Criteria for Treating Borderline Underactive Thyroid

Q: I am a 14 years old girl having my TSH level 10. What to do and what problems will arise in future?
-By Ashima

Reply:

Normal TSH level ranges between 2-11 mIU/L. Though a value of 10 is within the range, it is definitely on the higher side for your age.

TSH value of 6 or more are considered to be on higher side. They can be grouped under sub-clinical hypothyroidism.

A higher TSH level suggest an under-active thyroid gland. TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) stimulates the thyroid gland to produce more T3 and T4. T3 and T4 are active thyroid hormone.

So high value of TSH means that your gland needs more stimulation to secrete active hormone. This suggests that your gland is under-active.

Doctors usually do not start any treatment till TSH level is 11. However, if you have any symptom suggesting hypothyroidism, your hypothyroidism would be grouped under clinical category and should be treated.

Clinical Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

  • Fatigue, feeling of tiredness all the time
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss, thinning of hair
  • Dryness of hair and skin
  • Forgetfulness, having depressing thoughts often
  • Pain in joints or muscles

If you have any of the above mentioned symptoms, discuss taking medicine for hypothyroidism with your doctor.

Treatment is taking synthetic thyroid hormone, Synthyroid, by the patient for sometime, till the gland becomes normal again.

If, however, you don’t have any clinical symptom, you don’t need any treatment. It would be a good idea to get the TSH level checked again after 3 months, just to assure that everything is fine.

Sub-clinical hypothyroidism has the potential to convert into clinical one after sometime if left untreated.

Major Future Complications of Hypothyroidism

  • Infertility
  • Premature birth of the baby after conception
  • Miscarriage
  • Baby’s brain development may not be proper
  • Weight gain
  • Aches in muscles and joints

All these symptoms come only if hypothyroidism is left untreated.

Take Care,

Buddy M.D.

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “Subclinical Hypothyroidism- TSH Levels and Treatment

  1. Kimberly Green

    Hello, I have a thyroid problem. I did get a biopsy done and a cyst was found in my throat. I was told that it wasn’t serious but to get checked once a year for it.

    Lately my throat has been bugging me. At first, I thought it was probably because I was getting a cold or something. But I haven’t had any symptoms.

    The past couple of days I’ve been feeling really tired with my throat bugging me. Could this be because of the cyst or thyroid that I need to get checked?

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Looks like your thyroid problem is troubling you. Are you taking any medication for it?

      What kind of thyroid problem do you have?

      Reply
  2. Kimberly Green

    No, they never prescribed any sort of medications. I was told that it was hypothyroidism, something like that and I had to get my hormones checked as well.

    But I was told everything was okay. So I’m not sure if I should go and get checked just in case?

    Reply
    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Your symptoms do point towards hypothyroidism. It would be better to get your thyroid problem assessed first.

      You may read above about clinical and subclinical hypothyroid states.

      In hypothyroid states, the TSH levels are high. Normal levels of this hormone are somewhere between 2 to 11mlU/L.

      May be your TSH level was within limits, so medications were not given. However, you still had some subclinical hypothyroid state in your body.

      It is suggested that if symptoms clue a hypothyroid state, the threshold TSH level to start the medication is reduced to 6mlU/L.

      You may discuss your symptoms with your doctor and get your blood levels for this hormone checked up. It would be good to rule out hypothyroidism.

      Read more on hypothyroidism.

      Reply