Elevated TSH – What are High TSH Levels?



If like me, you’re familiar with the topic of thyroid disease, you’ve most likely heard or read about elevated TSH. But what exactly are high TSH levels, and how do they affect someone living with thyroid disease. Let me share what I’ve learn’t with you.

What is TSH?

Thyroid Stimulating Hormone or TSH is a chemical produced by the pituitary gland. TSH triggers the thyroid to produce a hormone called T4. The body converts T4 into a more active form called T3. As T3 and T4 levels increase in the blood, the pituitary gland slows or stops its production of TSH. When the T3 and T4 levels drop below a certain point, the pituitary gland will again send out TSH. This is a self-regulating process.

What Does It Mean When TSH Levels Are High?

If your TSH levels are high, that means that your body is having difficult producing enough thyroid hormones. Elevated TSH levels can be caused by thyroid inflammation, thyroid failure or pituitary gland dysfunction.

What Are the Most Common Symptoms of High TSH?

I’ve found out that though some patients don’t have any symptoms, most adult patients will experience symptoms such as:

  • Feebleness, low energy, muscle aches and cramps
  • Hoarseness
  • Dry skin and hair, or hair loss
  • Weight gain and facial swelling
  • Difficult dealing with cold
  • Depression, irritability, memory problems, and decreased sexual drive
  • Constipation
  • Changes in menstrual cycle

In addition to these symptoms, children and teenagers may also experience a delay in puberty, as well as problems with physical and mental development.

If your thyroid condition isn’t properly treated, symptoms may continue to worsen, and you may develop an enlarged thyroid (also called a goiter).

What Are the Prospective Diagnoses Of Elevated TSH?

In order for you to be diagnosed with elevated TSH, your physician will first have to test your thyroid hormone levels. If both your TSH and thyroid hormone levels are high, your doctor will then check for a tumor on your pituitary gland. If there is no tumor present, then you likely have a resistance to thyroid hormone.

I’ve also found out that elevated TSH with low thyroid hormone levels may indicate that you have one of the following conditions:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Congenital hypothyroidism (also called cretinism)
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Treating Elevated TSH

If you’re suffering from high TSH levels, you shouldn’t fear as this condition can be treated. Once you go see an endocrinologist you’re diagnosed with elevated TSH, you’ll most likely be given prescription thyroid hormone pills to take in order to help regulate your TSH levels.

I hope that the information that I’ve shared has helped you to have a better understanding of elevated TSH levels.

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