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Ken, Postgraduate doctor
Category: Medical
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Experience:  Working as a Doctor who Cares since 2001.
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My TSH level has been consistenely high - 6.6 to 6.8 - the

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My TSH level has been consistenely high - 6.6 to 6.8 - the past couple of years. T3, T4, and free Thyroxine levels are normal. I am concerned because as a small child some 60 years ago i was given some kind of radiation treatment (for Thyroid or growth reasons, not sure why). I am an active 66 year old that walks, hikes (6-15 miles in a day not unusual), backpacks (couple hundred miles per summer past couple of years), usually walks when playing golf et al. Pre-diabetic with a weight of 178# (was up to 190# ***** couple years ago)(would like to be under 170#). Am taking Vytorin although my current total cholesterol is now 159. I do eat a soy mix sometimes to provide protein before snacking on carbs.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Ken replied 5 years ago.
I can understand your anxiety.
Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is a protein hormone released from the pituitary gland in the brain that stimulates the thyroid to produce thyroid hormone, which regulates body metabolism.
Raised TSH level with normal T3 and T4 levels indicate mild hypothyroidism. Having said this I would also like to rule out lesion within the pituitary gland which may lead to increased secretion of TSH.
I would get MRI Brain with contrast to rule it out and above all for peace of mind. It is less likely that radiation given 60 years back may be the reason for it.
If i were you I would consult a endocrinologist for further evaluation.
Good luck
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for the response. Hypothyroidism meaning low function? I do not feel at all lethagic; although as i've aged watching my weight is an ever present issue. Would the raditation treatment potentially cause hypo or hyper throidism?
Why do you say it is less likely that the treatments from 60 years ago could cause a problem? It is my understanding that some people with that treatment did start having cancer of the Thymus(?) after about 20 years. Also, weren't radiation doses much higher in those days?
How can diet control this (TSH level)? Should soy products be avoided?
Expert:  Ken replied 5 years ago.
Firstly - We are not sure as to which part was radiation given to and in what dosage. You are right in saying that the dosage was high in those days. BUT without knowing the details I would not say that the radiation is the cause for altered thyroid function or cancer {if it is} which is manifested after these many years.
Radiation does put one at risk of cancer for sure. The area of radiation is at more risk {skin being the most common}.
In your case - I would first get MRI done. It may not be a cancer {malignant lesion} but may be a small adenoma {benign lesion} at the pituitary. If it is hypothyroidism - It is likely sub-clinical {with no symptoms}.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
A couple of related questions were not answered:
- does eating Soy products affect TSH levels?
- any other diet related issues for TSH control?
- Is there any correlation TSH and pre diabetic?
Expert:  Ken replied 5 years ago.
TSH is hormone released by pituitary gland. Increased secretion is due to low T#, T4 levels or abnormality at the pituitary gland itself. It is not related to Soy products or sugar levels {diabetes}.
Although some experts claim that broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach, radishes, soybeans, peanuts, pine nuts, peaches and millet may interfere in thyroid hormone production BUT no sufficient data is available to prove it.
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