Normal Thyroid levels
The thyroid gland is situated in the lower part of the neck which is just under Adam’s apple. It is an important component of the endocrine system. The thyroid gland consists of two lobe-like structures that are located on either side of the trachea. The thyroid tissue which is occasionally known as the isthmus, acts as the attaching instrument for the two lobes.
The maintenance and the regulation of the iodine levels in the body is one of the most important functions of the thyroid gland. The iodine present in the various foods is converted into two types of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland which are called thyroxine or T4 and tri-iodothyronine or T3. The thyroxine hormone is characterized by its inactivity and hence even though it is an essential hormone that is secreted in large amounts, there is a need for it to be converted into the tri-iodothyronine hormone.
Most of the bodily functions such as the control of the body’s temperature, the regulation of the metabolic activities of the body as well as the maintenance of the critical levels of calcium in one’s body essentially require the involvement of the two thyroid hormones, i.e. T3 and T4. Hence they are very important to the health of one’s body.
With the assistance of the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus, the thyroid gland thus regulates the production of optimum levels of the thyroid hormones. A disruption in the balance between these three organs, leads to abnormalities in the secretion of thyroid hormones thereby resulting in many medical complications.
It is important to note that women are more susceptible to thyroid hormone disorders than men.
Normal thyroid levels in women and men
- The normal levels of the thyroid hormone in men as well as women are deemed to be between 0.5 mIU/L to 4.5 mIU/L.
- The normal levels of the thyroid hormone in infants are deemed to be between 3 mIU/L to 18 mIU/L.
- The abbreviation mlU/L represents milli-international units per liter.
Abnormal levels of the thyroid hormone that do not fall within the above range can be classified as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism
It is also important for women who want to conceive or those who are already pregnant, to know about the normal levels of thyroid hormone during the stages of pregnancy. Any irregularities in the levels of the thyroid hormones can result in complications for the mother as well as the unborn child. Premature delivery of the child is one of the effects of a higher level of the TSH or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone in pregnant women.
However, normal levels of thyroid in pregnant women do not make a difference as long as they are affected with the autoimmune thyroid disease, and such a condition can also increase the risk to a premature delivery.
The normal levels of thyroid in pregnant women are categorized as per the different trimesters, which are discussed below:
- Women who are in the first trimester of pregnancy have normal thyroid levels that are between 0.25 mIU/L to 2.96 mIU/L
- Women who are in the second trimester of pregnancy have normal thyroid levels that are between 0.45 mIU/L to 2.94 mIU/L
- Women who are in the third trimester of pregnancy have normal thyroid levels that are between 0.42 mIU/L to 2.76 mIU/L
Disorders caused due to abnormal thyroid levels
- An abnormally increased production of the thyroid hormones leads to the development of a disorder known as hyperthyroidism
- An abnormally lower than normal level production of the thyroid hormones leads to the development of a disorder known as hypothyroidism
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism
The symptoms which are subtle in the beginning, progressively worsen as the condition moves into the advanced stages. The symptoms are listed below:
- Women have puffy eyes as well as a peculiar stare caused by elevated upper eyelids
- Increased heartbeat
- Frequent bowel movements
- Increased perspiration
- Weight loss
- Poor or irregular menstrual flow in women
Symptoms of hypothyroidism
Most of the symptoms of hypothyroidism may include the physical, cognitive or digestive aspects of men and women. Some of them are as follows:
- Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
- Deeper and hoarser voice
- Muscle weakness
- Easy fatigue and exhaustion
- Swelling, stiffness or pain in the joints and wrists
- Numbness of the hands
- Weight gain
- Dry and course skin and pale complexion
- Elevated blood cholesterol levels
- Hair loss indicative of decreased nutrition due to diminished cell metabolism. Also, increased sensitivity to cold temperatures caused by decreased metabolism rate
- Puffiness around the eyes
- Diminished immunity and immune system problems
- Heavy or irregular menstrual periods or lack of menstrual periods
- Tremors and shivers
- Changes in stool
- Poor appetite
- Intellectual ability suffers leading to memory loss and forgetfulness and even dementia