Are healthy thyroid levels based on your age

Hi When diagnosed last September I had a TS4 level of 8 and TSH level of 52. After being on Levothyroxine for 5 months, now 100 mg, my levels are 10 and 30, which my doctor said are normal. I queried the TSH level as I don't feel better and have read that the level should be less than 5? But she said it had been adjusted because of my age which is 59. I haven't heard or read of this anywhere else. Is this correct? Thank you

32 Replies

  • MISSFITZ1 Your GP is talking complete and utter tosh!

    Do you have a print out of your results, if not please ask your surgery for one, it is your legal right under the Data Protection Act (assuming you are in the UK).

    Make sure the reference ranges are with the result (usually in brackets) eg TSH 3.5 (0.2-4.2).

    So when you have the results, make an appointment with your GP and, for example if your result is like

    TSH: 30 (0.2-4.2)

    FT4: 10 (12-22)

    Then you ask why are there ranges if they are going to be ignored. And if she says they are adjusted due to age you say that surely the lab knows your age from the details sent in with your sample so if the range is different why haven't they given the correct range for your age.

    Smile and watch her face!

    She's telling you an absolute load of rubbish. The aim of a treated hypo patient is for TSH to be 1 or below or wherever it is needed for FT4 and FT3 to be in the upper part of their respective reference ranges.

  • Thank you, so much. Yes I am in the UK. No I do not have a printout of my results. I had to ask my doctor 4 times during the last appointment what my levels were now, before she told me, as she kept saying they were normal. The only information my doctor has given me is that "We have discovered something interesting from your blood test, you have an under active thyroid. We will start you on medication today which you will need to take for the rest of your life. You will feel better soon" I do feel better, but no way near what I consider normal or how I was a year ago, as I am tired and lethargic, with no energy no matter how much rest or sleep I get. I look and feel ten years older. I have other symptoms too, blocked nose, no sense of smell, cough, sore throat, lump in my throat, difficulty swallowing, blepharitis eye condition, swollen lymph nodes in neck, aches and pains. The doctor made me feel like a hypochondriac just mentioning them to her and just told me to come back in three months for another test. She was very friendly, but I left feeling intimidated and like I wanted to cry. I am 59! But your words not only have given a boost but a plan of action. So thanks again.

  • Bless you,,I'm going to ring my gp tmorrow! As so fed up with things going on with myself urgh!. But i be mentioning bout watching " Trust me I'm a doctor" I so sympathise with you & others, as all symptoms I can relate to.. Take care kind regards...

  • MISSFITZ1 If you're feeling a bit naughty, you might like this -

    From ThyroidUK's main website 'Hypothyroidism' page, under Treatment Options:

    'According to the BMA's booklet, "Understanding Thyroid Disorders", many people do not feel well unless their levels are at the bottom of the TSH range or below and at the top of the FT4 range or a little above.

    Dr Toft states in Pulse Magazine, "The appropriate dose of levothyroxine is that which restores euthyroidism and serum TSH to the lower part of the reference range - 0.2-0.5mU/l.

    In this case, free thyroxine is likely to be in the upper part of its reference range or even slightly elevated – 18-22pmol/l. Most patients will feel well in that circumstance.

    But some need a higher dose of levothyroxine to suppress serum TSH and then the serum-free T4 concentration will be elevated at around 24-28pmol/l.

    This 'exogenous subclinical hyperthyroidism' is not dangerous as long as serum T3 is unequivocally normal – that is, serum total around T3 1.7nmol/l (reference range 1.0-2.2nmol/l)." '

    Dr Toft is past president of the British Thyroid Association and leading endocrinologist (may be now retired).

    You can get a copy of this article by emailing then print it out and show your GP.

    There was a programme on BBC2 tonight, Trust Me, I'm A Doctor, which had an item on Hypothyroidism and Dr Toft was interviewed.

    A couple of important points for you -

    1) Always take your Levo on an empty stomach, one hour before or two hours after food.

    2) When having thyroid blood tests, always book the earliest appointment of the morning, fast overnight (water only), and leave off Levo for 24 hours. This gives the highest possible TSH which is needed for a dose increase or to avoid a reduction.

    Also, aches and pains, and maybe some other of your symptoms, could be due to low nutrient levels, many of us Hypos tend to have these. You should ask your GP to test the following if not already done:

    Vit D




    Post the results, with reference ranges, for members to comment and suggest supplements where there may be deficencies. All these vitamins and minerals need to be at optimal levels (not just in range) for thyroid hormone to work properly.

  • Thank you for all the information help advice and tips. I do feel better equipped to stand my ground with my doctor. Firstly I will get a print out of my test results. Thanks again.

  • You're very welcome, let us know how it goes :)

  • I will thank you.

  • That bites. I'm sorry your doctor was so uninformative. As patients with new diagnosis, we don't even know what to ask! I thank God or whoever every day that I was just lucky to have a doctor who explains everything and is open to answering questions through the office email as well. You're close to my age, and I find it very distrubing when a doctor treats me like a child. You will have fun on your next visit because you will be giving her information that demands an answer. Great advice and good luck!

  • Uninformative and uninformed. They can't tell patients what they don't even know themselves. :(

  • incredibly sad

  • Thank you. It is difficult to be diagnosed with a condition which we know so little about beforehand. I will be well armed when I return to the doctor thanks to you all. Regards

  • Hi I was in my 40s been frustrated for years why I wasn't well etc, tests kept coming border,,nothing was given but wait till next bloods. I surprised I wasn' t anaemic with it all as I had/have lost appetites for big meals etc but, I have other health problems too,, in my family is Thyroid problems, I have young daug who is Hashimotos & my older sister they both recently ( last year) diagnosed... I was early 50s im (55) now when symptoms got so bad it was awful.. I finally got results from my gp to go on Levothyroxine basic dose,,I am now on 100mg now for past year as I wasn' t levelling off so more blood tests kept on. I am still not convinced yet and getting no where with being referred to the Endo ppl..take care,,kind regards.

  • Hi Helen, I am just realising that I am not alone in this, as so many people with Thyroid problems are having difficulty in getting the right medication, help and support. It is all so confusing and the doctors seem to know so very little about it. It sounds like the patient has to educate the doctor. Thank you for your support and for taking the time to message me, it does help. I hope that you too get the help you need. Kind Regards

  • Hi missfitz1,,aww I know it is so sad to see these threads,,, I can't believe such a small part of our body can have such huge effect on our body & mind.. But I won't give up gun,,you keep strong and go get all you can on things for yourself,,I actually will be asking for a print out of my Thyroid levels,,be interesting how GPS etc will respond to the programme that was on tonight.. But hope you will get all the help,we will have to exchange our updates,,take care & hope you know we are all in this too not to be alone....

  • Oh my daug who is Hashimotos she was in nursing,,she told me a good thing to remember? A gp is there for the med send you for bloods,,he/she is one to do referrals to Endocrinologists, they are the specialists ..not a gp,,geez she is right tbh I feel!

  • I know but it's getting the doctor to refer you to the specialists which is the problem

  • Sorry error on my msg,should say h u n not (gun) my keyboard is auto,so sorry for error!

  • Thanks Helen, It's good to realise that we are not alone in all this. Yes you are right we can't give up, however hard it may be. It will be very interesting to see if the programme tonight has any effect. I am sure plenty of sufferers will bring it up with their doctor. i think we should too.

  • LOL I thought that's what you meant!

  • Lol

  • Hi missfitz1, yes def I hope it will be acknowledged,, until someone speaks up or something happens ,,then results start,well can only hope. We know our bodies & mind more than anyone,,I am so glad I have joined on here because apart from family having problems, i been years with this on my own with being so far away from my family, it helps me more reading seeing others like yourself and that we care and def not alone!

  • Night missfitz1... sleep well, hope tomorrow be good day for us all ..kind regards x x

  • Night to you and thanks again Helen. Regards xx

  • Yes I totally agree and understand. I was feeling totally helpless and stupid doubting my own sanity! I am so glad I i decided to join

  • To a minor extent age is relevant to thyroid testing - but I stress the effect is a very minor one.

    There were various replies to a post on a similar question yesterday and you ought to find it relevant to you.

    Your doctor sounds appalling. A TSH of 30 is higher than most people have when they are first diagnosed with overt hypothyroidism, so suggesting that you are okay with that TSH level is sheer ignorance.

  • Thanks for both the support and info, they really help. I will look at the other post. I do feel better prepared to go back to the doctor. Thanks again.

  • I was 73 when diagnosed hyper, 74 when thyroid removed. Never any comment about my age ever!

    Now self medicating on Nature Throid after struggling on Levo. Have support of brilliant Endo and GP. Still no age ever mentioned and I am now 77. What a lazy baggage your GP is.


  • Thank you for your advice and support. I hope you are well. I will look into Nature Thyroid. Regards.

  • NO the thyroid cannot be adjusted for age.

  • Thank you

  • FT4 and FT3 change little with age though FT3 is 15% higher with young people below 18 years when it then changes to adult when growing stops. TSH ranges may very slightly increase with age at the top end but not really until you are 75+ with any significance. This is a good example of the "shoehorn" diagnosis for FT4. With your level, there would be less than a 10% chance that your treament is sufficient - because less than 10% of truly healthy people have such a low value. The TSH values quoted are still severely hypothyroid and together the results suggests considerable undertreatment. Values of less than 1 should be aimed for.

  • Thank you for your advice and support, this is a great help. I will use this information when I see the doctor again. Regards

You may also like...