Treating subclinical hypothyroidism is controversial at best, and treatment can be subject to many interpretations. Depending on the doctor, they may or may not see treating subclinical hypothyroidism as necessary. They can have very different views of hypothyroidism.
Subclinical hypothyroidism is considered to be mild when the TSH levels are between 4.0 and 10.0 mIU/l. On the other hand, when the TSH is greater than 10.0 mIU/l it is considered to be severe. This has limitations, as the TSH can fluctuate, and different labs will have different reference ranges. It’s also important to understand that the severity of symptoms doesn’t always correlate with how high the TSH is. For example, I’ve worked with patients who had a TSH greater than 10 mIU/l and didn’t feel too bad, but I’ve also consulted with patients whose TSH were within the lab reference range but felt lousy.
This brings up another discussion on the “lab” reference range vs. the “optimal” reference range. For example, according to many functional medicine practitioners the “optimal” reference range for the TSH would be between 1 and 3 mIU/l. But some labs don’t consider the TSH to be elevated unless if it is above 5.0 mIU/l. The same concept applies with the thyroid hormone levels, as many people have thyroid hormone levels that are within the lab reference range, but are suboptimal.
I love that this includes the “lab” vs “optimal” reference range. This depends on the patient. I, for one, feel best when my TSH is below 1 mIU/l. However, I have only found one doctor who will; #1 prescribe Armour Thyroid, #2 allow my TSH to be below 1 mIU/l. I don’t know how many have my experience, but I know there are quite a few!
I love the honesty and open-mindedness of Dr. Eric Osansky in this article. He is a doctor who listens to his patients and doesn’t just go by the lab numbers!
For those of us who try to incorporate exercise into our daily routines, here are some yoga poses by Dr. Mitravinda Savanur that was posted on Hypothyroid Mom. These poses are specifically for improving thyroid function.
Have a great weekend!