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10 Hidden Health Dangers of a “Normal” Thyroid

Reader's Digest.CA Logo By Alyssa Jung of Reader's Digest.CA | Slide 1 of 10: You've heard of an overactive (hyper) and underactive (hypo) thyroid—when levels of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and T4 (thyroxine) register well beyond the normal range. But your thyroid still may be malfunctioning, even if the levels look normal. Subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) affects between 4 and 15 percent of the population and refers to having a slightly underactive thyroid; it's distinguished by lab reports that show TSH levels above 4 but below 10 mlU/L, while T4 levels remain normal. 'It's called subclinical because many people with these findings do not have the typical symptoms one would expect to find in a patient with clinical hypothyroidism,' says Christian Nasr, MD, medical director of the Thyroid Center at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. (These are clearer signs you might have a typical thyroid problem.)

What is subclinical hypothyroidism?

You've heard of an overactive (hyper) and underactive (hypo) thyroid—when levels of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and T4 (thyroxine) register well beyond the normal range. But your thyroid still may be malfunctioning, even if the levels look normal. Subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) affects between 4 and 15 percent of the population and refers to having a slightly underactive thyroid; it's distinguished by lab reports that show TSH levels above 4 but below 10 mlU/L, while T4 levels remain normal. 'It's called subclinical because many people with these findings do not have the typical symptoms one would expect to find in a patient with clinical hypothyroidism,' says Christian Nasr, MD, medical director of the Thyroid Center at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. (These are clearer signs you might have a typical thyroid problem.)

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