Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
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What Are Normal Thyroid Levels?

Tuesday, 20 Jul 2010 02:05 PM

Question: I am 56 years old and have many of the same symptoms used to describe hypothyroid, including an extreme intolerance to cold, dry skin, and lightheaded. Blood work in the past has indicated that my thyroid levels are within the normal ranges. What exactly are "normal" ranges? I also have another question about an ad that I saw for a weight loss product named HCG. Can you give me any insight to that? I have never been overweight in my life, but at 56 years I have put on about 20 pounds that I am having a very difficult time shedding.

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Many diseases have similar symptoms, so avoid getting stuck into the idea that certain symptoms equal a specific disease. Hypothyroidism is best screened for by TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone that is excreted by the pituitary gland). Levels of TSH will be HIGH if hypothyroidism is present. The only exception to this is when the pituitary fails to produce TSH and low levels of free T4 are confirmed in the serum. This is usually in association with hormonal deficiencies in other systems also controlled by the pituitary gland, including sex hormones, growth hormone, and adrenal hormones.

Avoid being swayed by reported "natural" doctors who over-diagnose and over-treat their patients for financial gain (of the gullible!) Normal ranges vary depending upon the laboratory used. Though standardization of testing is much improved now over 10 years ago, it is wise to use the same lab when trending sensitive lab tests.

HCG has no effective information available for me to even come close to recommending this product. Save your money! We have a large worldwide market for weight loss products, and have yet to find a safe, simple, and effective single medication to accomplish this! I do not regard wanting to lose twenty pounds as enough to recommend the use of any drug, FDA approved or not!

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