron supplements within a few hours of taking my synthroid, also that soy products interfere with absorbtion of synthroid. I have been very careful with not taking certain cold medications that contain pseudoenephrine like sudafed and cough medications (I felt great but did not sleep a wink. I will write more on thursday. Got to go.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I think it's because they can't patent a natural substance (Armour), so they can't make a lot of money on it, but Synthroid brings in a multi-billion dollar a year profit for Abbott Labs. I like the old saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Very appropriate for thyroid treatments, I think!
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
hi there
desperate for advice from anyone????i have had a goitre all my life but after having 2 children started to experience these symptoms fatigue weight gain coldness,shakeness etc etc told it was depression iam now 12 years on and have problems with swallowing,coughing to clear throat all the time tiredness even after 8-10 hours sleep muscle aches and goitre enlarged,irregular periods at times even done preg test dr told me my thyroid levels were normal at 4.something but why do i feel so ill just have some more anti-depresants sick of hearing it,so got referrred to specailist basically told yes you have a goitre but in cant be causing you these breathing and swallowing problems ITS IN YOUR HEAD but i still had xray and ultrasound now been told have slightly bulky thyroid and small nodules all over but thats ok could be hasimotos but we will discharge you no medication nothing just call if swelling gets bigger well this happens every month where do i go from here.Am i just going mad or does anyone know what i should do please please help iam ony 30 years old and i feel like 100.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
hi there
desperate for advice from anyone????i have had a goitre all my life but after having 2 children started to experience these symptoms fatigue weight gain coldness,shakeness etc etc told it was depression iam now 12 years on and have problems with swallowing,coughing to clear throat all the time tiredness even after 8-10 hours sleep muscle aches and goitre enlarged,irregular periods at times even done preg test dr told me my thyroid levels were normal at 4.something but why do i feel so ill just have some more anti-depresants sick of hearing it,so got referrred to specailist basically told yes you have a goitre but in cant be causing you these breathing and swallowing problems ITS IN YOUR HEAD but i still had xray and ultrasound now been told have slightly bulky thyroid and small nodules all over but thats ok could be hasimotos but we will discharge you no medication nothing just call if swelling gets bigger well this happens every month where do i go from here.Am i just going mad or does anyone know what i should do please please help iam ony 30 years old and i feel like 100.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
It sounds like you are hypothyroid.  You are telling a story similar to mine.  Keep nagging your doctor or change doctors.  If you don't manage your own health, no one else will.  So be diligent.  Mine started as hyper a year ago, so I had RAI and went hypo in November and started on Synthroid.  I still don't feel normal.  I am a runner and have been unable to run any distance without feeling out of breath and like my muscles are going to give out.  Plus my fingernails are peeling, I lose clumps of hair in the shower, I cannot lose the 15 pounds I gained in November, and I am tired yet have trouble sleeping.  I was being treated by an endo but have now switched back to my primary care as my endo told me my TSH was normal and to call back in 6 - 8 months.  Well, my TSH is high according to new range, so I think he is too busy treating his diabetes patients.  My primary dr is who diagnosed me originally, and I think he will be more open to my thoughts and I would like to try Armour for a few months just to see if it helps with my breathing problems while running.  Good luck to you.  But don't give up until you find another doctor who will listen to you.  You are WAY too young to feel this way.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
hi there
thankyou for you comments and support, this is such a hard illness to get noticed you are told so many times you are depressed but i keep telling them yes am depressed because you are not listening to me how many more people like us have to suffer this before thet realise there text books are not always right.thanks again ace75
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I am so sorry you have had to suffer like this.  I am a long time user of thyroid medications and most of the time on Armour.  Just a year or so on Synthroid and that was a real mistake for me.  Now my suggestion is tour the internet.  In doing this I have learned so much that I never had a clue about.  The new site that I recently found is  Stop the Thyroid Madness.  Her story is unbelieveable a 20 year journey.  She is a large supporter of Armour and gives lots of info on its advantages.  You are doing the right thing asking for help.  It is beyond me why so many doctors and endos are anti-Armour.  A good book to read,helped me a lot, is "Hypothyroidism the Unsuspected Illness" by Dr. Broda Barnes.  This doctor studied thyroid problems from the 1930's and answers a lot of questions.   Lots of luck and don't give up..
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
hi there
thanks for you comments well all test came back normal
TSH 1.11
ANTIBODIES NEG
REG BLOOD SUGARS NORMAL
XRAY-ULTRA SOUND SLIGHLY BULKY GLAND AND EXPECT IN SOMEONE WITH SMALL NODULES THROUGHOUT? (LETTER STATEMENT)
well doc wants a second opinion same as myself so se where we go from here
suppose bsck on to anti-depressants
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
Good to hear that the tests he gave you have come back normal.  Now did he do any other tests besides the TSH?  The tests that really need doing are Free T3 and Free T4.  Free T3 measures only portion of thyroid hormone T3 that is "free", that is, not bound to carrier protiens and the reference range is 230 - 420.  Free T4 directly measures the Free T4 in the blood, and its reference range is .
.8 - 1.8. You really need a doctor who will understand these tests and be able to treat you accordingly.  Good Luck.
Blank
Continue discussion Blank
This Forum's Experts
97953_tn?1193367871
Mark Lupo, M.D.Blank
Thyroid & Endocrine Center of Florida
Sarasota, FL
MedHelp Health Answers
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
How to Silence Your Inner Critic an...
Apr 16 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eaters: How to Silence Yo...
Mar 26 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
1344197_tn?1392822771
Blank
Vaginal vs. Laparoscopic Hysterecto...
Feb 19 by J. Kyle Mathews, MD, DVMBlank