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Normal T3 and T4 Levels

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Learn about the normal ranges for T3 & T4 levels in your body.

Many people know the thyroid as the little gland in the middle of the neck, which gets a great deal of attention.

The body's metabolism is controlled by the thyroid. It also helps to control nearly every functioning system in the body.

The thyroid produces hormones, which are essential for the regulation of the brain, heart, and other organs.

The hormones are known as T3 and T4.

A thyroid that is functioning properly will allow the right amount of hormones to be released and keep the body’s metabolism operational. The pituitary gland also plays a part in the regulation of the hormones in the bloodstream. Many people do not know that the pituitary gland is located just below the brain, in the middle of the skull. When this gland notices a lack of hormones, it adjusts its hormones and sends a signal to the thyroid to let it know more is needed.

Low levels of T3 and T4 can wreak havoc inside your body.

Signs that Your T3 & T4 Levels are not Normal

The first symptom one will usually experience is exhaustion. The exhaustion is not normal, but rather one that makes it difficult to even function. Other signs of problems with the thyroid include:

  • heavy periods
  • weight gain
  • a deep voice
  • unable to handle cold temperatures
  • forgetfulness
  • and dry and brittle hair.

If you begin experiencing these symptoms have your doctor evaluate your thyroid. There are many tests that a doctor may choose to use:

Normal Levels of T3 and T4

The normal range of a T3 level needs to be 3-8. The normal levels for the T4 need to be 4-11.

When levels are beyond 8 to 11, this is considered an overactive thyroid, also known as hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism simply means the body is creating too much of these hormones.

For those whose hormones measure below the normal ranges, it shows a sluggish thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism. The sluggish thyroid is due to the system not making nearly enough hormones for the body.

Once a doctor has identified a problem with the TSH levels, they will recommend a thyroid treatment plan. Because there can also be many other issues at hand, the doctor might do some additional testing to see if there are other hypothyroid disorders at play. Autoimmune disorders like Graves disease can cause devastating effects and it goes beyond just a low T3 and T4 level.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a common autoimmune disease caused by the thyroid.

It is sometimes referred to as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis.

This condition was found by a Japanese doctor in 1912. The name of the disease is due to its origin in Hashimoto Hakaru, Germany. Many are surprised to learn that it was the first disease to be recognized by the medical community as an autoimmune disorder.

People who have Hashimoto’s often experience both symptoms of hypothyroidism and also hyperthyroidism.

Because of the fluctuations in the T3 and T4 levels, it can be difficult to treat. Those who suffer from this condition often find that the thyroid gland becomes large and firm. Here are some symptoms you may notice:

  • Psychosis
  • Weight Gain
  • Mania, Anxiety, and Depression
  • Intolerance to Heat and Cold
  • Extreme Fatigue
  • Bradycardia and Tachycardia
  • Constipation, Diarrhea
  • Infertility
  • Hair Loss
  • Week muscles and cramping
  • High Cholesterol
  • Panic Attacks

There are strong genetic links to this disease and other family members.

The common treatment for Hashimoto's thyroiditis is hormone replacement agents. Drugs like Synthroid can help regulate the body’s hormone levels and lessen the symptoms experienced by those who suffer from this condition.

This drug, which supplies synthetic hormones to the body, will need to be taken for the rest of the patient’s life.

In rare occurrences, some patients will experience thyroid cancer. There is usually a thyroid nodule that is discovered during a physical examination and the doctor will order an ultrasound to see the thyroid through imaging.

It is common for those who have thyroid conditions to develop a goiter or swelling in the area. Not all lumps are cancerous, some of them are actually just a goiter. Conditions such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis are known to produce benign goiters in the thyroid area.

Thyroid Cancer

Here is a list of cancers often diagnosed concerning the thyroid:

  • Papillary thyroid cancer
  • Follicular thyroid cancer
  • Medullary thyroid cancer
  • Anaplastic thyroid cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma

While Anaplastic cancer does not respond to treatment at all, less than 5% of people having thyroid cancer will have this type. Papillary is the most common type of cancer and it is usually found in younger females. This type of cancer makes up about 85% of thyroid cancer cases.

One side effect of an underactive thyroid is infertility.

Those struggling with infertility are often giving thyroid tests, as doctors have discovered these connections. The low levels of the T3 and T4 impede ovulation, which is necessary for conception. The pituitary gland is also known to play a factor in pregnancy and ovulation and the overall function of the thyroid gland.

Mental Disorders from Low Levels of T3 & T4

Another commonly overlooked factor that occurs with hypothyroid conditions is mental disorders.

While doctors are certainly aware of these issues, they cannot be certain that taking the supplements will allow ovulation. Although there is the possibility of conception, it is on a case by case basis, as another method of treatment may also need to be needed.

Even once pregnant, there needs to be constant monitoring of the hormone levels to ensure proper development of the baby, which will also reduce any chance of a miscarriage.

Anxiety, panic disorder, and depression are all linked to insufficient levels of T3 and T4.

Many patients go to their doctor complaining of symptoms of depression, mood swings, irritability, and anxiety only to get the latest medication for bi-polar or anti-depressants.

Thyroid Levels and Mood

Doctors are finding a direct link between low levels of hormones and the changes in mood and symptoms of depression and anxiety.

"Low thyroid hormones, and the common occurrence of sluggish, poorly functioning adrenals, can play a role in a variety of emotional and behavioral symptoms and disturbances, including anxiety, excessive fear, mood swings like bi-polar, rage, irritability, paranoid schizophrenia, confusion, dementia, obsessive/compulsive disorders, and mental aberrations."

Many doctors will check the levels of T3 and T4 when learning about mood changes; however, most overlook the adrenal function test.

Adrenals also play a big role in keeping the emotions running harmoniously. By giving a patient a 24-hour saliva test, they can quickly tell if the adrenals are functioning properly and instead of putting a band-aid over the problem, they can properly correct it.

Normal Thyroid Levels are Needed for the Entire Body

The entire body requires a working thyroid to properly function.

The excess or lack of any T3 and T4 in the system can cause everything to be in disarray. Whether it is a condition like Hashimoto's thyroiditis or depression and anxiety, the thyroid can be at fault for many ailments.

Thyroid Medications

There are many drugs on the market today for boosting an underactive thyroid. Some popular drugs include:

Be sure to discuss the side effects of thyroid medications with your doctor.

Dealing with thyroid problems can be overwhelming. Regardless of which medication you are prescribed, constant monitoring by your doctor is a good idea. Having your T3 and T4 levels checked periodically is the only way to truly take care of the hormonal imbalances that come with hypothyroidism.

Next Article: Thyroid Health | How to Boost T3 and T4 Levels