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Understand Thyroid Levels
Feb 25, 2024

Deciphering TSH Levels By Age: Your Ultimate Guide

A TSH test or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone test is taken to assess the thyroid's functioning in one’s body. It can help understand whether the thyroid is overactive, which is referred to as hyperthyroidism, or underactive, which is referred to as hypothyroidism. A TSH test taken on time can also help detect thyroid disorders before symptoms emerge fully. This can help the individual take the right medical interventions to prevent other health issues from occurring. If a thyroid disorder is left untreated, it can lead to other major health problems as well. To deal with the finances of such health issues and more, one should opt for a health insurance policy. It provides coverage against a host of medical events so that you can recover without any financial worries.* Claims are subject to terms and conditions set forth under health insurance policy. While buying health insurance is indeed a helpful measure, one should also know where they stand with their TSH levels.

Understanding TSH Levels and How They Vary

First, let’s understand the basics of TSH and its levels.
  1. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is produced by the pituitary gland. It plays a crucial role in regulating hormone production and metabolism in the body.
  2. TSH stimulates the thyroid gland to produce vital hormones like thyroxine, which can influence your overall energy levels, nerve functions, and more.
  3. The typical reference range for TSH levels is 0.45 to 4.5 milliunits per litre (mU/L).
  4. TSH levels can vary significantly based on factors such as age, sex, and life stage. For instance, a 29-year-old woman may have a normal TSH of around 4.2 mU/L, while an 88-year-old man may reach 8.9 mU/L at their upper limits.
  5. External factors like stress, diet, medications, and menstrual cycles can also cause fluctuations in TSH levels.
Let’s look at the normal, low, and high ranges of TSH levels for adults of different ages.  
Age range Normal Low High
18–30 years 0.5–4.1 mU/L < 0.5 mU/L > 4.1 mU/L
31–50 years 0.5–4.1 mU/L < 0.5 mU/L > 4.1 mU/L
51–70 years 0.5–4.5 mU/L < 0.5 mU/L > 4.5 mU/L
71–90 years 0.4–5.2 mU/L < 0.4 mU/L > 5.2 mU/L
The limits for each age can also differ based on various factors.

TSH Levels in Children

Children can have varying TSH levels based on their age, as seen in this table -  
Age range Normal Low High
0–4 days 1.6–24.3 mU/L < 1 mU/L > 30 mU/L
2–20 weeks 0.58–5.57 mU/L < 0.5 mU/L > 6.0 mU/L
20 weeks – 18 years 0.55–5.31 mU/L < 0.5 mU/L > 6.0 mU/L

TSH Levels during Pregnancy

Monitoring TSH levels is important during pregnancy. The following table shows normal, low, and high TSH levels for pregnant women, based on the stage of pregnancy.  
Stage of pregnancy Normal Low High
First trimester 0.6–3.4 mU/L < 0.6 mU/L > 3.4 mU/L
Second trimester 0.37–3.6 mU/L < 0.3 mU/L > 3.6 mU/L
Third trimester 0.38–4.0 mU/L < 0.3 mU/L > 4.0 mU/L

High and Low TSH Levels

Here is a simple guide on what low and high TSH levels could mean-
  1. High TSH levels typically indicate an underactive thyroid, signalling that the pituitary gland is producing extra TSH in response to insufficient thyroid hormones. This condition is known as hypothyroidism.
  2. On the other hand, if your TSH levels are low, it might suggest an overproduction of thyroid hormones. In response, the pituitary gland decreases TSH production to regulate thyroid function, a condition referred to as hyperthyroidism.
Depending on your TSH levels, you may be given a course of treatment by your doctor. If the treatment leads to hospitalisation, it may be heavy on your pocket. This is where health insurance can help.

The Role of Health Insurance in Ensuring Better Health 

Whether it is an underactive/overactive thyroid gland or any other major health issue, timely and high-quality medical care is important when health is concerned.
  1. With general insurance plans like health insurance and critical illness insurance, treatments for medical problems become more accessible.*
  2. Health insurance takes care of multiple expenses that can come up during medical treatment, such as hospitalisation, pre-hospitalisation and post-hospitalisation expenses, ambulance charges, day-care procedures, and so on.*
  3. Another type of general insurance plan, a critical illness insurance policy, provides a lump-sum amount on diagnosis of serious, life-threatening illnesses. The illnesses covered can include cancer of specified severity, kidney failure, permanent paralysis of limbs, multiple sclerosis, and so on.*
  4. It is ideal to opt for these general insurance plans to ensure comprehensive coverage against a wide variety of diseases. To know the premium of your health plan, you can use a health insurance calculator.
Claims are subject to terms and conditions set forth under health insurance policy. Please note that the above information is for general purposes only. For a detailed understanding of your TSH levels, consult a medical practitioner.   *Standard T&C apply. Insurance is the subject matter of solicitation. For more details on benefits, exclusions, limitations, terms, and conditions, please read the sales brochure/policy wording carefully before concluding a sale.

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