A Hypothyroidism, medical Hypothyroidism called, is characterized by an insufficient supply of the hormones produced by the thyroid gland. However, the individual reason for the subfunction can vary.
There are basically two different forms of hypothyroidism. The so-called primary hypothyroidism refers to a disorder in which the function of the thyroid gland itself is disturbed. If there is a lack of stimulation of the production of the hormones on the part of the pituitary gland, the hypofunction is also called secondary hypothyroidism designated. The individual type of hypofunction can be determined based on blood values.
Depending on the type of hypofunction, further diagnostics must take place to find out the cause of the disease. The control of the so-called Thyroid levels is a fairly common test of the blood for hormones that are produced in the thyroid gland. It is also important to check the so-called TSH (Thyrotropin) Value in order to be able to differentiate between primary and secondary hypothyroidism. Depending on which values are increased or decreased, the conclusion can be drawn that there is primary or secondary hypothyroidism and possibly one appropriate therapy initiated become.
There can be certain indications that the thyroid values may be abnormally changed Symptoms be. At a Hypothyroidism are mainly symptoms like Exhaustion, such as Weight gain and Loss of appetite in the foreground. Other, unspecific symptoms such as a noticeable one Skin dryness, Hair loss or one Cold intolerance are additional indications that an underactive thyroid is present. If one or more symptoms persist for a long time without any other explanation, a doctor should be consulted for a blood test.
The Examination of thyroid levels usually found at one General practitioners, one Specialist in internal medicine or one Endocrinologist instead of. For this a Blood draw respectively. The blood taken is sent to a laboratory, where it is examined for the values that are of interest to the thyroid function. The investigation will with suitable symptoms usually covered by the health insurance. After a few days, the results of the examination should be available to the attending physician and the result should be discussed with the patient. Since an underactive thyroid can be clearly determined from the blood values, no further diagnostics are usually required. Only in exceptional cases, for example if the pituitary gland is responsible for the changed values, it may be that a subsequent diagnosis must be carried out.
If the values of the thyroid gland are examined in the blood, there are several blood values that are essential for an accurate assessment of the disease. Usually, the attending physician receives a printout from the laboratory on which a table is shown with all the thyroid values of interest. Specifically, these are the thyroid hormones T3 and T4, free T3 and T4 (fT3 and fT4) and thyrotropin (TSH value). All these values allow an exact description of the thyroid function and give an indication of the cause of the hypothyroidism that may be present.
The thyroid hormones can be bound to proteins or they can be free, with only free thyroid hormones taking over the messenger function in the body. The TSH value describes the stimulation of the thyroid gland via the pituitary gland.
If there is primary hypothyroidism, T3, T4, fT3 and fT4 are decreased, with TSH being increased. If all values are low, secondary hypothyroidism is present. Since the reference values for the values can be different in each laboratory, it does not seem sensible to state the values. In the table of thyroid values, however, a laboratory-specific reference value is usually given, which allows a conclusion about the individual situation of the thyroid gland.
Read more on the subject below: Thyroid levels
In so-called primary hypothyroidism, the TSH value is increased. TSH (thyrotropin) is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland and normally ensures that the thyroid gland is stimulated and then produces thyroid hormones. If the thyroid gland produces too few thyroid hormones due to an autoimmune disease, iodine deficiency or other causes, this is registered by the pituitary gland and more TSH is released. An increased TSH value can be interpreted as a clear indication of an underactive thyroid, which originates from the thyroid gland itself, whereby the pituitary gland is intact. The other thyroid levels and the hormones produced are usually lower when the TSH level is increased.
Also read our topic: Thyroid levels too high
Values too low
An underactive thyroid is defined by low levels of thyroid hormones in the blood. If there is an underactive thyroid, it can be assumed that the hormones produced by the thyroid gland T3 and T4 decreased present in the blood. If the so-called TSH level now also humiliated is, this speaks for the presence of a secondary hypothyroidism. Here the pituitary gland produces too little TSH, which normally stimulates the thyroid gland to produce hormones. Without the TSH it will be secondary too too few hormones produced. So if all thyroid hormones are low and if the TSH level is low, secondary hypothyroidism can be assumed.
The need for thyroid hormones is increased during pregnancy. This is why it is especially important for pregnant women that their thyroid glands function normally and produce enough thyroid hormones.
Even before pregnancy, an adequate supply of thyroid hormones is important, as an insufficient supply of the hormones can lead to fertility disorders.
Hypothyroidism during pregnancy can and should be treated with an external supply of thyroid hormones.
Read more about this at: Hypothyroidism in pregnancy
The increased need for hormones during pregnancy can be explained by the fact that the thyroid of the fetus is not yet able to produce hormones itself. These are only produced by the fetus itself from the 3rd month of pregnancy. A healthy thyroid in the pregnant woman can compensate for this additional requirement.
Therapy is therefore only necessary for women who suffer from an underactive thyroid.
Read more about this under Thyroid levels in pregnancy
In some cases it can happen that the individual Thyroid values in the normal range lie, though one slight hypothyroidism present. If such a case exists, one speaks medically of a latent hypothyroidism. Here is a increased TSH level, with the T4 value, and thus the values of the thyroid hormones, still in the normal range lies. In these cases a close control at the attending physician, as there is always a latent hypothyroidism on the ground develop manifest disease can, which then a Thyroid hormone substitution is needed.