What You Can Do
If you have definite symptoms of hypothyroidism, you should talk to your clinician about being tested. If your LDL cholesterol has been advancing or your weight has been creeping up unexplainably, you’ll want to discuss getting a test. If you’re 60 or older and generally healthy, it’s still a good idea to check with your doctor to see whether your medical history suggests you might benefit from testing.
How Is Free T4 Different From Total T4
Most of the T4 in the body is bound to proteins, with less than 1% typically being free or available for immediate use by the body. Protein-bound T4 and free T4 are measured together in a test called total T4.
The total T4 test is less reliable than free T4 because a number of factors may change the levels of protein in the body binding to T4. These protein levelsand therefore your total T4 levelcan be affected by pregnancy, oral contraceptive use, severe illness, or the use of medicines called corticosteroids. Many healthcare providers prefer to use the free T4 test because it is not affected by changes in the levels of binding proteins and is therefore considered more accurate.
Paloma Health’s Thyroid Blood Test Kit
Another kit provider and telemedicine company, Paloma Health, offers an at-home thyroid test for $99. Paloma could make big waves in this space in the future But right now, based on our testing, they are still playing catch-up with the other providers.
- Paloma is not yet available across the country, whereas LetsGetChecked is accessible nationwide.
- Slower shipping and processing times mean you cant get your test results as promptly from Paloma.
At-home testing is a very competitive and growing space, so stay tuned next year could be a different story. In the meantime, you can learn more about Paloma, as well as its currently limited thyroid medical and nutritional consultations, by checking out our full Paloma Health review.
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Thyroid Disorders And Symptoms
If you dont produce enough thyroid hormones your bodily processes start to slow down. Signs of an underactive thyroid include:
Autoimmune thyroid diseases An autoimmune disease is when your immune system mistakenly attacks your body in this case, thyroid antibodies attack your thyroid. This can lead to a thyroid disorder. Types of autoimmune thyroid diseases include Graves disease or Hashimotos disease .
Can I Take The Test At Home
At-home thyroid test kits are commercially available without a prescription and measure the same hormones as the traditional thyroid panel.
For at-home testing, you prick your finger to get the necessary blood sample. That sample is then mailed to a laboratory that conducts the thyroid panel and makes the results available to you directly.
While at-home testing can measure thyroid levels, it is generally not a substitute for a test ordered by your doctor. If an at-home test detects abnormal thyroid levels, your doctor will likely recommend a new blood sample and thyroid panel to confirm the results. At-home tests for thyroid labs may not be as accurate as tests done in a laboratory.
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What Are Thyroid Function Tests Used For
People with some conditions have an increased risk of thyroid problems and so are often advised to have thyroid function tests undertaken each year. This conditions include:
Thyroid function tests can also be done to:
- Monitor treatment with thyroid replacement medicine for people who have hypothyroidism.
- Check thyroid gland function in people who are being treated for hyperthyroidism.
- Screen newborn babies for inherited problems with the thyroid gland.
How Do You Know If A Thyroid Test Kit Is Reputable
First, its important that the test kit itself is certified by Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments , which ensures quality laboratory testing. Youll also want to check if they are certified by the College of American Pathologists , which ensures best practices regarding obtaining accuracy of test results and meeting other important required standards. According to Dr. Shah, The lab Paloma Health uses is a CLIA and CAP-certified lab, government-certified at the gold standard of the lab industry. The labs are tested versus commercially available labs to be equivalent in their results.The same goes for other test kits made by other companies: Other services who use CLIA- and CAP-certified labs will also provide accurate readings, she says.Dr. Shapiro also recommends asking your endocrinologist or healthcare provider if they can recommend a reputable thyroid test kit.The good news is that at-home test kits, when bought by a reputable provider, are generally very reliable. According to a study in the Journal of Medical Screening, they offer accurate and inexpensive testing.
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Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scan
MRI scans use magnets instead of radiation to create detailed cross-sectional images of your body. MRI can be used to look for cancer in the thyroid, or cancer that has spread to nearby or distant parts of the body. But ultrasound is usually the first choice for looking at the thyroid. MRI can provide very detailed images of soft tissues such as the thyroid gland. MRI scans are also very helpful in looking at the brain and spinal cord.
What Does Your Thyroid Gland Do
Your thyroid gland is a gland found at the front of your neck, just below your Adams apple. Your thyroid gland produces hormones that play a key role in regulating your metabolism and affects things like your heart rate, body temperature, and breathing. These hormones are:
The levels of these hormones are controlled by thyrotropin-releasing hormone and thyroid-stimulating hormone .
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Thyroid Hormone Test Results
Other medications can interfere with thyroid laboratory measurements, but not with the actual functioning of the thyroid.
A few examples of these medications include:
- Certain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories
Lastly, research has found that the supplement biotin can interfere with the measurement of thyroid blood tests. Therefore, it’s recommended that people who take biotin stop doing so two days prior to having their thyroid blood tests.
How Else Can You Potentially Diagnose Hypothyroidism Without Blood Tests
While blood work is the gold standard for assessing your current thyroid status, it goes without saying that it is time consuming and expensive to get blood tests every few weeks, and a cheap, quick and easy way to evaluate if your thyroid health is trending in a positive direction between blood tests would be invaluable.
Fortunately, I learned about a way this can be done when I was in the process of restoring my own thyroid health.
You can test for hypothyroidism with a thermometer at home to accomplish this.
As a caveat, this method is by no means a concrete method of diagnosing whether or not you have hypothyroidism.
But if you are looking for an easy yet cheapor freeway of knowing you might have the disorder you may do so by checking your bodys temperature with a thermometer.
Yes, that same thing that you either put under your armpit or in your mouth to see how warm your body is.
You probably already have one lying in one corner of your house.
But if you do not, a little visit from the nearest drug store or buying one off Amazon will suffice.
A high quality thermometer is not cost-prohibitive, and it will prove to be an invaluable tool throughout your life when assessing how micro-changes in your lifestyle or diet impact your thyroid status.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to have to get a blood test every single time I change every little thing in my life to see if it negatively or positively impacts my thyroid health.
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When Should I Get T4 Testing
There are a number of different reasons why a doctor might order a T4 test. Often it is ordered to follow up on an abnormal TSH test result.
It may also be used when a patient has symptoms that may be related to a thyroid disorder. Underactive thyroid and overactive thyroid are both common diseases. If you are having symptoms of these disorders, your doctor may order a T4 test in combination with other thyroid function tests, such as TSH and T3. This series of tests is also called a thyroid panel.
Hypothyroidism affects nearly 5% of adolescents and adults in the United States. Symptoms of hypothyroidism may include:
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Loose, frequent bowel movements
There are additional reasons why a doctor might check a patients T4, such as monitoring the effectiveness of treatment with replacement thyroid hormones, screening newborns for congenital hypothyroidism, and to evaluate possible problems with the hypothalamus or pituitary gland.
T3 Resin Uptake Results
A T3 resin uptake, also known as a T3RU, is a blood test that measures the binding capacity of a hormone called thyroxin-binding globulin . If your T3 level is elevated, your TBG binding capacity should be low.
Abnormally low levels of TBG often indicate a problem with the kidneys or with the body not getting enough protein. Abnormally high levels of TBG suggest high levels of estrogen in the body. High estrogen levels may be caused by pregnancy, eating estrogen-rich foods, obesity, or hormone replacement therapy.
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Medical History And Physical Exam
If you have any signs or symptoms that suggest you might have thyroid cancer, your health care professional will want to know your complete medical history. You will be asked questions about your possible risk factors, symptoms, and any other health problems or concerns. If someone in your family has had thyroid cancer or tumors called pheochromocytomas, it is important to tell your doctor, as you might be at high risk for this disease.
Your doctor will examine you to get more information about possible signs of thyroid cancer and other health problems. During the exam, the doctor will pay special attention to the size and firmness of your thyroid and any enlarged lymph nodes in your neck.
When Do I Need A Thyroid Test
One may need a thyroid test if you think you have symptoms of underactive or overactive thyroid gland. Having excessive thyroid hormones in your blood is called hyperthyroidism and insufficient thyroid hormones is known as hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism include following:
- Weight gain
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Your Thyroid Does Change As You Age
As with any organ, your thyroid may start to function differently as you get older.
Thyroid dysfunction generally occurs in either early adulthood or between the ages of 40 to 50, Lee said. As we get into our 70s, TSH naturally increases, meaning that your thyroid hormone levels may shift to be a little lower. This seems to happen to protect our bodies as we age, with less stress on our heart and metabolic system.
This is important to note, Lee said, because it gives physicians a greater threshold to treat someone who is older who may have higher TSH levels. Alternatively, low TSH levels can be more harmful the older we get.
This isnt to say that if youre young, you dont need to think about your thyroid at all. Thyroid disorders can happen at many different ages, as can lumps.
We do know that the younger population, those in their 20s, 30s and 40s, can develop thyroid nodules, Rao said. The vast majority of these nodules, especially if theyre below one centimeter, are 95% of the time completely benign. But its still important to be aware that they are there, and periodically monitor them.
Difference Between Hemopet And Msu
There isnt much of a difference between Hemopet and MSU, but I found Hemopet was slightly cheaper than MSU. I highly recommend visiting Hemopet and MSUs websites and printing blood work collection protocols before bringing your dog in for testing. One thing I really liked about Hemopet is Dr. Dodds would note if your dog was considered hypothyroid at the bottom of your test results. It took 10 days to receive Sobeks results.
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What Do The Results From My Thyroid Function Test Mean
Your doctor will discuss the results of your thyroid function test with you.An abnormal TSH usually indicates a deficiency or an excess of thyroid hormones available to your body, but it does not indicate why this is happening. An abnormal TSH result is usually followed by additional testing of FT3 and/or FT4 to investigate the cause.A high TSH result:
- often means an underactive thyroid gland
- can also occur if you have an underactive thyroid gland and are receiving too little thyroid hormone medication
- can indicate in rare cases a problem with your pituitary gland, such as a tumour.
A low TSH result:
- can indicate an overactive thyroid gland or damage to your pituitary gland that prevents it from producing TSH
- can also occur if you have an underactive thyroid gland and are receiving too much thyroid hormone medication.
How To Test Your Thyroid Function
You can test your thyroid function using a blood sample. The two main ways to collect a blood sample are:
- a venous blood test a trained professional will use a needle to puncture a vein, usually in your arm, to collect a blood sample.
- a finger-prick blood test using a lancet, you can prick your own finger and collect a small blood sample.
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How To Test For Hypothyroidism
This article was medically reviewed by Ricardo Correa, MD. Dr. Correa is a board certified Endocrinologist. Dr. Correa is the Program Director of the Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Fellowship at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and was a previous Assistant Professor of Medicine at Brown University. He completed his MD at the University of Panama and completed an internal medicine residency at the Jackson Memorial Hospital – University of Miami. He has been voted one of the 40 Under 40 Leaders in Health by the National Minority Quality Forum in 2019.There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 29,535 times.
Reasons For Thyroid Disease Symptoms With Normal Thyroid Test Results
Inside: Research-Backed reasons why people have a thyroid function test normal values but still have thyroid disease symptoms. Whats the underlying reason for thyroid symptoms. What can affect false thyroid test results?
Thyroid problems are very prevalent these days, especially in middle-aged women. Their prevalence is increasing day by day and many women suffer from terrible thyroid symptoms on a daily basis.
Hypothyroidism/Hashimotos disease come with a range of symptoms and oftentimes these symptoms can have multiple underlying reasons.
There is a large number of women that we are seeing who have all thyroid disease symptoms with normal thyroid test results.
So I get this question very commonly: Can my thyroid tests be false? or Can my thyroid test results be normal and I can still have hypothyroidism?
The Answer to these questions is not simple and a little complicated.
So to answer this question first we need to understand some basics about thyroid hormone production in our body.
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Determining Who Should Get Tested
What Are Thyroid Blood Tests
Doctors use blood tests to check for thyroid or pituitary problems. In kids already diagnosed with thyroid or pituitary problems, the tests are used to guide treatment.
Commonly ordered thyroid blood tests include:
- T4 test: This is done to measure the blood level of the hormone T4 . It might be done in one or both of the following ways:
- total T4, which measures the entire amount of thyroxine in the blood, including the amount attached to blood proteins that help carry the hormone through the bloodstream
- free T4, which measures only the thyroxine that’s not attached to proteins. This is the part of T4 in the blood that affects how the body’s cells work.The results of the T4 blood tests can help diagnose hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism and guide treatment.
In some cases, abnormal thyroid test results can be due to a medicine, an ongoing medical condition, or pregnancy. In these cases, there may be nothing wrong with the thyroid or pituitary glands themselves.