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    Old 10-04-2006, 06:31 PM   #1
    younggranny
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    what is normal range

    i was just wondering what is the normal range for the tsh. I know that the doctors think everything is fine if it is below 5.5, but what is the range that most people feel good at..Mine started out at 5.6 and after being put on medication it went to 2.8 which i felt pretty good ...but now I'm feeling tired, achy muscles and some hair loss. so i had it checked again and i got a thing in the mail saying tsh was 3.6-Normal. MY doctor only checks the tsh..So i would like to know what level most people feel good at...Thanks

     
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    Old 10-04-2006, 07:00 PM   #2
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    Re: what is normal range

    Hi, The TSH test is just not a good test for thyroid function. It might be okay for your first test, but after taking thyroid medication the TSH is going to be suppressed. The test you really need to see what your thyroid is actually producing are the Frees. This the the Ft4 and Ft3, and I feel great with these being in the upper 1/3 of the range.

    Believe me, you will never get well dosing by the TSH test.
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    Old 10-04-2006, 07:09 PM   #3
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    Re: what is normal range

    Does most family doctors check only the tsh. Do i need to go to an endocrinologist

     
    Old 10-04-2006, 09:01 PM   #4
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    Re: what is normal range

    People in treatment tend to feel best when TSH is 1 or lower. Your doctor is misguided, at best. However, endos are even stauncher TSH-watchers, in general.
    If you have access to a general practice osteopathic physician (DO as opposed to an MD), try him/her. They practice holistically and usually know more about treating thyroid than the average endo who treats mainly diabetes.

     
    Old 10-05-2006, 04:30 AM   #5
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    Talking Re: what is normal range

    It makes me when I hear normal from a Dr!! There is SUCH a descrepancy as to what NORMAL is !?? If you feel like crud, a Dr should be treating THAT *not* STICKing to the bleepin bloodwork!

    Finding a Doc who LISTENS is key. When I was having trouble with primecare Dr#1 over Thy issues, my local medical group office suggested another pc-Dr#2. I was with her 5 months, until she refused to let me try a simple meds fix. By then, my T4's were "Low" by LAB standards That's when I remembered Doc#3 that was mentioned some months ago.

    Dr#3 (in 8 months mind you) is one of Osteopathic Medicine. He had no qualms letting me TRY my simple med fix. I hope this one continues to listen , , ,

    Educate youself as knowledge is POWER. Read everything you can - there are GREAT websites. You could get a copy of "Thyroid for Dummies" I'd try another Doc, weather they're of reg primecare variety or one of Osteopathic med.

    Keep us posted,
    Sue

     
    Old 10-05-2006, 10:17 AM   #6
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    Re: what is normal range

    Right at the moment, mine happens to be 0.015, according to my lab sheet, range being 0.35 - 5.50. Doesn't matter to me what it is. What matters is how I feel. And I feel the best I have in YEARS. My FT-3 and 4 are in range.

    I sleep well. When my TSH was 4.75 I slept horribly. My pulse is good, my BP is nice and low. Many Drs. would call me HYPER

     
    Old 10-05-2006, 01:51 PM   #7
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    Re: what is normal range

    sounds like to me , the lower the number the better you feel...is there anyone with 3.6 that feels really good. How long does it take to start feeling good after you get an adjustment in your medication. My worst thing right now is my hair falling out..Maybe it is because i got a perm and it was to hard on my hair..In the mornings i have lots of enery but by 4pm i could fall to sleep

     
    Old 10-05-2006, 01:55 PM   #8
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    Re: what is normal range

    Opinions differ among doctors as to what is the normal range for TSH. Some go by the ranges from the labs. Others accept American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists guidelines, which are more narrow than the ranges used by many labs. My doctor, and many others, like to see TSH between 1 and 2. Many people swear they feel their best closer to 1 than to 2. There is likely a point where a person is healthy and a much finer point where many individuals "feel" best, a very individual thing.

    My doc said, while I was within "normal range" at my last lab with a result of 2.7, he prefers to "tweak the TSH" to between 1 and 2. It has been nearly the required 8 weeks for me since that 2.7 lab and the dose increase from 75mcgs to 88 mcgs Levothroid. I am just guessing I'm around 2 now.

    Between every test I felt pretty rotten, many of the original symptoms returned. I felt rotten until just before the last lab with the 2.7 TSH level and I actually felt fairly good for a few days before that lab. The dose was then increased from 75 to 88mcgs and I went hypo again. He told me to wait 8 weeks this time before returning for the next lab. It really did take longer this time to start feeling better (I have to wonder how he knew that.)

    Previously, he had me wait only six weeks and I started feeling better before that time was up. This time it took over 7 weeks to become somewhat human. Not everyone goes through this, I have noticed. That may all be more pronounced for me because I am older than most and went undiagnosed for a decade or two.

    Anyway, I'll go in for another test soon. Whatever level I'm at, I have to say I'm feeling so tremendously much better than when I started this process in May. I still want a nap most afternoons. Not every afternoon and not a long one anymore, but that may not be so abnormal for a retired 62-year old woman. I still have some fibro-like pains and, although my CTS symptoms are greatly improved, I do sometimes have some of that in my right hand after sleeping and it takes awhile for it to go away after awakening. Only occasionally now, not every time I sleep or use the computer or mow the lawn.

    If this TSH is closer to 2 than 1, I will definitely try to persuade my doctor to do some more "tweaking," if he doesn't volunteer to do that himself. We have good rapport, so I think he will cooperate with any reasonable request I make. Once all that is done and we've done what we can using the TSH labs, if I still feel symptoms could improve, I'll talk to him about using other tests, find out his opinions on fT3, FT4 and other labs, whether he ever sees a need to add T3 meds. We're just not there yet.

    I definitely was still feeling major and debilitating symptoms before I reached the 2.7 level, however. Because of that experience, I am thinking your issue is not so much the fact you're seeing TSH only, but that your doctor has just not yet medicated you enough and your TSH lab is shouting that information accurately.

    I'm not saying there is anything wrong with other labs. I just don't think that is an issue for either you or me at this point. If I were you, I would want a doctor to do some more of what my doc calls "tweaking the TSH" before I worried much about having other labs done. If I had to go to another doc, couldn't persuade the current one, I would do that. If the new doc does other tests, too, great. If the new doc does only TSH, if I were you and based only on my experience so far, I wouldn't be concerned about that at this point.

    So far, I seem to be getting well being treated by a doctor who hasn't seen a need for more than the TSH lab. Feeling better is the important part.

     
    Old 10-05-2006, 07:28 PM   #9
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    Re: what is normal range

    Younggranny, I think I'm a unique patient on this board, as the TSH is very valuable to me to determine my dosage of meds. Many feel that is not the route to go, but for me it is a real indicator of the proper dosage. I feel best when my TSH is around "1 - 1.2 ish". If it goes much higher I feel tired and sluggish, if it goes much lower I end up with horrible acid reflux. I really think if it is much lower than "1" my metabolism runs too fast, and thus more acid in my stomach. I also have a hard time sleeping when my TSH is suppressed. For me the FT3 and FT4 tests have not been as useful as the TSH. (I have had them done several times and they have usually been just a tad lower than the midddle of the range) I also do not do well on T3 therapy, I respond better to just Synthroid alone. But that's only me as an individual, maybe I just don't need to fine tune things as much as others do by using the FT3 and FT4 labs.

    Erinbeth has some great advice, her post is full of common sense. IMO, it seems that your TSH is still on the high side for you to feel good, that may be corrected by "tweaking" your dosage of thyroid hormone replacement meds. Even though your TSH labs are within the "normal" range, you as an individual may feel better with it a little lower. Your post doesn't mention what medication you are on, or what dosage you are at. If you are on a T4 only med., like Synthroid, you may just need an increase of dosage. Ask your doctor to increase your dosage and see how you feel. If you feel better you know you are on the right track. Best of luck to you, and keep us posted to your progress.

     
    Old 10-17-2006, 04:25 AM   #10
    Jane in England
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    Re: what is normal range

    Hi Red Maple

    No you are not alone out there. I too use my TSH and it is a great measure of how I am feeling .. I know that to feel my best I need to be around 1.4 - 1.6. If I got down to 0. something it is not good as I start getting (very mild) symptoms over over-active ... !! and I also get itchy skin.

    What I would like to say is that it is very individual and we all need to learn what is best for us .. Luckily I have a good GP who knows that I know best how I am feeling.

    Jane

     
    Old 10-17-2006, 06:55 AM   #11
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    Re: what is normal range

    IMO and many others I know is that the Ft4 and Ft3 show the actual circulating thyroid hormones in the bloodstream. The TSH can fluctuate during the day.

    TSH may be a good test at first, but once you are placed on thyroid medicine it is going to be suppressed to who knows where.
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    Old 10-17-2006, 02:20 PM   #12
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    Re: what is normal range

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lady50
    IMO and many others I know is that the Ft4 and Ft3 show the actual circulating thyroid hormones in the bloodstream. The TSH can fluctuate during the day.
    I have heard that the TSH is generally higher in the morning, lower at night, although I couldn't prove that by my experience since I don't have TSH tests often enough to make anything close to a scientific observation. My labs were done at these intervals: six weeks; six weeks; eight weeks; and now three months. At $86 per test, I can't really afford to have them done several times a day to see what happens during the day.

    What I know is that I always have my TSH lab done in the mornings as close to the same time as possible. The key is consistency for me. What I have noticed is that with each dose increase (Levothroid in my case), there is a consistent amount of decrease in TSH. Steady and consistent is what I have noticed. I am learning it is a very good diagnostic tool for both my doc and for me. The TSH has decreased a very consistent amount each time in relation to the dose increase prescribed.

    With this last increase to 100 mcg Levothroid (after a TSH result of 1.9), I may very well be at an optimum dose for me, if the six days I have been on this dose is any indication. I won't have another lab done now until January, but I am predicting my TSH will be very close to 1 (1 to 1.2.) I predicted 2 for my last lab (before it was done) and it came out 1.9.

    My doctor says TSH is the best diagnostic tool in treatment of an underactive thyroid in most cases. In my case it has been an excellent tool. While I think it would be interesting to see results of FT3 and FT4 tests, it has not been necessary thus far in my treatment.

    And I am, BTW, feeling terrific! Far better than I have felt in a decade and a half, better than I thought any 62-year-old woman could ever dream of feeling!

    I only say this because there are continually newly diagnosed people frequenting this board looking for information. Their doctors may or may not do other than TSH tests routinely. That will often depend on health insurance plans, but also on that doctor's philosophy. Some of those doctors will add more tests on request. Some will not without seeing a medical need for them.

    I would hate for people to spend money switching doctors, switching meds, and/or paying for tests not needed because of unnecessary fear. This is why I keep repeating my experience. I started frequenting this board five months ago with a TSH of 6.4, probably had been undiagnosed hypoT for a decade or two. I had every possible symptom. I thought I was dying. My doctor, who is not an endo, diagnosed me based on TSH. He prescribed a synthetic, Levothroid. He has used nothing but the TSH and listening to my symptoms to diagnose me and I am getting very well with that treatment, taking only a T4 synthetic hormone.

    If your doctor is treating you in that way, please give him/her a chance (six or eight months), follow directions carefully and be patient. If that doesn't get you better and your doctor quits trying to help you, that would be a good time to get upset and go shopping for another doctor. In my case, my doctor assured me he would do additional tests if warranted, but only then. Although FT3 and FT4 results would interest me, I don't see how they would have helped me feel better.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lady50
    TSH may be a good test at first, but once you are placed on thyroid medicine it is going to be suppressed to who knows where.

    I have been on Levothroid since May 9, 2006. My TSH is not suppressed and it is a very accurate gauge for me and my doctor in my treatment.

     
    Old 10-18-2006, 10:20 AM   #13
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    Re: what is normal range

    ErinBeth, thank you so much for your common sense and voice of reason in your posts. Though many people use a variety of lab tests for their treatment with great success; there are also many of us out here who don't need additional labs other than a TSH, nor do we need or want the costs and hassels associated with them. We are also successful in our methods of treatment. Thank you for your respect for all of us as individuals with our own unique needs and preferences in thyroid treatment. I wish you great success in your on-going treatment!

    Last edited by Red Maple; 10-18-2006 at 10:31 AM. Reason: spelling

     
    Old 10-18-2006, 10:46 AM   #14
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    Re: what is normal range

    Thank you, Red Maple. I appreciate the same good reason and consideration for others in your posts and the kind cheer which spills over from you on the rest of us.

    You have helped me stay encouraged and hopeful throughout this rather tedious and tiring leveling process. Now that I seem to be seeing the light at the end of a tunnel, I am glad I read your posts and held on.

    I do admit to sometimes wondering if I would get well when so many seemed to be saying my doctor doesn't know what he is doing. I think we need to be very careful about giving that impression. We need to remember we don't know everything about someone else's condition, medical history, medical team, etc. We can each only really speak about our own situation and, sharing that, hope it can help someone else. If I have learned anything following the messages here, it is that not all treatments are right for everyone, but that many of us "typical hypoTs" could probably get well with various meds and with/without a number of different tests. Once well, we can be sure the path we followed was a successful one, but we have no way of knowing we wouldn't have reached that same wellness with a different med or different diagnostic approach.

    What I have found most helpful going through this is posts from people who describe as well as they can their situation, what is being done, how they feel at each step. I have particularly appreciated those who follow up and tell the story from beginning to resolution, whatever that might be. The more detail given, the better for me to determine if that experience might be closely related to mine, or not. It didn't take long to determine your story was a good one to follow. I did and it gave me hope. I'm glad you took the time to tell it.

    Last edited by ErinBeth; 10-18-2006 at 10:51 AM.

     
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