Why Is Hypothyroidism So Under Diagnosed In The Usa
Many symptoms of thyroid imbalance are vague and most doctors spend only a few minutes talking with patients to sort out the cause of their complaint.
Most conventional doctors use only one or two tests to screen for problems. They are not checking FT3, RT3 or thyroid antibodies.
Most conventional doctors use the normal lab reference range as their guide only. Rather than listening to their patients symptoms, they use optimal lab values and temperature as their guide.
How Do Thyroid Tests Work
Thyroid tests use blood samples to check the levels of TSH and T4. If there are any concerning results, more detailed testing can be done, including checking for T3 levels.
If your levels are too high or low, you may also need an ultrasound to view the structure of your thyroid, since tumors on the thyroid gland can cause symptoms that are similar to hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. You may need to go on daily medication to regulate your levels.
Food and Drug Administration , home test kits, in general, are a suitable way to receive quick and confidential lab results. Theyre not a substitute for receiving regular care from a healthcare professional. A thyroid blood test is only one part of receiving a diagnosis, and for some people, more testing or clinical exams might be necessary.
Some endocrinologists, or doctors who specialize in hormone-related conditions like thyroid disorders, have concerns about the reliability of thyroid kits and the potential for misdiagnosis. But this is why its still important to inform your healthcare professional of these results.
How Is Thyroid Cancer Managed Or Treated
Treatments for thyroid cancer depend on the tumor size and whether the cancer has spread. Treatments include:
- Surgery: Surgery is the most common treatment for thyroid cancer. Depending on the tumors size and location, your surgeon may remove part of the thyroid gland or all of the gland . Your surgeon also removes any nearby lymph nodes where cancer cells have spread.
- Radioiodine therapy: With radioiodine therapy, you swallow a pill or liquid containing a higher dose of radioactive iodine than whats used in a diagnostic radioiodine scan. The radioiodine shrinks and destroys the diseased thyroid gland along with cancer cells. Dont be alarmed this treatment is very safe. Your thyroid gland absorbs almost all of the radioiodine. The rest of your body has minimal radiation exposure.
- Radiation therapy: Radiation kills cancer cells and stops them from growing. External radiation therapy uses a machine to deliver strong beams of energy directly to the tumor site. Internal radiation therapy involves placing radioactive seeds in or around the tumor.
- Chemotherapy: Intravenous or oral chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells and stops cancer growth. Very few patients diagnosed with thyroid cancer will ever need chemotherapy.
- Hormone therapy: This treatment blocks the release of hormones that can cause cancer to spread or come back.
Don’t Miss: Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For Your Thyroid
Whats Included In A Full Thyroid Panel
A full thyroid panel usually checks thyroid-stimulating hormone , triiodothyronine , and thyroxine levels. In some cases, a blood test for thyroid function will also check your bloodâs level of TPO antibodies. If you have abnormal thyroid hormone levels, high levels of TPO antibodies can point to an autoimmune thyroid disease as a possible reason for those abnormal levels.
Thyroid Problems: Here Are The Warning Signs And How To Check
If youre a woman, theres a good chance you spend a lot of time thinking about your breasts. You may have wanted them to be bigger as an adolescent, stressed about your milk supply as you became a mother and started lactating, or entered the stage of life where you need regular mammograms to help protect against breast cancer .
But theres another body part you need to make sure youre monitoring: your thyroid. Similar to the prevalence of breast cancer among women, the American Thyroid Association says that 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop a thyroid disorder, and 60% of those who have one are unaware of their condition.
Here, experts explain why staying on top of your thyroid function is important, and list some red flags that something may be up with yours.
Also Check: Thyroid Eye Floaters
Complementary And Alternative Medicine
Some people try other therapies to cleanse the body, restore immune function, and balance the production and release of hormones. You should talk to your doctor if you’re interested in these other methods to make sure they won’t harm you or interfere with your treatment.
A naturopath may use homeopathic mixtures, herbs, preparations based on traditional Chinese medicine , and acupuncture to remove blocks to your ”life force energy.” Naturopaths are authorized to treat thyroid disease in some states, but in others, it’s illegal. While they may help with the stress associated with thyroid disease, there are no good studies showing that these therapies are effective for treating thyroid disorders.
Chiropractors use spinal manipulation to treat symptoms of thyroid disorders by easing muscle tension and improving blood circulation.
Other Ways To Test Your Thyroid
What about the more traditional ways to assess your thyroid? Those shouldn’t be ignored either which is why they are mentioned here.
First on the list is the use of thyroid function testing which can be done by checking your blood.
This gives us an idea as to how much thyroid your gland is producing in total because we can assume that most of the thyroid that is produced by your thyroid gland is being released into your blood.
We can also test how responsive your thyroid gland is to influence from your brain by looking at hormones which are secreted from the brain .
All of this information helps us understand how your thyroid is functioning at the various levels of thyroid regulation.
Each one is important and has value, contrary to popular belief, with some tests being more valuable than others.
Thyroid Function Testing
There is definitely an art to testing the thyroid with many different tests being available.
Ordering the right tests and putting them into the greater context is very important for every thyroid patient.
I recommend that you use thyroid lab testing in conjunction with the other tests I already mentioned.
As it relates to lab tests, I’ve broken down the important lab tests below.
You can read more about each of these labs, what they mean, and how to interpret your results in the links provided above.
Each test gives you slightly different information and it’s important to understand how they all fit together.
And this is a good thing.
Also Check: What Is Np Thyroid Used For
Thyroid Hormone And Body Temperature
Thyroid hormone plays a major role in the metabolism of every cell of the body. It helps to increase the metabolic activity of the vast majority of cells and helps to regulate the bodys temperature levels. When thyroid hormone expression is dysregulated, body temperature will be altered.
In addition, the individual may experience a number of other unwanted symptoms such as unexplained weight gain, menstrual or fertility problems, fatigue, dry skin and hair, high cholesterol and more. I go over these symptoms in detail in this article.
Top 10 Thyroid Tests And How To Interpret Them
Medically reviewed and written by Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP on August 25, 2021
Many cases of thyroid problems are missed because most doctors dont perform a comprehensive test panel. I spent almost a decade undiagnosed because I only had one marker tested. My thyroid condition was missed completely, leading me to deal with needless mystery symptoms like chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, and many others, for far too long!
I have a copy of my lab results from 2008, before I was diagnosed with Hashimotos and still searching for a reason behind my exhaustion, hair loss, anxiety, and digestive issues. On this lab report, my TSH is at 4.5 IU/mL, and there is a note written from the doctor: Your thyroid function is normal, no need to do anything. Perhaps a TSH of 4.5 IU/mL would have been normal for a 95-year-old woman, but I was 25 and sleeping 12+ hours a night to feel rested! Of course, even as a pharmacist, I didnt think to question the doctor and most people dont.
If you suspect that you may have a thyroid condition, or know someone who does, this article will go over all of the most helpful tests that can help you identify a thyroid condition.
This article will also teach you how to understand your labs so that you can advocate for proper treatment for yourself.
In this article, Ill go over:
Also Check: Can You Take Collagen With Thyroid Medicine
Thyroid And Basal Body Temperature
One of the major clinical signs of hypothyroidism is low body temperature. Analyzing the bodys basal body temperature through axillary testing is a fantastic way to assess your thyroid function in a low-cost, non-invasive way.
This test was popularized by Dr Broda Barnes MD, and has been used by many medical and natural health care practitioners over the years . Some research has been doing on BBT, showing that it is highly correlated with low thyroid activity
While most people are aware that the standard body temperature is 98.6 degrees F, the normal underarm temperature is 97.8-98.2 deg F or 36.6-37 deg C. If your temperature is consistently under 97.4 deg F or 36.5 deg C, then you most likely have under functioning thyroid activity. If the temperature is consistently above 99 degrees than you may have hyperactive thyroid activity.
Getting A Diagnosis And Treatment
Together with a physical exam and medical history, diagnostic tests are necessary to determine if you have a thyroid problem.
Your doctor may order blood tests to detect the levels of the hormones TSH, T4 and T3 in your blood, which can indicate hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. You may also need to take a thyroid antibody blood test, which can help diagnose underlying autoimmune diseases that can cause hormonal imbalances.
Some people may also need an ultrasound. This scan uses sound waves to take pictures of the thyroid gland and can identify thyroid nodules that may be affecting thyroid function.
If you are diagnosed with a thyroid problem, know that there are treatments available. Many people take medications to balance their hormones, while some may need thyroid surgery or radioiodine therapy. Being proactive is critical to your thyroid health, so share your concerns, ask questions and partner with your care team to find a treatment plan that works for you.
Medical City Healthcare provides comprehensive emergency services across North Texas.
At Medical City Healthcare, we’re dedicated to the care and improvement of human life. So, we hope you’ll Take Care!
You May Like: Armour Thyroid Copay Card
How Do You Check Thyroid Problems From Home
Your thyroid is the small gland that sits in the lower part of your neck. It produces a specific group of hormones that control a number of your bodys functions, including your metabolic health . This is why, if your thyroid doesnt release enough hormones , or is producing too much , youll likely experience a whole host of signs and symptoms such as fatigue, unexplained changes in weight, and muscle weakness.
According to the American Thyroid Association, around 20 million people in the United States have some form of thyroid disease and up to 60% of these are unaware of their condition. If thyroid problems go undiagnosed and untreated, they can cause a range of complications this why its so important to keep an eye on your thyroid health. So if youre experiencing symptoms or you think something doesnt feel right, you can check in on your thyroid from home with LetsGetCheckeds range of at-home Thyroid Tests.
How To Test For Thyroid Problems At Home
How to check your thyroid hormones at home?
The Everlywell at-home thyroid test can tell you if your thyroid hormone levels suggest hypothyroidism. This test requires only a few drops of blood as a sample. After getting your online test results, you can easily see your levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone , free T3 and T4, and TPO antibodies. High TSH and/or low T3 and T4 can indicate hypothyroidism.
You can also take our thyroid test at home to check your hormones for indications of hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism means your thyroid gland is overactive: itâs producing too many hormones. Low levels of TSH and/or high T3 and T4 can suggest hyperthyroidism.
You May Like: Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For Your Thyroid
Feel The Bumps And Enlargements
Gently touch the area around your thyroid gland to try to palpate any enlargement, bumps, or protrusions. To differentiate between the thyroid and the other structures of your neck:
Using Btt To Look At Adrenal Function
The adrenals work to increase blood flow throughout the body as cortisol works with its cousin aldosterone, which are both made in the adrenal cortex. Cortisol helps to maintain blood sugar, while aldosterone helps to retain sodium and maintain blood pressure. When we retain more sodium, we also retain more water, which increases blood volume and blood pressure. When we retain less sodium, we also retain less water, which decreases blood volume and blood pressure.
When people have hypertension or high blood pressure, they often take an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor to lower aldosterone levels and therefore lower blood pressure. When the signaling process in the body, called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis is dysregulated, we can end up with either high or low cortisol/aldosterone levels.
Low blood pressure is a common symptom for an individual with low cortisol, while high blood pressure is common for individuals with high cortisol. Other symptoms associated with HPA or adrenal dysfunction I discuss in detail in this article.
Also Check: Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For Your Thyroid
What Are The Signs Of Thyroid Problems
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland is not producing a sufficient level of thyroxine and triiodothyronine .
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism include:
- Fatigue or feeling tired all the time
- Slow pulse or heart rate
- Hair loss or thinning
- Poor tolerance of the cold
- Dry, coarse, or thickened skin
- Enlarged thyroid gland
- Eye condition related to hyperthyroidism
LetsGetCheckeds at-home Thyroid Test will determine how your thyroid is performing by looking at thyroid-stimulating hormone , free thyroxine , and free triiodothyronine . TSH is produced by the pituitary gland in the brain and it controls the production of T3 and T4 from the Thyroid gland. The process is simple:
You should consider taking a test if:
What Is Postpartum Thyroiditis
Postpartum thyroiditis, or inflammation of the thyroid after giving birth, affects 10% of women. It often goes undiagnosed because symptoms are much like the “baby blues” that may follow delivery. Women with postpartum thyroiditis may feel very tired and moody.
Postpartum thyroiditis typically happens in two phases, though not everyone with the condition goes through both phases:
- The first phase starts 1 to 4 months after giving birth and typically last 1 to 2 months. In this phase, you may have because the damaged thyroid leaks thyroid hormones out into the bloodstream.
- The second phase starts about 4 to 8 months after delivery and lasts 6 to 12 months. In this phase, you may have because the thyroid has lost most of its hormones or because the immune attack is over and the thyroid may recover later.
You May Like: Apple Cider Vinegar For Hypothyroidism
Can I Live A Normal Life With A Thyroid Disease
A thyroid disease is often a life-long medical condition that you will need to manage constantly. This often involves a daily medication. Your healthcare provider will monitor your treatments and make adjustments over time. However, you can usually live a normal life with a thyroid disease. It may take some time to find the right treatment option for you and control your hormone levels, but then people with these types of conditions can usually live life without many restrictions.
Why Hypothyroidism Is Not Diagnosed On Symptoms Alone
Many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism are fairly common complaints found in people with a normally functioning thyroid gland, so it can be hard to decipher if the symptoms are related to the thyroid. One of the best ways to figure out if your symptoms could be related to a thyroid condition is to consider how long you have been experiencing them.
For example, have you always felt cold when others were warm? Did you just start to notice decreased energy? If you are starting to notice new signs and symptoms, it could be related to a thyroid issue. However, only a physician can diagnose a thyroid problem.
Also Check: How To Reduce Double Chin Due To Thyroid
Why Its Hard To Detect Hypothyroidism
According to Jacob Teitelbaum MD and Bill Gotlib CHC authors of the Real Cause Real Cure, most doctors dont know about research showing that the TSH test is unreliable.
Dr. Teitelbaum adds that over the decades these tests have been continually updated with ever expanding definitions of who is and isnt hypothyroid. He says that there is no reason to believe that the current test effectively detects every case of hypothyroidism.
In 2002 the American Association of Clinical endocrinologists revised the normal range for TSH test stating that anyone with a TSH of over 3.0 is hypothyroid. This means that approximately 13 million Americans with ranges from 3.1 to 5.0 had not been treated for hypothyroidism because their lab results regarded as normal.
The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists estimated that the new guidelines actually double the number of people who have abnormal thyroid function.