Thyroid conditions are often asymptomatic or masked as signs of aging. imaware's Thyroid Screening test will help you understand how your thyroid is functioning and if there is an explanation for your symptoms.
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the front of your neck responsible for releasing thyroid hormones.1 These hormones impact how your body utilizes energy, influencing your metabolism, growth and development.
Your pituitary gland is responsible for releasing the thyroid-stimulating hormone when your thyroid hormone levels are low so that your thyroid gland increases production.2 The thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test measures your TSH levels in order to assess whether your thyroid gland is over-, under-, or normally producing the thyroid hormone.
Having high TSH levels may indicate that you have hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid. Hypothyroidism means you are not producing enough thyroid hormones to maintain proper energy usage, causing your body to slow its functions.3 As a result, common symptoms of hypothyroidism include chronic fatigue, irregular menstruation, unexplained weight gain, chills, muscle pain, dry skin and more.4 Hashimoto's disease (an autoimmune disorder), thyroiditis, congenital hypothyroidism, thyroid surgery, iodine deficiency and radiation treatment can cause hypothyroidism.5
Low TSH is a sign of hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid. Low TSH levels mean your body has already produced too many thyroid hormones and does not require more. Hyperthyroidism is the opposite of hypothyroidism — it causes your body to use too much energy. Unfortunately, this can lead to serious problems like weak muscles, brittle bones, reproductive issues and cardiovascular-related conditions. Hyperthyroidism is often caused by Graves' disease (an autoimmune disorder), thyroiditis and overactive thyroid nodules.6
What can you do?
If you have low or high TSH results, you may have a thyroid condition which requires a visit to your healthcare provider for an official diagnosis. You may be prescribed a medication like levothyroxine to maintain appropriate hormone levels if you have hypothyroidism. Medical treatments for hyperthyroidism include medications to reduce thyroid production, thyroid surgery or radioiodine therapy.
Aside from medical intervention, here are some areas you can manage the effects of thyroid conditions:
- Metabolism: Since hypothyroidism slows down your metabolism, maintaining a healthy weight can be more difficult.9 Aside from medications, you may want to consider revamping your eating habits.10
- Iodine: Be conscious of your iodine intake as your body requires enough iodine to produce thyroid hormones, but excessive amounts can have adverse effects.11
- Stress: Stress affects your body in various ways — one of which is thought to be your thyroid function. Although the exact relationship between stress and thyroid function is still under analysis, incorporating stress management techniques is not a bad idea.1213
- Exercise: Exercise is not a treatment for thyroid conditions, but it can help you manage certain symptoms and improve your overall health.
Thyroid conditions often present as asymptomatic or with symptoms easily mistaken for something else. Hypothyroidism causes your body to slow down as you are not producing adequate thyroid hormone. When you have hyperthyroidism, your body burns through high amounts of energy due to an excessive amount of thyroid hormones. Both conditions left unmanaged can lead to more severe symptoms. Please visit your healthcare provider for an official diagnosis and treatment plan if you think you have a thyroid condition.