Anyone know anything about TSH levels (thyroid)?

sue36February 22, 2007

As part of my annual physical my doctor ran a TSH test (along with cholesterol, sugar, etc.). She told me it was "normal", and I asked what the number was and she said 2.23. She said that is right in the mid-range. But when I looked into it online, different articles seemed to indicate that it is considered high if over 1.7 or 2. Another article said you should be under 2 (preferably closer to 1) if trying to conceive. Several articles said any higher and you would have trouble conceiving (which I'm having) or maintaining a pregnancy (I've lost one in the first trimester).

Anyone know the real scoop? Thanks.

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You need to actually see the lab result as every lab uses their own standard and what is "high" in one lab is not with the way another does the test. Here is an excerpt that may help. There is a lot of controversy about what is "normal". See the article I linked to. ( I am an RN. I hope you can get some good answers )

As of early 2006, at most laboratories in the U.S., the official "normal" Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) blood test range runs from approximately .5 to 5.0.
Reference range is a critical component, and the validity of the entire TSH test as diagnostic tool depends on it. TSH reference range is what determines -- for the vast majority of physicians, who rely on blood tests almost exclusively -- whether or not thyroid disease is even diagnosed at all, much less treated, and when diagnosed, how it is treated.

Here is a link that might be useful: TSH

    Bookmark   February 22, 2007 at 8:31PM
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Would the lab report show anything other than the result (2.23)?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 9:34AM
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Yes the lab report shows the "reference" scale that the lab is using. As I said the labs us different "norms". So Lab Corps has one and Quest has another and your Dr's lab in house may have another if they didn't send it off. So you do need to do a little more research with your MD.

I don't know if you are seeing your GP for this or your OB-GYN as you said you have issues with pregnancy etc. I would hope that they are all working together to assist you with that issue.

It is sometimes hard to find the right "tone" to take with your MD when questioning their facts . If they get defensive then you might want to consider a different MD> I am a patient advocate so I STRONGLY believe they are there to answer many as you have til you are satisfied.

I will try looking up some more stuff to post to you if you would like. I am by no means a specialist but I do believe in reading and asking questions. Caroline

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 10:08AM
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You hit the nail on the head. I go to Mass General, and there is a huge waiting list to get a primary care physician there, so I consider myself lucky to have one (sad, isn't it?). The last thing I want to do is get her annoyed and then find that she thinks I "would do better with another doctor". Having a primary there is the key to quickly getting in with the best specialists. I am waiting for my initial appointment with the fertility specialist, it's very soon.

Maybe I could call the doctor's nurse and ask her to fax it to me.

Thanks for the help.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 12:46PM
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Don't be surprised if you are told that you cannot be provided with the reference scale for your lab.

Of course, you will tell them it is in reference to your test, you paid for the test and you will be glad to pay for any reasonable copying charge, but you are certainly entitled to anything out of your chart you ask for. Supervisor, please!?

I had to do this with my RA test. Nobody wanted to release bad news, or results subject to interpretation. Sometimes it's easier for them to tell people "No"- most won't persue it.

Good thing lawyers don't take "No" for an answer.

Best of luck, Sue!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 1:11PM
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I'm very sorry for your loss.
My sister-in-law had the same problem but she managed to carry my neice to full term after many miscarrages. Her doctor said that she was a "miracle baby" because my SIL's level was so abnormal . She was never able to go full term again.
Both my parents had thyroid cancer and both my brothers are on thyroid medication. I seem to be the only one with no problems and I get it checked every year.
I think in my family, weight might have alot to do with.
I've always watched my weight and exercised, while the rest of my family tends to be large, close to obese, including my SIL.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2007 at 2:29PM
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Nancy Adamopoulos

Sorry to hear about your loss...

If you're really concerned about your TSH level, have your MD check a "Free T4" and "Free T3" level. I'm a physician(Internal Med) and I usually will check these 2 confirmatory tests if I get an abnormal or borderline TSH level back from the lab. Generally, the reference range for the TSH goes up to about 4.5-5 depending on the lab. The American association of Endocrinologists, have made some recommendations to lower the range to about 2.5-3. This is not common practice yet among primary care physicians.

FWIW, I had a TSH level of 6.5 just prior to getting pregnant(It has since "normalized" but is still in the mid 3's), but my free T4 and free T3 levels were in the normal range.

I'm sure the fertility specialist will run the whole gamut of thyroid screening tests and other hormonal markers when you see him/her.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 1:11PM
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Thanks Lishaana. I have my first appointment on Monday. It took me over and hour to fill out all the paperwork! I was reading some of the questions to DH, and we were dying laughing. So embarrassing.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 9:39PM
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Hang in there. My miracle babies will be 4 in june. The pain of fertility issues is such a roller coster. Rember to love eachother through it. It is so easy to get lost in the process. Remember the amazing love that you have for your partner that is driving your desire to bring children into the world. Hold onto that through everything. That alone is such a gift. Ok, now I am down off my soapbox. Prayers for you.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 11:28PM
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