Thyroid Stimulating Hormone

This blood test, commonly referred to as TSH, is often used as a screening tool for thyroid problems. The thyroid gland can become overactive (hyperthyroid) or underactive (hypothyroid). Common problems which may be due to hypothyroidism are: fatigue, weight gain, intolerance to cold temperatures, depressed mood, dry skin, hair loss, neck or lower leg swelling, high cholesterol, or constipation. Common problems which may be due to hyperthyroidism: nervousness/anxiety, tremors, weight or appetite loss, diarrhea, trouble sleeping, intolerance of warm/hot temperatures, excessive sweating, abnormal menstrual periods, neck or lower leg swelling, or vision changes. You could have all of these symptoms, and a normal thyroid. Or you could have none of them, and a very sick thyroid. This is why we often advise thyroid screening to all adult patients as part of an annual wellness exam. Otherwise, you should be evaluated to see if screening is necessary.