TSH, also known as thyroid stimulating hormone, is a laboratory test performed through blood serum. In 2002, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) recommended the normal TSH level should range between 0.3 to 3.0 milli-international units per litre.
TSH is measured to diagnose a thyroid disorder. The symptoms of thyroid disorders may include an enlarged thyroid gland, irregular heartbeat, increase sweating, hair loss, and increase or decrease of appetite.
If the TSH level is not within normal range, a patient could be diagnosed with an underactive thyroid--- hypothyroidism---when TSH is lower than normal. Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, is diagnosed when levels are higher than normal.
Hypothyroidism often is treated with a synthetic thyroid hormone called levothyroxine. Radioactive iodine, an oral tablet that shrinks the thyroid; anti-thyroid medications; beta blockers; and surgery are treatment options for hyperthyroidism, according to the AACE.
Normal TSH levels prior to the change in 2002 ranged between 0.5 to 5.0 mIU/L. These levels are still used in some laboratories and doctors' offices.
Taking certain medications, such as aspirin or thyroid hormone; stress; acute illness or pregnancy have the potential to alter a TSH test. When adjusting the dosage, it is advised to wait a minimum of one to two months prior to retesting.
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