Thyroid Testing At Home
Heather Dessinger This post contains affiliate links. to read my affiliate policy.
There arent a lot of functional medicine doctors in my community, and the ones that are here are often difficult to get an appointment with. Thats why when I started having some weird symptoms , I had to be creative about getting access to doctors and lab tests.
Two resources that I have grown to love are SteadyMD, which allows me unlimited access to my functional medicine M.D. via calls, texts and video chat, and EverlyWell, which offers lab tests that can be run at home without doctors orders.
Before I found SteadyMD, I drove 16+ hours to see my previous doctor for initial testing. It showed that my thyroid was a little low among other things, so I tracked my progress via independent testing while I looked for a local provider to follow-up with.
Active infections like Lyme can stress the thyroid, so its not surprising that mine was struggling. However, even when other things arent going on, low thyroid function is super common. According to The American Thyroid Association, one in eight women will develop a thyroid disorder in her lifetime, but about 60% of those affected will never know. The numbers for men are better, but not by much.
Why Test Your Thyroid Hormone
The thyroid gland is part of your endocrine system, which produces hormones that control and regulate many of the vital functions in your body, including: metabolism, digestive function, body temperature, menstrual cycles and more. 20 million Americans are estimated to have some form of thyroid disease, with almost 60% unaware of their condition.
Everything You Need To Know About Taking A Thyroid Test At Home
Problems with thyroid health are all too common. Up to 60% of the 20 million Americans estimated to have some thyroid condition are unaware they have the disease. Thyroid conditions are particularly prevalent among women, with one in eight likely to develop a disorder in their lifetime. Its essential to learn if your thyroid is not functioning correctly as soon as possible and to re-check routinely.
A handful of companies have perfected the ability to deliver state-of-the-art thyroid test kits to your home and evaluate your sample with outstanding accuracy. Weve tested these companies and their products to help you determine which at-home thyroid test will be best for you.
Read on for all the details, but for those in a hurry, here is a summary of our main findings:
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When Should I Get An At
Thyroid testing is tailored to a persons specific health needs, and there are no universal guidelines for the appropriate use of at-home thyroid testing. Many people choose at-home thyroid tests because they are curious about their own health. However, diagnosing and monitoring thyroid disorders require the interpretation and advice of a physician.
Feel For Lumps And Nodules
Before taking a thyroid blood test or other thyroid function tests, you may want to feel for lumps or nodules at the base of your neck. Thatâs because the thyroid is located close to your larynx and collarbone. Lumps or nodules may be an indication that something is wrong with your thyroid.
To check for a thyroid nodule or lump, you may need to tilt a mirror towards the base of your neck as you feel for any masses.
You may also want to drink a glass of water. If you notice pain or tenderness as you swallow, you could be experiencing thyroid disorder symptoms. If youâre curious about when to worry about thyroid nodules, check with your healthcare provider for more information.
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Challenges Associated With Testing Thyroid Function
The perfect thyroid test would analyze the levels of thyroid hormones in all of the bodys cells. Unfortunately, this is not possible. Instead, we have to infer information about hormone levels in the cells by measuring levels in the blood.
The difficulties with thyroid testing are often a result of this indirect measuring not effectively communicating complex interactions and processes at a cellular level. For example, the body cells might not be actively taking in the hormones, as the receptors have become resistant. This would mean the blood levels of the hormone would appear normal but may still cause unpleasant or dangerous symptoms.
If you suspect you might have a problem with your thyroid, a doctor will investigate by recording your symptoms and examining your neck to feel if your thyroid might be enlarged. This can be a good indicator of thyroid disease. Usually, blood tests can analyze the amount of thyroid hormones in circulation.
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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How To Understand The Results Of Your Thyroid Test
Many at-home test kits provide some level of interpretation within their test results which is usually emailed or found within their online patient portal, says Dr. Shapiro. However, it is still important to pass results on to your physician in order to arrive at a true diagnosis and begin treatment.”
Getting your hormone levels back on track if your test results and physician confirm a thyroid issue is a complex medical process, which is why working with an endocrinologist or other health professional who understands your thyroid is so vital if you do get a result outside of the typical range.
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 thyroid function 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.
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Reasons I Use Home Lab Tests
For those struggling with feelings of exhaustion, brain fog, moodiness or weight gain, the identification of a thyroid issue is obviously very helpful in getting the most out of life. Thyroid testing at home can be a convenient starting point for getting personalized information and education about hormones, omega 3 status, and more.
However, if a tests shows a problem, its important to work with a doctor you trust to correctly interpret the test, make a diagnosis, and make treatment/lifestyle recommendations.
In other words, it doesnt replace the role of a physician, but Ive found it helpful in several ways:
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A woman with a family history of thyroid problems decides to take the EverlyWell Thyroid Test. She collects a sample from the comfort of her own home and mails it back with the prepaid label.
- None have been identified for this spot
- Submit ONCE per commercial, and allow 48 to 72 hours for your request to be processed.
- Once verified, the information you provide will be displayed on our site.
- None have been identified for this spot.
- Submissions should come only from actors, their parent/legal guardian or casting agency.
- Submit ONCE per commercial, and allow 48 to 72 hours for your request to be processed.
- Once verified, the information you provide will be displayed on our site.
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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.
How Does Everlywell Work
When a person orders an at-home test kit, Everlywell sends the test request to an independent network of doctors. A board certified doctor reviews the request and decides whether it is suitable for the customer.
If the test is suitable for the person, the doctor approves it, and the company sends a test kit to them. The person then follows the instructions in the kit to collect the necessary samples and sends them through the mail to undergo testing in a laboratory.
Once the laboratory technicians have analyzed the persons samples, they send the results to the doctor who approved the test. The doctor then sends the results to Everlywell, who sends a notification to the customer.
If the doctor believes that the test the person has ordered is not suitable for them, they notify Everlywell, who issues a refund to the customer.
Everlywell encourages customers to share their test results with a healthcare professional. The company states that it is easy for someone to share their test results with a doctor if they want to. However, the company will not disclose test results to anyone without the persons permission.
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The Eight Blood Tests You Need To Assess Thyroid Function
December 6, 2017 by Megan
You didnt read that wrong. Thats right. I said the EIGHT blood tests for thyroid function assessment that you need to have run.
Now hold on, you think. My doctor only runs TWO blood tests for thyroid function TSH and T4. What am I missing??
Six other blood tests. Thats what youre missing.
Yes, TSH and T4 are important in the big picture of thyroid health, but without the other 6, MANY thyroid conditions often go undiagnosed. So you could be feeling like crap, wondering whats going on because your thyroid is normal according to your doctor.
Alright, lets get to it. Here are the EIGHT MOST IMPORTANT blood tests you need to have run in order to assess proper thyroid function.
Why I Like Everlywells Thyroid Test Kit
- It measures TSH, free T3, free T4, which gives a fuller picture than TSH alone.
- It also measures thyroid peroxidase antibodies. TPOs are often elevated with Hashimotos thyroiditis, which is the most common type of hypothyroidism in the United States.
- Each test is processed in a CLIA-certified lab reviewed by a board-certified physician
Also, as I mentioned above, it also has some advantages in terms of cost, convenience, and quick turnaround time for results.
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Everlywell: Your Source For At
When it comes to checking your thyroid, you canât leave anything to chance. In other words, you need Everlywell.
Our Thyroid Test makes measuring your free T3, Free T4, TSH, and thyroid antibody levels as straightforward as possible. Furthermore, our testing kits allow you to receive personalized, actionable results within days. Weâll even provide a digital consultation with a certified healthcare provider based on your results.
What Is Your Thyroid
The thyroid gland is located at the base of your neck. Its part of the endocrine system and is responsible for regulating hormones throughout your body to help you sleep, give you energy, and help you stay warm.
The main hormones it produces are thyroxine and triiodothyronine , which control how your cells use energy. Your thyroid gland regulates your metabolism through the release of these hormones.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid doesnt make enough T4, T3, or both. Its the most common thyroid condition, affecting 5% of the population worldwide, with another 5% who have the condition but havent been diagnosed.
In hyperthyroidism, the opposite occurs. The thyroid becomes too active and makes too much of the thyroid hormones.
Testing your thyroid levels at home is convenient and accurate when done correctly, and with the range of home test kits to choose from, you may find one that you like.
Read on to find out what thyroid tests are available and if theyre right for you.
Anyone can get their thyroid checked. However, certain populations can be at higher risk for thyroid disorders, including:
- people born with a uterus
- people with autoimmune disorders, including type 1 diabetes
- people with a history of thyroid disorders
- people who smoke
- people with a family history of thyroid disorders
You may want to undergo testing if youre showing any symptoms of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
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Best For Online Thyroid Treatment Planning: Paloma Health
Paloma Health Complete Thyroid Blood Test Kit
Website provides little information on testing procedure
Website provides little information about thyroid disease
Paloma Health is an online medical practice specializing in hypothyroidism, and thats why theyre the winner in this category. This test measures TSH, Free T4, Free T3, TPO. Paloma offers online consultations with a doctor or nutritionist once you get your results, and we value the continuity of testing their site provides.
Paloma Health is a newer company, founded in 2018. The company is a completely online medical practice specializing in hypothyroidism for patients over 18 who have hypothyroidism or whove had their thyroid removed. The site includes information on its 12 thyroid specialists, all of whom are board-certified in endocrinology, family practice, or internal medicine.
In terms of results, the samples are analyzed by CLIA-certified laboratories and physician-reviewed. The complete thyroid test is $99, which aligns with many of the other at-home tests we reviewed.
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.
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Summary Of Our Recommendations
Our evaluation of cost had a lot more to do with value than who had the lowest price. Technically, the least expensive thyroid test comes from Healthlabs, but it pales compared to its competitors in terms of thoroughness and convenience. And while the LetsGetChecked test is about $20 more than similar tests by Paloma Health and Everlywell, its measurement of thyroglobulin antibodies makes it the best value in the bunch.
Heres a quick breakdown of basic costs:
Why Would Someone Use An At
First, the kits might be an easy way to get a first glance at your thyroid health, especially if you have a sneaking suspicion that something could be off.
The kits are a great option for anyone looking to get more information on their thyroid function. They can be ordered by the consumer rather than having to go to a doctor to send your lab requisition, says endocrinolgist Sapna Shah MD of Paloma Health.
People experience all types of side effects from poor thyroid health, and starting with a thyroid screening can help to narrow things down and get to the root of the issue, Dr. Shapiro adds. On the flip side, theyre also for people who might already have a diagnosed condition and require regular lab results, he also notes.
When getting to a lab is difficult at-home tests can be a nice way to access care and information, says Dr. Shah.
And then theres the aspect of social distancing and safety: People are leaning towards at-home treatments now more than ever because of COVID, Dr. Shapiro says. Staying out of busy waiting rooms is a good enough reason alone.
At-home thyroid tests can also help cut down on costs and co-pays, as the test itself can be bought for a single fee. For example, the Everlywell kit tests for three main thyroid hormones: TSH, T3, and T4, as well as thyroid antibodies. It costs $99, which could be less than a doctors visit, copay, lab costs, or any potential out-of-network fees, depending on your health coverage.
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What To Consider When Searching For An At
In your search for an at-home thyroid test, decide what is most important for your needs. Most tests measure TSH and T4 levels. You may need further tests that measure levels such as T3, T7, TSI, and antibodies. Find out what types of recommendations for additional testing or treatment plans each company offers.
At-home tests can be considered if you have symptoms that cause you to suspect a thyroid disorder. You may also want to test your thyroid levels after implementing lifestyle changes, starting a new medication, or beginning a treatment plan. Its also a good idea to do a home test if you are at risk of developing a thyroid disorder.
At-home thyroid tests offer plenty of advantages and drawbacks to consider.