Friday, August 19, 2022
HomeExclusiveHow To Test For Thyroid Issues

How To Test For Thyroid Issues

Why Do I Need A Tsh Test

Thyroid Problems – TSH Lab Test and Low Thyroid Symptoms

You may need a TSH test if you have symptoms of too much thyroid hormone in your blood , or too little thyroid hormone .

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism, also known as overactive thyroid, include:

Symptoms of hypothyroidism, also known as underactive thyroid, include:

  • Weight gain
  • Low tolerance for cold temperatures
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Constipation

The Problem With Traditional Lab Tests

As you can see, thyroid problems and treatments are more complex than simply trying to fix a shortage of hormones as determined from testing TSH and T4. For better results, and a more holistic treatment plan, patients need more comprehensive assessments. Below are five causes of thyroid problems that wont be detected by standard tests.

How Does A Blood Test For Hypothyroidism Work

How to test for hypothyroidism?

Itâs important to note that there is no hypothyroidism test that can check thyroid hormones andâbased only on those test resultsâconclusively determine if someone has hypothyroidism. Thatâs because both thyroid hormone testing and a physicianâs evaluation of symptoms and medical history is required for a diagnosis.

A blood test for hypothyroidism is based on your levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone and the thyroid hormones T3 and T4. Because TSH signals the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormones, unusually high levels of TSH can mean that your thyroid isnât making enough hormones.

A thyroid lab test might also measure T3 and T4 to reveal just how low your thyroid hormone levels are, which can help your healthcare provider decide on a treatment strategy.

Don’t Miss: Is Thrush A Sign Of Underactive Thyroid

Drawing Blood For Thyroid Function Tests

Talk to your doctor about any medications youre taking, and tell your doctor if youre pregnant. Certain medications and being pregnant may influence your test results.

A blood draw, also known as venipuncture, is a procedure performed at a lab or a doctors office. When you arrive for the test, youll be asked to sit in a comfortable chair or lie down on a cot or gurney. If youre wearing long sleeves, youll be asked to roll up one sleeve or to remove your arm from the sleeve.

A technician or nurse will tie a band of rubber tightly around your upper arm to make the veins swell with blood. Once the technician has found an appropriate vein, theyll insert a needle under the skin and into the vein. You may feel a sharp prick when the needle punctures your skin. The technician will collect your blood in test tubes and send it to a laboratory for analysis.

When the technician has gathered the amount of blood needed for the tests, theyll withdraw the needle and place pressure on the puncture wound until the bleeding stops. The technician will then place a small bandage over the wound.

You should be able to return to your normal daily activities immediately.

Reading Other Thyroid Test Results

Thyroid Issues? Check Out Your Eyes!!
  • 1Include your doctor. The beauty of our medical system is that patients do not have to interpret their own results. Your doctor will order tests and interpret your results. She can provide a diagnosis and begin a treatment plan, which likely will include a combination of medication and lifestyle changes. Having a general working knowledge of the results and what they mean can help you understand the disorder and help understand the treatment for the condition.
  • Ordering your own tests can be very dangerous and often lead to misguided treatment. You would not try to fix an engine if you did not have training this is no different.
  • 2Interpret thyroid antibody testing to differentiate between various types of thyroid diseases. If you have been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder, your doctor will likely order a series of other thyroid investigations in order to more thoroughly investigate and confirm your diagnosis. Antibody testing is commonly performed, and may lead to important clues as to what is going on with your thyroid.
  • Thyroid antibody testing can help to differentiate between types of thyroiditis and also autoimmune conditions of the thyroid.
  • TPO may be elevated in autoimmune thyroid conditions such as Grave’s Disease or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
  • TG may also be elevated in Grave’s Disease or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
  • TSHR may be elevated in Grave’s Disease.
  • A thyroid biopsy can take a sample of a suspicious nodule and rule in or rule out the possibility of cancer.
  • Also Check: What Organ System Is The Thyroid Gland In

    What Is Thyroid Disease

    Thyroid disease is a general term for a medical condition that keeps your thyroid from making the right amount of hormones. Your thyroid typically makes hormones that keep your body functioning normally. When the thyroid makes too much thyroid hormone, your body uses energy too quickly. This is called hyperthyroidism. Using energy too quickly will do more than make you tired it can make your heart beat faster, cause you to lose weight without trying and even make you feel nervous. On the flip-side of this, your thyroid can make too little thyroid hormone. This is called hypothyroidism. When you have too little thyroid hormone in your body, it can make you feel tired, you might gain weight and you may even be unable to tolerate cold temperatures.

    These two main disorders can be caused by a variety of conditions. They can also be passed down through families .

    Signs You Should Do A Thyroid Function Test

    If any of these hormones are out of balance it can lead to a thyroid disorder and cause a wide range of symptoms. If youre experiencing any of these symptoms its really important to check your thyroid function. Its also common for thyroid disorders to run in families so its particularly important to test your thyroid function if you think you might be at risk. You can test your thyroid function as part of our women’s hormones blood test.

    Don’t Miss: How Long For Armour Thyroid To Leave System

    Lab Tests Of Biopsy Samples

    In some cases, doctors might use molecular tests to look for specific gene changes in the cancer cells. This might be done for different reasons:

    • If FNA biopsy results arent clear, the doctor might order lab tests on the samples to see if there are changes in the BRAF or RET/PTC genes. Finding one of these changes makes thyroid cancer much more likely.
    • For some types of thyroid cancer, molecular tests might be done to see if the cancer cells have changes in certain genes , which could mean that certain targeted drugs might be helpful in treating the cancer.

    These tests can be done on tissue taken during a biopsy or surgery for thyroid cancer. If the biopsy sample is too small and all the molecular tests cant be done, the testing may also be done on blood that is taken from a vein, just like a regular blood draw.

    What Medications Can Affect The Thyroid Panel Tests

    How to Fix Thyroid Problems in Men and Women | Hypothyroidism | Thyroid Hormone Resistance Test

    Many multivitamins, supplements , and over-the-counter and prescription medications may affect thyroid test results and their use should be discussed with your healthcare practitioner prior to testing. For example, biotin can interfere with some lab tests, so your healthcare practitioner may advise you to refrain from taking biotin or supplements that contain biotin for a few days before having blood drawn for a thyroid panel.

    Don’t Miss: How Long Can You Have Thyroid Cancer Without Knowing

    Thyroid Problems Are Hard To Diagnose: Heres Why

    Your thyroid is a small organ with a huge impact on all aspects of your health. Thyroid hormone impacts every cell in your body, so even a small disturbance in thyroid hormone levels affects your digestive tract, brain, heart, metabolism, glucose and cholesterol levels, and much more.

    Yet, despite its importance, thyroid problems are one of the most under-diagnosed conditions in the world. As many as 60% of people with thyroid problems arent aware. By some estimates, up to one in 10 North Americans have a thyroid problem, and that number rises to one in eight for women. Thats a lot of people experiencing unnecessary health issues!

    For many people, thyroid issues are the result of low levels of thyroid hormone, a condition referred to as hypothyroidism. Some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

    Weight gain

    Infertility

    Dry skin

    To further complicate matters, many thyroid treatments fall spectacularly short when it comes to improving a patients quality of life. At the root of the problem lie inadequate diagnostic tools. Traditionally, conventional medical practitioners run two tests for thyroid hormone levels: one for thyroid-stimulating hormone levels and one for the hormone thyroxine . Then they place patients on thyroid hormones or iodine in hopes of restoring balance. In effect, this is a Band-Aid solution that doesn’t get to the root of the problem.

    How To Order Your Lab Tests

    If your doctor is ordering the thyroid labs for you, be sure to request a copy so that you can see them for yourself and ensure that they are interpreted correctly.

    Additionally, I have included self-order options for most of the labs discussed, in case your current doctor wont order the labs for you.

    The self-order options are discounted panels that I set up with Ulta Lab and can be ordered anywhere in the U.S. You will receive a lab order that can be taken to your local lab, and the results will be sent to you electronically.

    You can order each individual test that I recommend below, or you can order the entire discounted panel here.

    In many cases, you can self-order the labs and then send the receipts for reimbursement to your insurance.

    Now, lets take a look at each thyroid test and what they mean for your thyroid health.

    You May Like: Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For Hyperthyroidism

    What Are Normal Thyroid Hormone Levels

    The thyroid itself is regulated by another gland that is located in the brain, called the pituitary. In turn, the pituitary is regulated in part by the thyroid and by another gland called the hypothalamus.

    The hypothalamus releases a hormone called thyrotropin releasing hormone , which sends a signal to the pituitary to release thyroid stimulating hormone . In turn, TSH sends a signal to the thyroid to release thyroid hormones. If a disruption occurs at any of these levels, a defect in thyroid hormone production may result in a deficiency of thyroid hormone .

    Hypothalamus – TRH

    Thyroid – T4 and T3

    The rate of thyroid hormone production is controlled by the pituitary gland. If there is an insufficient amount of thyroid hormone circulating in the body to allow for normal functioning, the release of TSH is increased by the pituitary gland in an attempt to stimulate more thyroid hormone production. In contrast, when there is an excessive amount of circulating thyroid hormone, TSH levels fall as the pituitary attempts to decrease the production of thyroid hormone.

    • In persons with hypothyroidism , there is a continuously decreased level of circulating thyroid hormones.
    • In persons with hyperthyroidism , there is a continuously elevated level of circulating thyroid hormones.

    Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scan

    Ten Tests That You Should Take Biennially

    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.

    Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Thyroid Swelling

    Why Do I Have Thyroid Symptoms If My Tsh Is Normal

    Some people treated for hypothyroidism;may still experience symptoms even if blood tests show that their thyroid stimulating hormone levels are well within the normal range. The reasons for this are complex, but the bottom line is that having a normal TSH value doesn’t necessarily mean that all of your symptoms will go away.

    What Are The Types Of Thyroid Disorders

      Blood tests are used to diagnose hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. They do not point to a specific cause. In order to determine a cause of the thyroid abnormality, the doctor will consider the patient’s history, physical examination, and medical condition. Further testing might be used to isolate an underlying cause. These tests might include more blood testing for

      • thyroid antibodies,
      • ultrasound of the thyroid gland, or
      • others.

      If thyroid cancer is suspected and surgery may be required, your physician may ask for a blood test known as thyroglobulin.

      • Thyroglobulin is a protein made only by thyroid cells.
      • If the thyroglobulin level at baseline is detectable or elevated it can be used as a tumor marker.
      • After a total thyroidectomy for cancer the level should fall to an undetectable range since the cells that make thyroglobulin have been removed.
      • If the level remains detectable after surgery, there is a possibility of thyroid tissue elsewhere in the body, and metastatic disease should be considered.
      • If the level is undetectable for a period of time after surgery and then starts to climb, a recurrence of the cancer – either at the primary site or elsewhere in the body should be considered.

      Don’t Miss: What Are Early Warning Signs Of Thyroid Cancer

      Inquire About A T3 Drug

      There are many doctors who consider the addition of a T3 hormone, in the form of Cytomel , wholly unnecessary and problematic. They will point to the fact that it is prone to rapid uptake in the intestines and may quickly turn a hypothyroid problem into a hyperthyroid problem. T3 hormones can also interfere with T4 blood test results and complicate the monitoring of your disease. All of these things are true, but to a degree.

      If you are able to maintain control of your TSH and T4 but are feeling unwell, the addition of Cytomel may improve your symptoms, according to research from Spain and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

      The same research suggests that the combination of Cytomel and levothyroxine may improve symptoms without any additional side effects compared to levothyroxine alone.

      Ask Your Doctor About Natural Desiccated Thyroid

      Thyroid testing: How to get 100% accurate results (how and when to test your thyroid)

      In recent years, an increasing number of people are embracing a century-old treatment called natural desiccated thyroid , which is derived from the dried thyroid gland of pigs or cows. NDT delivers T4, T3, and other thyroid hormones in a tablet form and is today used by the likes of Hillary Rodham Clinton and others to manage their hypothyroid symptoms.

      While NDT is not officially approved for the treatment of hypothyroidism, it is regulated by the FDA and allowed to be sold by prescription, having been “grandfathered” in as a standard of care since the 1950s.

      NDT is marketed under many different brand names, including Armour Thyroid, Nature-Throid, WP Thyroid, and others.

      Also Check: Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For Your Thyroid

      What To Consider In Your Personal And Family Medical Histories

      Its important to give your physician as many details as possible about your personal medical history, as well as family history . Be sure to discuss:

      • Your general state of healthparticularly any changes you have noticed in your general overall health.
      • Your familys health historyespecially if a close relative has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism .
      • Whether youve ever had thyroid surgery, or radiation to your neck to treat cancer.
      • Any medicines you may be taking that could cause hypothyroidism .

      Physical ExaminationLooking for Signs of HypothyroidismYour physician will perform a thorough examination and look for physical signs of hypothyroidism, including:

      • Evidence of dry skin
      • Swelling around the eyes and legs
      • Slower reflexes
      • Slower heart rate

      Blood Tests:;Hypothyroidism can be detected by different blood tests.

      • TSH Test.;;A thyroid-stimulating hormone or TSH is a blood test that measures the amount of T4 that the thyroid is being signaled to make. If you have an abnormally high level of TSH, it could mean you have hypothyroidism.
      • T4 Test.;The thyroid gland produces T4 . The free T4 and the free T4 index are blood tests that, in combination with a TSH test, can let your physician know how your thyroid is functioning.;

      Normal and Abnormal TSH Ranges

      An easy way to remember how the thyroid works–think about supply and demand. As the T4 level falls, the TSH rises. As the T4 level rises, the TSH falls. However, not everyone with hypothyroidism has elevated levels of TSH.;

      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.

      You May Like: Is Noni Juice Good For Thyroid

      How To Read Thyroid Test Results

      This article was medically reviewed by Shari Forschen, NP, MA. Shari Forschen is a Registered Nurse at Sanford Health in North Dakota. She received her Family Nurse Practitioner Master’s from the University of North Dakota and has been a nurse since 2003. This article has been viewed 69,845 times.

      The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck that produces thyroid hormone. Thyroid disorders, in which the gland produces too much or too little of the hormone, can influence many functions in your body, from your heart rate to your metabolism. If your doctor thinks you are suffering from an overactive or under-active thyroid, she may order tests. Reading the results can seem like a complex task; however, if you have a systematic approach and understand what each test represents, you can determine whether or not you have a thyroid problem and, if so, what the problem is. Remember that only your doctor can diagnose thyroid disease, so make sure you talk with her about the results so you can begin treatment if necessary.

      RELATED ARTICLES

      Popular Articles