TSH is an abbreviation for thyroid-stimulating hormone, a pituitary hormone that stimulates the thyroid gland. It is one of the main hubbub in the human body and is responsible for the full functioning of a very important organ – the thyroid gland. A hormone is produced in the brain in the pituitary gland. The substance stimulates the secretion of thyroid gland thyroxine and tridthyronine – hormones that are responsible for the full functioning of the main systems in the body, as well as the correct fat metabolism. For this reason, a disruption in the production of these hormones threatens health with serious consequences.
In order to detect abnormalities, a TSH blood test is shown. Such an examination most often has to be done by women who are 10 times more likely than men to suffer from disorders in the work of the pituitary gland and thyroid gland. In the vast majority of cases, blood for the determination of TSH hormones is donated simultaneously with the blood for the detection of thyroid hormones. An endocrinologist is engaged in decoding the TSH blood test. According to his results, he prescribes treatment for the patient with the use of certain drugs. As a rule, with correctly selected therapy, it is possible to normalize the patient’s condition in a short time.
What actions does TSH produce on the body?
In addition to regulating the thyroid gland, the hormone also affects the entire body as a whole. The substance is necessary for the following processes to proceed:
- full production of proteins,
- maintaining the correct heat exchange,
- activation of metabolic processes,
- high-quality synthesis of nucleic acids,
- high-quality synthesis of phospholipids,
- correct formation of red blood cells,
- correct glucose metabolism,
- correct assimilation of iodine by thyroid cells,
- stimulation of adenylate cyclase.
Also, without the action of thyroid-stimulating hormone, full-fledged muscle activity, full-fledged thinking, oxygenation of tissues, and maturation of eggs are impossible.
The norm of the hormone in the blood by age
When a biochemical blood test is performed, a TSH disorder is determined based on generally accepted norms. Depending on age, the rate of the hormone changes as follows:
|The first 10 days after birth||From 1,1 17 up|
|Up to 2,5 months after birth||From 0,6 10 up|
|From 2,5 months to 14 months||From 0,4 7 up|
|From 14 months to 5 years||From 0,4 6 up|
|5 years to 14 years||From 0,4 5 up|
|From 14 to 50 years old||From 0,4 4 up|
|Age over 50||From 0,27 4,2 up|
|Women during pregnancy||From 0,2 3,5 up|
Sometimes in different laboratories in the analyzes of the same person, there may be a discrepancy of 0,2, which is considered the norm. This deviation, as a rule, is associated with reagents that are used to test blood for thyroid-stimulating hormone.
For what diseases there is an increase in the hormone
There are many reasons for increasing hormones. A blood test for TSH may be elevated in the following cases:
- removal of the thyroid gland,
- therapy of thyroid diseases with radioactive iodine,
- autoimmune diseases, in which the destruction of thyroid cells by the cells of the body occurs, taking healthy tissues for pathological,
- traumatic damage to the thyroid gland,
- especially severe iodine deficiency,
- cancerous tumors affecting the thyroid gland,
- insufficiency in the work of the adrenal glands of an innate nature,
- excessive hypothalamic function,
- benign neoplasms of the pituitary gland,
- violation of the sensitivity of body tissues to hormones secreted by the thyroid gland,
- severe viral infections,
- severe stress,
- strong physical overload,
- taking a number of medications.
In the event that a person is prescribed treatment with drugs that can disrupt the level of hormones, it is shown to be regularly tested for TSH hormones. This will allow timely detection of violations and the necessary correction of the condition.
Symptoms of elevated TSH
A number of signs indicate that the hormonal background is increased. It is necessary to take a TSH test in the following cases when there are:
- weight gain,
- swelling of the lips, eyelids, tongue and limbs,
- frequent chills
- general muscle weakness,
- depressive conditions,
- frequent insomnia
- memory impairment,
- slow pulse below 55 beats per minute,
- increased fragility of nails,
- excessive hair loss
- excessive pallor of the skin,
- a tendency to constipation,
- particular soreness and scarcity of menstruation,
- loss of sexual desire
This symptomatology is a direct indication for visiting a doctor, who will give a referral for a blood test for TSH. All symptoms appear at once only if the level of hormones is very disturbed. With mild violations, only some of the signs appear and in low intensity. Despite the fact that at this moment the condition does not cause severe discomfort, it should not be ignored.
It is easy to guess that the pituitary gland by increasing the synthesis of TSH is trying to “force” to produce T3 and T4, which are clearly not enough. Therefore, first of all, a high level of TSH speaks of a decrease in the function of the thyroid gland – hypothyroidism, or myxedema.
Causes of low TSH
The reasons for the lowered hormones can be different. The pathology is much less common than the previous one, but still one should not forget about it. Most often, a lowered TSH is noted with a significant increase in the level of thyroid hormones. In this case, a blood test is taken for the indicators of the thyroid gland TSH and many more hormones. Pathology is most often caused by the following factors:
- Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism (thyrotoxicosis),
- tumor formations of the thyroid gland,
- brain tumors
- metastasis of cancer to the pituitary gland,
- traumatic brain injury,
- inflammation of the brain,
- traumatic conditions in which acute pain is present,
- diseases accompanied by acute pain,
- taking a number of medications.
It is not uncommon for a TSH deficiency to be caused by taking medications – analogues of thyroid hormones. For this reason, quite often the patient is prescribed a blood test for TSH hormones during the treatment period.
Symptoms of low TSH levels
It is also necessary to be tested for TSH in case of symptoms of its lowered level. The main ones are:
- weight loss,
- goiter formation
- increased body temperature to a maximum of 37,5,
- increased appetite,
- frequent stools
- heart failure,
- increased fragility of bones,
- neurasthenic disorders in the work of the psyche,
- panic attacks,
- severe muscle weakness
- not blinking often enough
- wide eyes
- sensation of a foreign body in the eyes, bulging,
- increased dryness of the mucous membrane of the eye,
- increased dryness of the skin.
All these symptoms are indicative of hyperthyroidism. An excess of thyroid hormones leads to the fact that there is no need to stimulate it, and the secretion of TSH simply stops. These symptoms are an indication for a blood test for thyroid hormones and TSH (tsh). You should not refuse blood tests for hormones in this state, as this can lead to the fact that the beginning of the development of a serious pathology in a severe form will be missed, the treatment of which will be extremely difficult and difficult. The need for testing should always be determined by the doctor, not the patient.
Indications for analysis for TSH
Biochemistry – a blood test for TSH hormones is prescribed for many reasons. The need to take a blood test occurs in the following cases:
- suspicion of hypothyroidism with a latent course,
- female infertility with a normal condition of the genitals,
- frequent depression
- deterioration of muscle function (especially the muscles of the limbs),
- significant drop in body temperature for no apparent reason,
- lag in sexual development,
- mental retardation,
- decreased libido,
- arrhythmia in the absence of pathology of the heart muscle,
In the event that the doctor suspects the need for hormone therapy, he prescribes an analysis for TSH. After examining the test results, the specialist selects the optimal treatment for the patient.
Preparation for the test
Knowing what TSH is, it is very important to properly prepare to get tested for TSH. Since many factors affect the hormonal background in the human body, if the recommendations are not followed, it will be impossible to understand what the research result is talking about. The results of the analysis are deciphered based on the fact that the patient followed certain recommendations before taking blood the previous day. How to pass the analysis correctly, the doctor who gives the referral to it informs. If this has not been done, information on how to properly donate blood for TSH analysis can be obtained from the nurse collecting the material.
First of all, food intake affects the hormone level in the blood, and therefore, when preparing to take tests for hormones, you should stop eating food for at least 12 hours. Also, in order for the test to show TSH correctly, 5 days before it, they refuse products that negatively affect the hormonal system, and therefore exclude fatty foods, alcohol, soft drinks and fast food. If this is not done, then the values shown by the TSH analysis result will not correspond to the real picture and the TSH test will have to be taken again.
For cigarette lovers, the question of how long one should not smoke before donating blood for the hormone TSH is relevant. Ideally, of course, give up the bad habit a few days before taking the material, but if this is not possible, 4 hours before the procedure will be enough, which will be carried out without a cigarette.
When an analysis is done, there are no restrictions on the liquid, if, of course, a person drinks only clean, non-carbonated water. You can drink it in any amount and even just before taking a blood test. In the event that the desire to eat before the procedure turns out to be irresistible, it is allowed to drink a cup of warm, weak green tea. In such an amount, it will not change the blood picture, but will eliminate the unpleasant feeling of hunger. This drink, but already strongly brewed, is recommended after blood sampling in the event that after it one feels weakness and dizziness.
When a person is preparing for the analysis, for a period of 5 days before him, it is necessary, if possible, to refuse medications, since they can disrupt the picture, which means the unreliability of the results and, as a result, the incorrectness of further treatment. If you cannot give up medications, there is still a way how you can correctly pass the TSH test. In such a situation, the rules for submitting a biochemical analysis establish the need to inform the doctor who draws the blood, which funds and in what volume were taken and how long before the analysis, which means that the result will be determined taking into account the possible error according to a special table. This is most often the case for adults taking life-saving medications.
Taking material for analysis from women deserves special attention. They are often interested in the question of how to donate blood during the menstrual cycle. This condition does not affect the TSH index, which allows analysis.
An analysis is taken in the morning hours, when the hormonal level has not yet been changed by physical activity and stress, from 8 am to 12 noon. Blood is taken from a vein. After the procedure, you can eat immediately.
Knowing how to pass the analysis correctly, you can get the most accurate result, which will give the doctor all the necessary data for competent therapy.
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