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Question : My doctor ordered a blood test to check my thyroid level. My TSH is 1.32. How does that compare to a healthy thyroid?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Howard LeWine, M.D., is chief editor of Internet Publishing, Harvard Health Publications. He is a clinical instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. LeWine has been a primary care internist and teacher of internal medicine since 1978.

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June 22, 2011
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A:

Your TSH level is in the normal range.

TSH stands for thyroid stimulating hormone. It is the blood test doctors order most often to check if the thyroid gland is working normally. Doctors also order this test to make sure that people taking thyroid pills are taking the best dose.

Thyroid stimulating hormone is made by the pituitary gland in the brain and is released into the blood stream. When TSH reaches the thyroid gland, it stimulates the gland to produce more thyroid hormone.

When the blood level of thyroid hormone drops below normal, the TSH level rises. When there is too much thyroid hormone, the TSH level gets very low. So, an abnormally high TSH level almost always indicates an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). A very low TSH level usually means there is too much thyroid hormone in the blood (hyperthyroidism).

There are some rare causes of an underactive thyroid gland with a low TSH. For example, if a person has a diseased pituitary gland.

Experts don't always agree on the normal range for TSH. The reports from most laboratories show a normal range of 0.45 to 4.5. However, many thyroid experts use a normal range to 0.3 to 3.0. Your TSH would be considered normal by everyone.

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