Normal thyroid levels in women are indications that the thyroid gland is in a tip-top shape. The healthy range of thyroid levels for women may slightly differ from lab to lab and whether the woman is pregnant or not. It is extremely important for women to maintain normal thyroid levels for the proper growth and functioning of the heart, brain and reproductive system. Normal thyroid levels in women are also essential for calcium and bone metabolism.
But for some reason, normal thyroid levels in women are not achieved. Abnormal thyroid levels call for immediate action as this may lead to some major health problems. The treatment is based on the underlying cause of abnormality in the thyroid levels.
- 1 Why check the thyroid levels ?
- 2 How does the thyroid work?
- 3 How important is it for women to maintain normal thyroid levels?
- 4 What are the normal thyroid levels in women?
- 5 Why do abnormal thyroid levels in women occur?
- 6 What happens when normal thyroid levels in women are not achieved?
- 7 How to get the abnormal thyroid levels back to normal?
Why check the thyroid levels ?
The thyroid belongs to the endocrine system whose products and hormones are released directly into the bloodstream. The thyroid gland works by producing the thyroid hormones which are essential for countless processes in the body and for optimum health. There are a lot of things that can disturb the thyroid gland in its production of the thyroid hormones, and this has a great impact on various bodily functions resulting to health problems and diseases. Women should especially have their thyroid levels checked regularly because studies showed that they are more vulnerable to thyroid problems than men.
How does the thyroid work?
The thyroid gland is found underneath the voice box with a shape similar to a small butterfly. The gland is important in the conversion of iodine from food into thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) which are essential in the regulation of the metabolic processes in the body. Likewise, the amount of T3 and T4 are controlled by the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) which is produced by the pituitary gland. The hypothalamus, which is a part of the brain, triggers the pituitary gland to produce TSH by releasing the thyroid releasing hormone (TRH). It is the TSH that signals the thyroid to produce the T3 and T4 hormones. Normal thyroid levels in women signify that their thyroid is doing its job well.
How important is it for women to maintain normal thyroid levels?
Women should aim to maintain normal thyroid levels due to number of reasons, and these include:
- Stabilizing the body’s metabolism
- Improving the utilization of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and cholesterol
- Cell growth
- Stimulating the brain, nerves and heart muscles
- Optimum fetal growth during pregnancy
Normal thyroid levels in women during pregnancy are especially important to avoid complications both to the mother and child due to thyroid problems.
What are the normal thyroid levels in women?
Normal thyroid levels in women should be between 0.5 mIU/L and 4.5 mIU/L. It should be noted that labs may use different assays in determining the normal range. Besides, the normal range also varies during pregnancy. The healthy level of thyroid for women during the first trimester of the pregnancy is from 0.25 mIU/L to 2.96 mIU/L; 0.45 mIU/L to 2.94 mIU/L for the second trimester; and 0.42 mIU/L to 2.76 mIU/L on the third trimester.
Why do abnormal thyroid levels in women occur?
There are two possible reasons why normal thyroid levels in women are not achieved. These could either be due to an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) or an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism).
Women in their childbearing age will likely suffer from hypothyroidism due to:
- Hypothalamic or pituitary disease
- Serious iodine deficiency
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
- Thyroid destruction
- Lymphocytic Thyroiditis
- Certain medications
On the other hand, hyperthyroidism may occur because of:
- Too much iodine intake
- Thyroiditis or inflamed thyroid gland
- Overdose of thyroid hormones
- Toxic multinodular goiter
- Functioning adenoma
- Grave’s Disease
- Abnormal TSH production
What happens when normal thyroid levels in women are not achieved?
Women will experience a variety of symptoms as a result of abnormal thyroid levels. Usually, they will experience mild to no symptoms at all when the disease is still in its early stage. But the signs become more apparent when it is already in its advanced stage.
Symptoms of low thyroid levels (hypothyroidism):
- Cold intolerance
- Muscle cramps
- Moderate weight gain
- Excessive tiredness
- Swollen legs
- Coarse and dry hair
- Dry skin
- Decreased concentration
Symptoms of high thyroid levels (hyperthyroidism):
- Heat intolerance
- Weight loss
- Scanty menstrual flow
- Excessive sweating
- Fast heart rate
How to get the abnormal thyroid levels back to normal?
Abnormal thyroid levels are a strong indication of thyroid problems, and getting them back to their healthy levels means treating the underlying cause. For women with low thyroid levels, adequate amounts can be achieved by the use of oral thyroid hormones. For those with high thyroid levels, getting back the normal levels involves treating the associated symptoms, ingesting anti-thyroid drugs, radioactive iodine therapy and thyroidectomy.
Women are more susceptible to thyroid problems than men and this is the reason why it is really important for them to have their thyroid levels checked regularly. Normal thyroid levels in women indicate a healthy thyroid gland.