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Old 12-05-2004, 11:19 AM   #1
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"Normal" TSH range

I just wondered what could be considered a normal TSH result? At my local pathology lab, the range is 0.5-5.0. But I heard elsewhere the range is different. Why is that the case? How could someone with a TSH of 5 be normal in one place and hypothyroid in another?! That's crazy.

 
Old 12-05-2004, 02:53 PM   #2
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Re: "Normal" TSH range

I know I've seen this explained here before, but I don't remember all the details. I think it has something to do with the range being set according to the average TSH of a certain number of people measured, those who are healthy and those who have thyroid disease. The problem with the broad range starts with the inaccuracy in diagnosis of disease... where it's called "subclinical". The people who are inaccurately considered "subclinically" sick are thrown into the mix with those who are clearly healthy.... Therefore the range becomes far too wide. Hope that was somewhat easy to understand.

No matter what range a lab uses, if you're above 2.0, you're probably hypothyroid and deserve a trial of med, according to the American Assn. of Clinical Endocrinologists.

 
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Old 12-05-2004, 05:15 PM   #3
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Re: "Normal" TSH range

See the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists newsletter regarding the TSH range here: [url]http://www.thyroidtoday.com/TTLibrary/current/AACE%20Newsletter.pdf[/url]
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Old 12-06-2004, 01:34 AM   #4
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Re: "Normal" TSH range

Thanks for your replies. The AACE newsletter was fascinating. I have a whole host of symptoms that could be considered "hypothyroid" and yet I've been diagnosed with CFS based on a TSH of 2.17, which is supposedly within normal range.

 
Old 12-06-2004, 06:24 AM   #5
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Re: "Normal" TSH range

HI kiya. If you are having hypothyroid symptoms ask to have your Free T4 and Free T3 checked also. If you have a good doc this could help them see if there is a thyroid problem. Good Luck!

 
Old 12-16-2004, 05:38 PM   #6
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Re: "Normal" TSH range

Hello all! I have had a terrible time trying to convince my doctors that the aace has recently changed the TSH range criteria for hypothyroidism. I even brought them the article from the newsletter!

My entire maternal side of the family is hypo and on medication.

My TSH is 3.12 and I definately have symptoms (am currently experiencing my 4th miscarriage).

My T3, total is 168 and my T4 free is 1.1 so they both fall within the normal range.

With the new TSH range my levels are slightly above normal. So with my family history, symptoms and levels you would think they would just diagnose me. Well, it hasn't happened yet and since they feel my levels are normal they won't send me to an endo either .

I wish the best for you!

Love and Prayers, Kelly

 
Old 12-16-2004, 05:49 PM   #7
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Re: "Normal" TSH range

Kelly, can you switch doctors? Traditional doctors don't seem to do well with thyroid disease. Many find they get better results from naturopaths or osteopaths. These doctors look at the whole patient and don't just treat lab results. When it comes to thyroid having the right doctor makes all the difference in the world, IMHO.

Nat
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Old 12-17-2004, 01:56 AM   #8
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Re: "Normal" TSH range

Hi Kelly

Nat's right, you need to find a supportive doctor who will at least refer you to an endo. Unfortunately, even though AACE revised the TSH normal range, local labs in different countries still have older ranges and the doctors stick to these as if their lives depended on it.

What I find quite odd (and also quite appalling) is that doctors will wait, watching a patient's TSH get higher and higher, waiting until it's outside normal range to treat them and yet the patient has to cope with months/years of hypo symptoms.

 
Old 12-17-2004, 06:03 AM   #9
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Re: "Normal" TSH range

Kiya, that's the difference between a bad doctor and a good one. Not many of them are into 'preventative' medicine. This is the conversation I had with my Endo on my first visit; she said she'd rather help me out now than let me get really sick and have to come back a longer road. Albeit my TSH was 4.27 (it was really 6.3 but we didn't have that test at the time of the visit) and she didn't think it was 'too high' - she was willing to treat me. Unfortunately she thinks my TSH is fine and said if my FT4 goes any higher I'll become hyper (it's exactly in the middle of the range right now).

Suffice it to say I've since found a Complimentary Clinic with a compounding pharmacy filled with really helpful and wonderful doctors, pharmacists, biochemists and nurses, and when I told them I'd increased my own meds and by how much they said "Well, that is exactly what we would have done". In Canada you get what you pay for, and I'm paying for this, but it's been worth every penny.
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Old 12-17-2004, 06:15 AM   #10
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Re: "Normal" TSH range

HI - Just a quick note to let you know not to get too upset about not getting a referral to an endo-most of the time they are not any better! My daughter had a similar TSH (3.89) and we went through 2 docs and an endo and were told she was fine! I continued to research and interview doctors and have finally found one that is now treating her. I believe many times those who have a slightly elevated TSH suffer worse symptoms, so don't give up!

 
Old 12-17-2004, 06:56 AM   #11
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Re: "Normal" TSH range

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASDGRMama
Hello all! I have had a terrible time trying to convince my doctors that the aace has recently changed the TSH range criteria for hypothyroidism. I even brought them the article from the newsletter!

My entire maternal side of the family is hypo and on medication.

My TSH is 3.12 and I definately have symptoms (am currently experiencing my 4th miscarriage)
I hope you're still following this thread, ASDG...

Go to the library or bookstore and find Mary Shomon's book, Living Well With Hypothyroidism. In it, she describes her own experience trying to conceive. She found an endo with vast experience helping people to become pregnant. This endo has found the optimal TSH to conceive and sustain a pregnancy is between 1 and 2. There is information in the book, too, on how thyroid antibodies play into the mix. With your strong family history, it's quite likely you have the form of hypoT caused by autoantibodies.

Find a better doctor. It's unconscionable that yours is permitting you miscarry time and time again. Either insist that he test your thyroid antibodies (TPO and Tg), as well as your TSH and free hormones, not total hormones; or please find a doctor who will.
You don't have to suffer this cruelty any longer.
Let us know if you've seen my message. I'm concerned about you.

 
Old 02-21-2005, 05:33 PM   #12
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Re: "Normal" TSH range

Hello Midwest! So sorry it's taken me months to reply!! I haven't been to any doctor's outside of my OB (having continued bleeding from miscarriages one in November and another in December). I just needed to avoid them all for a little while. It seemed like my whole life was consumed with trying to find answers. I needed to take a break and prioritize (although it's hard when you feel crummy).

Anyway, I think I'm ready to get back in the ring so to speak. I'm going to look up that book; I so appreciate the suggestion!!

Your concern touched my heart and I'm so thankful for your post.

Love and Prayers, Kelly

 
Old 02-21-2005, 09:06 PM   #13
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Re: "Normal" TSH range

Dear Kelly,
I had hope that you'd see my reply. So glad you actually did.
HypoT runs in my family too. My mom miscarried twins. My firstborn was two months premature... One sister has had numerous miscarriages and a stillborn. I'm convinced by the reading I've done (but will never be able to prove) that our pregnancy misfortunes might be connected to TPO antibodies.

Once you're ready to try again, I suggest you enlist the help of your OB. If you haven't yet told her about the family 'curse', you definitely should. Tell her you're aware that low thyroid and thyroid antibodies can cause fertility and pregnancy problems and you want to pursue that angle.
Health pros of any speciality can be allies in the thyroid fight. My adult daughter never regularly saw a doctor, although she has felt unwell for years. Finally, when she saw a super-smart podiatrist, he ordered a TSH test after hearing her history of symptoms. A foot doctor was responsible for her thyroid diagnosis. It still amazes me.
Anyway, enough blah-blahing about me....
I hope you'll continue to let me know how you're doing. Wishing you a happy, healthy baby... mw

 
Old 02-22-2005, 01:16 PM   #14
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Re: "Normal" TSH range

I just wanted to add to this discussion. I am one of those whose TSH has never gone very high according to most labs' reference ranges, but I have been miserable for years with what I now now is Hashi's/hypoT). All of my female relatives have hypoT or Hashi's. For years, starting during my 2nd pregnancy, I have suffered from intense fatigue (hence my screen name). I also had a lot of the other symptoms -- hair loss, dry skin, depression, anxiety, intolerance to cold. I was miserable.

I kept getting my thyroid tested. I was repeatedly told it was "normal." I couldn't imagine what was wrong with me! I even saw an endo -- same story, TSH normal (although she did tell me I had what she called a "genetic marker" for Hashimoto's -- turns out I had antibodies.) I found this site early this year when I noticed that my fatigue was getting even worse -- sleeping 12 hours, then taking naps, not being able to stay awake at work. I decided not only to get a new thyroid panel done, but also to get a copy of my results. I had a TSH of 3.18 and very low normal free T4; endo refused to do a free T3.

At that time, I was begging to be treated. The endo said "I can give you medicine, but it won't make you feel better." Rather than debate with her, I said, I will take you up on your offer of the medicine. She gave me synthroid 50 mcg. That was 2-1/2 weeks ago. I am already feeling much better -- more energy, sleeping somewhat less, less brain fog.

I found a different doc now to take over my thyroid treatment. I tell you this to show you that you CAN be hypo with a TSH of less than 4 or 5. And you may well feel awful! Do not let docs convince you that it CAN'T be your thyroid just because your TSH isn't stratospheric. Get your lab results, take the AACE announcement to your doc -- push, push, push! You may not feel like doing it, but you have to for your health!

Fatiguegalore

 
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