The thyroid stimulating hormone released by the anterior pituitary gland is commonly known as TSH. This hormone regulates the function of the thyroid gland. Thyroid releases the hormones T3 and T4 which play an important role in the rate of metabolism. What causes low TSH level? When an overactive thyroid releases too much of thyroid hormones, the pituitary gland restricts the flow of TSH. Thus low TSH symptoms and signs indicate hyperthyroidism while high TSH indicates hypothyroidism as more TSH is released to stimulate an under-active thyroid.
Reference Range of TSH for Men
It has been observed that some studies regarding TSH levels in men and women have used reference level as 0.50 to 3.5 mIU/L (milli-international units per liter). In the U.S., the reference range used is 0.50 to 5.5 mIU/L. According to the revised American standards (set by expert endocrinologists), 0.3 to 3.3 mIU/L should be considered as the normal TSH level in adults. Some labs consider 0.4 - 4.0 mIU/L or 0.4 - 4.5 as normal TSH levels. Normal levels of TSH for men and women are same.
Symptoms of Low TSH in Men
Low TSH levels indicate hyperthyroidism. Low TSH can be noticed if pituitary gland is damaged (the condition is known as secondary hypothyroidism). Excessive intake of thyroid medicines to stimulate an under-active thyroid gland can also lead to low TSH levels. Grave's disease, tumors can lead to hyperthyroidism.
The symptoms are
- Excessive sweating resulting in weakness
- The person cannot tolerate heat
- Increased rate of metabolism
- Increased bowel movements pertaining to the increased rate of metabolism
- Increased appetite
- Weight loss despite increased appetite
- High heart rate, palpitations
- Agitation, nervousness and tremor
- Inability to control anger, increased irritability
- Nervousness, depression
- Decreased concentration
- Excessive tiredness
- Low bone density
- Rapid peristalsis, fast movement of the food through alimentary canal
Symptoms of High TSH in Men
High TSH levels are noticed during hypothyroidism. Hashimoto's thyroidoitis is one of the main causes of hypothyroidism. A tumor on the pituitary gland, thyroid hormone resistance, hypothalamus disorder can lead to increased TSH levels. The function of the pituitary gland is controlled by the hypothalamus (brain). The two antagonistic hormones 'thyrotropin' and 'somatostatin' control the TSH levels. If the medications prescribed for under-active thyroid are not taken, high TSH levels can be noticed.
The symptoms include:
- Weakness, constant fatigue
- Hair loss, thinning of hair
- Excessive somnolence, difficulty waking up
- Difficulty losing weight, increased weight
- Dry, rough hair
- Dry, dull skin
- The person is unable to bear cold
- Bradycardia (slower pulse rate)
- A pale or yellowish skin indicating weakness
- Brittle nails
- Digestive system problems like constipation, indigestion
- Increased irritability, depression
- Severe mood swings
- Hypotonia, a muscle disorder
- Reduced sex drive
- Loss of memory
- Low concentration
How To Maintain Normal TSH Levels
If you notice any of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, you should consult your doctor. The medicines prescribed by the doctor should be taken religiously. Depending upon the condition of the thyroid, the doctor may ask you to increase or lower iodine intake. Thyroid diet should be designed and followed sincerely. Selenium and iodine rich foods can improve thyroid activity in case of hypothyroidism. Regular exercises improve thyroid function. Yoga and breathing exercises like Pranayama help enhance the function of the brain, pituitary gland and thyroid gland. You should stop taking routine medicines or supplements which are affecting the function of the thyroid gland. Discuss with your doctor for available alternatives.
As the thyroid gland plays an important role in body metabolism, thyroid dysfunction can lead to several health complications. Along with TSH levels, T3 and T4 levels are also measured. A simple blood test helps know the TSH, T3 and T4 levels. Men and women should check the normal TSH levels of reference before interpreting the laboratory reports.