Thyroid-stimulating hormone, TSH test is a blood test ordered by your physician to measure the level of TSH in your body. TSH test is also done to know if the thyroid gland is hyperactive or under-active. According to the American Thyroid Association (ATA), an estimated number of 20 million people have some form of thyroid disease in the U.S. Thyroid disorders, if left untreated, can lead to severe complications. So we highly recommend everyone to get tested for TSH levels at the earliest when you experience any of the thyroid disorder symptoms.
The article below covers all the significant topics related to TSH blood test like TSH test cost, symptoms of thyroid disorders, causes of abnormal levels of TSH, preparation, risks, and how to get tested for TSH blood test.
For our readers, who are very much interested in knowing the TSH test cost beforehand, we would like to begin with that section.
How much does the TSH test cost?
TSH test cost ranges between $35 and $39 in different labs and facilities across the U.S. To view and compare the cost of TSH blood test in different labs offered by different providers, click the button below.
TSH test cost with insurance
Most of the health insurance policies in the U.S. cover the cost of thyroid tests including the TSH blood test, if medically necessary. However, the coverage offered by private health insurance companies and national health insurance programs like Medicare and Medicaid varies widely. So we recommend you to check the coverage of your health insurance plan before getting tested.
Our TSH testing providers do not accept any kind of health insurance plan. But, if the insurance company accepts to reimburse the cost, they can provide you with an itemized receipt containing all the details like the name and code of the test, and CPT code which is necessary for insurance reimbursement purposes.
What is TSH?
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is the full form of TSH. It is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland that is located in the brain. The TSH hormone is responsible for regulating the hormones released by the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland located in front of the neck controls the growth and metabolism of the body by secreting the primary hormones at the right quantity. The three primary hormones are triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4) and calcitonin.
Why is a TSH test done?
The TSH test is done to measure the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone in the body and to determine the cause of abnormal TSH levels that may lead to serious health issues. It also helps the physician to know whether the thyroid gland is overactive (hyperthyroidism) and under-active (hypothyroidism). Your physician might recommend you to take the TSH test in case if you experience the following symptoms.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism
- Weight loss
- Change in appetite
- Increased sweating
- Muscle weakness
- Fertility problems
- Problems in the vision
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Sudden paralysis
- Increase in blood sugar
Symptoms of hypothyroidism
- Hair loss
- Weight gain
- Intolerance to cold
- Irregularity in the menstrual cycle
- Puffy skin
- Goiter (abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland)
- Pain or swelling in the joints
Normal levels of TSH
The normal TSH levels range from 0.4 to 4.0 milli-international units per liter. If you are undergoing treatment for any thyroid disorder, then the normal TSH levels range from 0.5 to 3.0 milli-international units per liter.
How is the TSH test done?
It takes less than 10 minutes to perform the TSH blood test.
Is there any preparation required before the test?
No special preparation is required before the TSH test. But it is important to inform your physician if you are taking some medications like amiodarone, dopamine, lithium, prednisone, and potassium iodide as these medications can interfere with the TSH levels and can result in an inaccurate diagnosis.
Are there any risks in the test?
There are no possible risks or complications in the TSH blood test. Sometimes, after the blood sample is drawn, you might feel dizziness, slight pain, bruise or redness in the injected area for a very little period. Inform your physician immediately if there is any abnormal bleeding in the injected area.
What does the test result mean?
The TSH test result shows if there is any abnormality in the TSH level. If the TSH level is higher than normal, then it indicates that the thyroid gland is not producing enough hormones and this condition is called hypothyroidism. Whereas the low TSH levels indicate that the thyroid gland is releasing hormones more than the required amount and this condition is called hyperthyroidism.
The TSH test says whether the hormone level is too high or low. But it does not explain the reason for the abnormalities in the TSH level. So your physician might ask you to take the following tests to determine the cause of thyroid disorders.
- T3 thyroid hormone test
- T4 thyroid hormone test
- TSH receptor antibody
- Anti TPO test
What are the causes of abnormal TSH levels?
The TSH test is primarily done to measure the level of TSH in the body. But various factors can affect the TSH level. They are
- Medications such as steroids, dopamine, etc.
- High level of iodine in the body
- Intake of supplements that contain thyroid hormone
How to manage the high and low levels of TSH?
There are many effective hypothyroidism (higher TSH levels) home remedies that are more efficient with no possible side effects. Hypothyroidism can also be treated with the help of synthetic thyroid hormone pills or as a last resort, surgery can be done to cure hypothyroidism.
The hyperthyroidism (lower TSH levels) can be treated with the help of
- Radioactive iodine
- Antithyroid medicines
- Beta-blockers – to reduce rapid heart rate
- In rare cases, surgery may be done to remove the thyroid.
TSH blood test can be done in any of the following locations across the U.S. by visiting the nearest lab. To know the TSH test cost, refer to the first section of the article.
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