Thyroid-stimulating hormone, or TSH, is a hormone that stimulates the thyroid to secrete hormones necessary for proper metabolism. It is produced by the pituitary gland, and high levels of TSH are indicative of hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid. You will need to lower you TSH levels to reduce the risk of hypothyroid symptoms such as fatigue, constipation, cold intolerance, hoarseness and a puffy facial appearance. In addition, an underactive thyroid can cause high blood lipids and increase your risk for heart disease.
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Get a physical. Schedule an appointment with your doctor for a comprehensive physical examination to determine your TSH levels. Your doctor will order blood tests and recommend a treatment plan based on the results of your tests.
Take your prescription thyroid medication. Your doctor may prescribe a common medication, such as Synthroid, to bring down your TSH level and regulate your thyroid gland. You will need to periodically have your thyroid hormone levels checked to make sure the dosage you are receiving is appropriate for your condition.
Stay away from soy products. Experts from the University of Maryland Medical Center say eating soy products can reduce the efficacy of your thyroid medication. When your medication does not work as it should, your TSH levels will not normalise. Check with your doctor before you consume products that contain soy.
Ask your doctor about fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation and boost your immunity. Hypothyroidism is frequently accompanied by a goitre, which is a swelling of the front of the neck. By reducing this inflammation, your TSH levels should go down. Ask your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking fish oil supplements before you take them because they can thin your blood and promote bleeding.
Talk to your doctor about surgery. When other treatments are ineffective in reducing your TSH levels and normalising your hypothyroidism, surgery may be your next option. Surgical intervention for thyroid abnormalities include removal of part or all of your thyroid gland. If you opt for surgery, you will need to take thyroid replacement therapy indefinitely.
Tips and warnings
- Limit your consumption of broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower if you have symptoms of hypothyroidism. These foods, in addition to spinach, peanuts and kale, can interfere with normal thyroid function and raise your TSH level.
- Never stop taking your thyroid medication unless instructed by your doctor. If you stop taking your medication, your TSH levels will again rise, putting you at risk for high cholesterol, blocked arteries and cardiovascular disease.
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