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Understanding Thyroid Levels

Thyroid levels can be used to diagnose thyroid conditions. They can also be monitored in order to ensure that the correct dosage of medication is being given to treat an under active thyroid.

The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system, which is the system in the body that is responsible for the production of hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers. After they are produced in glands such as the thyroid gland, they are released into the bloodstream. They are transported around the body, often affecting parts of the body that are distant from the gland in which they were produced. The effects of hormones are usually related to their concentration in the body. In order to keep the body working properly, the levels of these hormones need to be correct.

The thyroid gland produces two hormones, thyroxine or T4 and triiodothyronine or T3. These hormones regulate the activity of the metabolism. In order to keep the metabolism working at the optimum rate, the levels of these hormones in the body need to be maintained at the right levels. If the thyroid levels are too high then the metabolic rate will be too high. If the thyroid levels are too low then the metabolic rate will be too low.

If the levels of the thyroid hormones in the blood are too high, then it can result in weight loss, anxiety, intolerance to heat, irritability and hyperactivity. This is known as hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid.

If the levels of the thyroid hormones in the blood are too low, then it can lead to weight gain, fatigue, depression and intolerance to cold. This is known as hypothyroidism or an under active thyroid. Hypothyroidism is usually treated with a daily dose of synthetic hormones. In order to work out the correct dosage for this medication, blood tests of thyroid hormone levels are conducted regularly. Once the correct dosage has been found, the levels of thyroid hormones will be normal.

Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are diagnosed by measuring the levels of thyroid hormones in the blood. The level of another hormone, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone or TSH, is also measured. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is produced by the pituitary gland in order to regulate the activity of the thyroid gland. It normally activates the thyroid gland when more thyroid hormones are needed. The pituitary gland stops producing Thyroid Stimulating Hormone when the levels of thyroid hormones in the blood are high enough. Without the stimulation of TSH, the thyroid gland becomes less active and stops producing hormones as rapidly.


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