What is a TSH Blood Test, and When Should You Take It?

For many, the thyroid gland can be the often overlooked cause of a host of health challenges. The good news is that a simple TSH blood test can provide the clarity you need to make major strides in your health journey.

What the thyroid does

Positioned at the front of the neck just below Adam’s apple, the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland spread to both sides of the windpipe. As part of a complex system that regulates the hormones in the body, the thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism, heart rate, muscle, digestive operation, brain development, and bone health.

The goal of the thyroid gland is to keep your body in equilibrium. Unfortunately, there are certain things that can prevent it from functioning properly.

Symptoms of thyroid dysfunction

Worldwide, nearly 200 million people are impacted by varying degrees of thyroid disease.

Signs of thyroid malfunction can be

  • weight gain
  • Weight loss
  • slower heart rate
  • Faster heart rate
  • fatigue
  • more frequent menstrual periods
  • forgetfulness
  • dry skin and hair
  • hoarse voice and intolerance of cold

TSH blood tests

The best way to check thyroid function is to measure the TSH level in a blood sample. This can serve as a gauge of whether your thyroid hormones in the body are too high or too low.

High TSH levels indicate that the thyroid gland is not making enough thyroid hormone, and when TSH levels are low, it indicates that the thyroid is producing too much. A normal TSH value means that the thyroid is functioning properly in most healthy individuals.

Causes of thyroid malfunction

While high or low readings from a TSH blood test can indicate more serious conditions such as Grave’s disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, it could also be pointing to a nutritional deficiency that is easily fixed. If your blood work results include low iron levels, there may be a solution to bring things back into equilibrium.

Iron deficiency

As it turns out, low iron can mimic some of the same symptoms as more serious thyroid diseases. Feelings of fatigue, among other symptoms, may indicate low iron. Reviewing your blood work with your medical professional will help you confirm whether this could be the case.

There are certain ways to increase iron levels in the body naturally.

Food intake

Consuming foods such as red meat and seafood with high iron concentrations is a common way to increase iron levels. The only difficulty with this path would be if the person were a vegetarian or ascribed to some of their diet that was low in iron. Eating the volume required to get your daily intake of iron may not be feasible.

Oral supplements

Taking iron supplements is a common way to increase iron levels within the body. Keep in mind that these supplements can be hard on the digestive system and have been known to cause nausea or discomfort when taken. There is also the issue of absorption into the body. How much of the iron is actually assimilated into your system can vary.

Iron IV therapy

Many people who suffer from an iron deficiency have turned to iron IV therapy to get their levels back into a healthy range. Intravenous delivery still remains the most effective way to ensure 100% bioavailability so that your body gets what it needs.

It is possible to get clarity on what is happening with your thyroid gland using a TSH blood test. Consult your doctor to see if iron infusions may be a good step.

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