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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Thyroid Issues
November 2001

Q. What can be the cause of severely suppressed TSH while taking 0.15 mg Levothyroxin for hypothyroidism for 25 years? Lab test repeatedly shows result of test of <0.01. What are some signs of pituitary gland problem? What are the Cushing's symptoms?

A. The function of the thyroid gland, located in the neck, is to regulate metabolism, our entire process of processing, storing, and using energy. This process is impaired if the thyroid becomes overactive or underactive. An underactive thyroid causes symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, constipation, and dry skin. Fortunately we have medication to replace the thyroid hormone and measure the proper dosage with the TSH test.

TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is produced by the pituitary gland which regulates the activity of several hormone producing organs. The TSH stimulates a normal thyroid gland to produce more hormones, and the thyroid is inactive when TSH is low. The low TSH level you describe suggests your dose of thyroid medication may be too high. Your doctor can evaluate this, and call on a specialist in endocrinology if needed.




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