The TSH reflex test is an effective way to know the conditions of your thyroid. Your thyroid is a small gland similar to butterfly-shaped located in the front of your neck. TSH (Thyroid-stimulating hormone) test helps measure the TSH levels in your blood. High or low TSH levels may indicate several problems in your body. In this article, you will see the high or low causes of TSH levels that may show thyroid disorders.
What is a TSH reflex test?
A TSH blood test can show how well your thyroid is working. A TSH signals to your thyroid gland to develop hormones for metabolism. Metabolism is the process of conversion of food into your body when required. Thyroid-stimulating hormone develops by a pituitary gland. Your pituitary gland is located at the base of your brain indicating that your thyroid produces and releases hormones. These hormones can show their effects on your heart rate and other body organs. Besides, they help to control your body’s functions such as weight, breathing, digestion, and moods.
This test can find a thyroid disorder before the appearance of symptoms. A thyroid disorder can lead to severe health problems if you do not receive treatment.
A TSH reflex test can be utilized to:
- Detects hyperthyroidism (underactive thyroid gland) and hypothyroidism (overactive thyroid gland).
- Screen for thyroid disease before the occurrence of symptoms, specifically in infants
- Monitor the treatment in response to hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or thyroid disorders.
- Find a thyroid nodule (solid lumps filled with fluid develop within your thyroid).
- See a goiter (an abnormal or irregular growth of the thyroid gland).
When do you need a TSH reflex test?
A TSH test is often recommended with a thyroid panel and other tests of hormones developed by your thyroid gland. If you experience symptoms of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, you may need a thyroid-stimulating hormone test. Hyperthyroidism is a disease in which overactive thyroid produces high amounts of thyroid hormones in your blood. It leads to an increase in the speed of the body’s functions.
The following are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism:
- Problems in sleeping
- Disturbance in the heartbeat
- Lack of tolerance to heat or sweat.
- Swings in your mood.
- Goiter (a condition in which the size of the thyroid gland increases)
- The Irritating or nervous feeling
- Muscle weakness
- Unexpected weight loss
- Increased bowel movement (frequent pooping)
Hypothyroidism is a condition of low thyroid hormones in your blood due to an underactive thyroid. It decreases the speed of the body’s functions. Some symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Being overweight
- Muscle or joint pain
- Skin dryness
- Hair thinning or dryness
- Depression or anxiety
- Fertility problems
- Lack of tolerance to cold
- Heavy or irregular menstrual periods
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What is the procedure for the TSH Reflex test?
A thyroid-stimulating hormone is a blood test in which your provider asks for a blood sample to know the conditions of your thyroid. Your blood sample will be examined in the laboratory.
After placing an online order for the TSH test, you may need to visit the laboratory. A provider will tell you to remove the part of your cloth from one of the arms. A small needle attached to a test tube will be inserted into a vein in your arm. A provider will collect a small amount of blood into a test tube for examination. During needle injection, you may feel pain or discomfort in your vein area. This test generally finishes within five minutes.
How do I need to prepare for the TSH reflex test?
You do not require fasting for this test, but if a doctor will ask for additional tests, you may need to fast for at least several hours. You can tell your provider about the medication, vitamins, and supplements that you are using. Generally, you do not need to avoid the intake of medicine before the TSH test. Specific medication may change your thyroid test result. A provider will recommend a TSH level test if you use lithium, which may decrease thyroid function.
TSH Reflex Test Result:
According to the American Thyroid Association, the TSH normal range lies between 0.4 to 4.0 milliunits per liter (mU/L). These ranges vary among laboratories because each lab may use different methods to finalize your TSH reflex test result.
What is the cause of high TSH levels?
If the result of TSH levels is higher than recommended, you have a condition of underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). It indicates that your body does not produce the required thyroid hormone. High TSH levels are due to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disorder.
Low TSH levels:
If your test results are lower than the required, you have low TSH levels, which is a sign of hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid). It can develop due to
- Grave’s disease (A condition in which your body’s immune system attacks the thyroid)
- Low iodine levels
- Large intake of thyroid hormone medication
- Use of a large amount of supplement having thyroid hormone.
Lower than normal TSH levels may also develop due to medication, which includes steroids, dopamine, or opioid painkillers. A healthcare provider will recommend checking your thyroid levels after 6 to 12 months if you have normal TSH levels. You should take treatment from your provider if you experience thyroid disorders or have abnormal thyroid function. You can request an online appointment with a provider for the TSH reflex test to understand your thyroid disease.
You may need to take a thyroid hormone pill regularly for underactive thyroid treatment. In this way, your thyroid hormone levels reach to recommended levels. A healthcare provider will examine your TSH levels after two or three months to see if you have the correct dosage.
You may need the following treatment if you experience an overactive thyroid:
- Radioactive iodine method to decrease your thyroid hormone levels.
- Beta-blockers reduce the sudden heart rate developed due to high thyroid hormones.
- Adding anti-thyroid medications to stop the overproduction of hormones.
A TSH reflex test can diagnose and monitor your thyroid conditions if you are experiencing hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. You can take an online consultation if you see the symptoms of thyroid disorders.