Endocrinologists' inability to agree is causing confusion as well as misdiagnosis and mistreatment for thyroid patients. Because while some doctors consider a TSH level above 3.0 as evidence of hypothyroidism, others refuse to acknowledge the new guidelines, and instead stubbornly cling to the older range.
Meanwhile, many general practice or family doctors -- totally unaware of the controversy in the first place -- simply review the lab reports, and base their decisions on whether the lab is flagging thyroid test results as "high" or "low." And given that labs are still using the old range, that means many patients -- some say many millions -- fall in the TSH range from 3.0 to 5.0 -- a test result limbo where while the individual may be hypothyroid and symptomatic, he or she still fails to get properly diagnosed and treated.
I've been covering the TSH reference range controversy for years. You can read some of my key articles discussing the TSH test, and the reference range controversy here:
- Understanding the TSH Test
- Endocrinologists Say TSH Normal Range is Now 0.3 to 3: Millions More at Risk
- AACE Changes Position re: TSH Normal Range
- Does Your Doctor Know About the New TSH Lab Standards?
- The TSH Reference Range Wars: What's "Normal?", Who is Wrong, Who is Right...And What Does It All Mean For You and Your Health?
- The TSH Normal Range: Why is There Still Controversy? Insights from One of the Nation's Leading Endocrinologists, Dr. Jeffrey Garber