The amount of thyrotropin in the blood, also known as thyroid-stimulating hormone or TSH, is one of the most used parameters to identify a malfunction of the thyroid or pituitary gland. The TSH test reveals possible alterations in the amount produced, but to determine the cause, it is necessary to carry out additional studies.
Although disorders in the thyroid gland are usually more related to adults, the incidence of these in children is not low at all. It can affect the proper growth of the infant and the maturation of the characteristics of puberty. Suppose the specialist has indicated to perform a test, and you want to know the average values of TSH in children. In that case, we invite you to read the following FastlyHealarticle in which this and other related topics are addressed.
Table of Contents
What is TSH?
The TSH or TSH is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland, which is a gland located at the base of the skull. The primary function of TSH is to activate the actions of the thyroid gland, which is located in the neck, so that it produces the thyroid hormones, especially thyroxine and triiodothyronine. It also favors the release of thyroid hormones into the bloodstream to reach the different tissues and obtain iodine, which is the main component for these hormones to be manufactured.
This means that thyrotropin is essential for the thyroid gland to function correctly, and this is extremely important because the hormones secreted by said gland are involved in almost all of the highly crucial physiological processes, which would be affected immediately if there is any alteration in the amount of these hormones in the body.
If TSH did not stimulate or help the thyroid gland to function, its primary operations could not be adequately carried out:
- The degradation of food.
- Obtaining and spending energy.
- The regulation of body temperature.
- Control of heart rate.
- Bowel movement
- Calcium absorption.
- The development of the central and peripheral nervous system.
- Bone growth and development of tissues and organs.
What is the thyrotropin test?
The TSH test is indicated by the pediatric doctor when the child shows symptoms that could be signaling a deficiency or excess of thyroid hormones. Knowing the thyrotropin values in the blood through this test helps to determine if there is an alteration that involves the thyroid gland since the pituitary releases a more significant amount of TSH when the production of thyroid hormones is low as an attempt to normalize this value. At the same time, there is a lower level of TSH if thyroid hormones are elevated.
If the test result indicates average thyrotropin values, it means that the child’s symptoms are not due to a thyroid gland malfunction and that other tests are required to find the cause.
The child doesn’t need to be fasting for this TSH study unless the specialist recommends it. The blood sample is drawn from a vein through a small needle, although in babies or very young children, it can be obtained using a lancet to puncture the skin and draw blood out for testing.
What are average TSH values in children?
The level of TSH in children changes over the years according to the needs of the body; therefore, the average value in these cases is greater than the interval for adults since, in addition to regulating some physiological processes, they also act on the development of tissues and organs and the growth of the child.
For this reason, the result of the thyrotropin test should be compared with the reference values for children and according to the corresponding age range; However, these normal levels may vary slightly from one laboratory to another, and it is recommended that a pediatrician explain the meaning of the TSH result, although the following normal TSH values in children by age range can be used as a guide :
- 1 – 3 days: <2.5 to 17.4 µU / ml
- 1 – 12 meses: 0.6 a 10 µU/ml
- 1 – 3 years: 0.6 to 6.3 µU / ml
- 3 – 15 years: 0.6 to 5.7 µU / ml
- 16 years: 0.49 to 4.7 µU / ml
It is expected that after birth, the baby has maximum thyrotropin values. These values are regulated to reach a more stable level in the first 48 hours when neonatal screening is performed to measure the amount of TSH and rule out congenital hypothyroidism.
What does an abnormal thyrotropin value indicate in children?
In most cases, an amount of TSH outside normal reference levels is an indication that the thyroid gland is not working as it should, which could be hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. In fewer cases, it is due to a pituitary problem, so it is essential to undergo the appropriate studies to achieve the correct diagnosis.
Generally, if the TSH test results in high levels of this, the child has developed hypothyroidism, which can be congenital or acquired. Infants born with hypothyroidism do not always have symptoms early on, but they may become apparent long afterward.
While if the thyroid gland has begun to secrete low amounts of hormones despite having worked typically before, it is considered to be acquired hypothyroidism, has a higher incidence in children older than six months of age, and is the leading cause in the development of thyroiditis of Hashimoto. However, it can also be from a temporary thyroid infection, being under radiation treatment, having a low iodine diet, or consuming certain medications.
On the other hand, high thyrotropin can indicate hyperthyroidism problems, whose alteration in children and adolescents is less frequent than hypothyroidism and is more registered in adults. It is scarce for a child to present this alteration before five years. Hyperthyroidism refers to excess production of thyroid hormones, an alteration that in most cases is due to Graves’ disease, which significantly affects children over 11 years of age and, more frequently, girls.
Also, hyperthyroidism can have several causes, including:
- Iodine consumption in excess.
- Suffering from sudden emotional stress.
- Have type 1 diabetes.
- Suffering from celiac disease.
- Suffering from thyroid infections.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
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I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.