What does a high TSH reading mean?

what does a slightly high tsh mean

What does a elevated TSH mean? Elevated levels of TSH in the blood stream normally signify that the thyroid is underperforming. Elevated TSH levels are a typical signal of hypothyroidism that will need medical treatment to prevent possible health dangers.

TSH or thyroid stimulating hormonal agent is a hormonal agent produced in the anterior pituitary gland. This is utilized to help promote the thyroid to produce triiodothyronine (T3) or thyroxine (T4), hormonal agents that help promote the metabolism. If your pituitary gland is producing TSH trying to stimulate the thyroid however the thyroid does not react, it can lead to an extreme quantity of TSH in the bloodstream. This can be caused by stress, illness, an obstruction or surgery causing the thyroid to malfunction or be slow.

What is a TSH Test?

A TSH test is a laboratory test that evaluates your blood to figure out the body’s general TSH levels. If you begin to show signs of a malfunctioning thyroid your doctor my order a test to check for the TSH levels in your system. If these show a high level of TSH you may have a sluggish thyroid, however low levels of TSH signal that your thyroid might be overactive.

During a TSH test, your doctor will take a blood sample to inspect the hormonal agent levels. A needle will be put in a disinfected are of your arm, then connected to a tube to gather the blood. After this is completed the needle eliminated and you will be asked to put pressure and a bandage on the site to stop the bleeding. Sometimes an elastic band may be put around the arm to make it simpler to gather the blood. You need to not feel a large amount of pain from the rubber band or the needle, though you might develop a bruise at the injection site.

Your doctor will be focusing on the two hormonal agents that manage the metabolic process, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). Outcomes of the TSH test are normally offered 2-3 days after the test is provided. If your hormones do not fall within a healthy range your doctor will describe what may be failing and what you can do treat this condition.

What is the Normal Range of TSH?

There are a variety of levels that your TSH levels can be. Learning what these levels imply will help you deal with your doctor to resolve your condition effectively.

Normal TSH

Adults need to have TSH hormone levels that vary from 0.4-4.2 mU/L. This shows that the signals from your pituitary gland match the activity of your thyroid gland. Your doctor will use this hormone level together with the other signals and side affects you may be revealing to identify if there is an underlying health problem at hand.


Low TSH levels can be a sign that you are dealing with an overactive thyroid gland from conditions such as goiter, noncancerous tumors or Graves’s disease. The thyroid may likewise end up being overactive during the first trimester of pregnancy. If you are currently being treated for thyroid problems, you might develop low TSH levels if you are taking too much thyroid medication. If you are disappointing signs of overactive thyroid you may have harmed the pituitary gland, causing it to produce less TSH

Elevated TSH

High levels of TSH are typically caused by an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism. This is generally brought on by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. If you are currently being treated for a thyroid condition this can be a sign that you have to increase your medication. In uncommon cases, you might be revealing elevated TSH levels since you have established a growth that is triggering the pituitary gland to over-produce TSH.

Conditions that Cause Elevated TSH

Once it is determined that you have elevated levels of TSH in your system, your doctor will begin limiting what is triggering the problem.

  • Hypothyroidism – Hypothyroidism is a condition that is defined by your body cannot produce adequate hormones to properly manage your metabolism. Patients dealing with this condition will generally experience dry skin, increased sensitivity to cold, thinning hear, impaired memory, muscle pains, puffy face, unexplained weight gain, constipation, fatigue, hoarseness, elevated cholesterol, irregular menstrual periods or depression. A number of circumstances such as surgery, taking psychiatric medications, radiation therapy or an autoimmune disease can cause this condition. Hypothyroidism is usually handled with medication that will synthetically replace these hormones.
  • Pituitary Tumors – In uncommon cases, very high TSH levels are a sign that your pituitary gland is not operating effectively. In many cases this is due to the fact that a group of cells has started to grow on top of the gland. In most cases these growths are not cancerous, but they can cause disturbance in your bodily functions that can result in other unfavorable side effects which might be harmful to the body. The overproduction of TSH can cause an overactive thyroid.
  • Thyroid Disorder – Thyroid conditions such as bigger thyroid gland, cancer or abnormal hormonal agent production can cause the thyroid to operate badly. A few of these conditions are safe, but numerous will need medical intervention to prevent unpleasant side effects such as a slow metabolism that will lead to damage throughout the body.

Last Update - September 23, 2017


The Author

Reyus Mammadli

As a healthy lifestyle advisor I try to guide individuals in becoming more aware of living well and healthy through a series of proactive and preventive measures, disease prevention steps, recovery after illness or medical procedures. Education: Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.

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