Side Effects Of Thyroid Blood Tests And Care
Thyroid blood tests are performed after a routine blood draw. That’s when blood is drawn from you by a syringe and sent to a lab. This is a safe procedure with few potential side effects.
It’s rare, but some people get nauseous or feel faint when they have blood drawn. Let the medical personnel know immediately if you experience these side effects.
Later, you may notice a small bruise or have some tenderness at the needle insertion site. An over-the-counter pain reliever or an ice pack can help with this.
You should get medical attention if the insertion site is:
These are signs of an infection, which needs to be treated with antibiotics.
How Does A Blood Test For Hyperthyroidism Work
A TSH test for hyperthyroidism evaluates your levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone , and the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 may also be evaluated. Because TSH signals the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormones, unusually low levels of TSH can mean that your thyroid is making too many hormones. T3 and T4 measurements can also reveal just how high your thyroid hormone levels are, which can help your healthcare provider decide on a treatment strategy.
A Full Thyroid Investigation
Why you might need it: The thyroid regulates metabolism, including body temperature, heart rate, growth, energy production, the musculoskeletal system and brain health: basically every cell in the body needs thyroid hormones to function. If youre struggling to lose weight or have a low mood, its worth exploring the thyroid hormones.
What will it tell you? An imbalance of either high or low levels of TSH are linked to hyperthyroidism . If you get your thyroid tested by your GP, they usually just test some of the thyroid hormones .
But its also worth looking at FT3 levels when FT4 is normal and hyperthyroid is suspected. FT3 levels are usually raised and are the first to show change. Low levels of T3 are linked to depression.
Make the most of your moods and hormones, we have vitamins, tools and tips to help you support you better,
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Preparing For The Tests
You dont need to do anything special to prepare for the thyroid function tests. If a healthcare professional has ordered other blood tests to be taken at the same time, you may need to fast for several hours before the test. They will let you know of any special instructions to follow.
Otherwise, you will not need to follow any specific directions before the test.
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Your thyroid gland produces hormones that help control your metabolism. If you dont make enough of these hormones its called hypothyroidism . If you make too much of these hormones its called hyperthyroidism . Thyroid disorders are sometimes caused by an autoimmune disease. If your thyroid isnt working properly it can cause tiredness, weight gain or loss, and mood problems. A blood test can check for a thyroid disorder and autoimmune thyroid disease.
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What Other Tests May Be Ordered In Addition To A Thyroid Panel
Blood tests that may be performed in addition to a thyroid panel may include:
- Thyroid antibodies – to help diagnose autoimmune thyroid disease and distinguish it from other thyroid conditions
- Calcitonin – to help diagnose C-cell hyperplasia and medullary thyroid cancer
- Thyroglobulin – primarily to monitor treatment and recurrence of thyroid cancer
- Thyroxine-binding globulin – to evaluate patients with abnormal T4 and T3 levels
What Happens If Test Results Indicate A Thyroid Problem
A person should contact their doctor if they receive a positive test result. The doctor may confirm the result with a blood test in their office or clinic.
Some companies offer follow-up consultations with healthcare professionals, who can answer questions and describe the next steps.
If a person receives a negative result but continues to experience concerning symptoms, they should contact a healthcare professional.
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Does Birth Control Affect My Thyroid
When youre on birth control pills, the estrogen and progesterone inside of the pills can affect your thyroid-binding proteins. This increases your levels. If you have hypothyroidism, the dose of your medications will need to be increased while youre using birth control pills. Once you stop using birth control pills, the dosage will need to be lowered.
Why Is The Thyroid Important
The thyroid hormones regulate the brain and nerve function and development, plus the function of the skin, hair, eyes, heart, kidneys and intestines. It also regulates our body temperature, muscle growth and strength and has a significant impact on fertility and digestion.
The thyroid is critical to the bodys functions in both men and women, though women are at higher risk of developing thyroid problems. One in eight women will be affected by a thyroid disorder during the course of their lives.
When the thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone , the condition is called hypothyroidism. When the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone , the condition is called hyperthyroidism.
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Thyroxine Triiodothyronine And Tsh Levels
The main job of the thyroid gland is to make the hormone thyroxine, also known as T4 because it has four iodine molecules. The thyroid also makes the hormone triiodothyronine, known as T3 because it has three iodine molecules, but in smaller amounts, explains Cathy Doria-Medina, MD, an endocrinologist with HealthCare Partners Medical Group in Torrance, California. The thyroid gland makes mostly T4, the T4 has to be converted to T3, because T3 is the part of thyroxine that actually does the work, she says.
The pituitary gland at the base of the brain controls hormone production in your body. It makes thyroid-stimulating hormone , which tells the thyroid gland how much T4 and T3 to produce. The TSH level in your blood reveals how much T4 your pituitary gland is asking your thyroid gland to make. If your TSH levels are abnormally high, it could mean you have an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism. Thats because it indicates your pituitary gland is producing more TSH in an effort to stimulate your thyroid to produce thyroid hormone, according to the Mayo Clinic.
TSH levels go in the opposite direction of your thyroid hormone, Dr. Doria-Medina explains. If youre making too little thyroid hormone, your TSH will go up. If youre making too much thyroid hormone, your TSH will go down.
If your TSH is higher than 4.0 mU/L on repeat tests, you probably have hypothyroidism.
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 you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s essential to check your thyroid function. It’s also common for thyroid disorders to run in families, so it’s imperative to test your thyroid function if you think you might be at risk.
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Types Of Thyroid Function Tests
The purpose of thyroid blood tests is to measure the thyroid gland’s function. This is done by looking at hormones and other substances produced by the thyroid gland and organs that control thyroid function.
A single test offers helpful information about your thyroid health, but it usually takes more than one test to get a complete picture.
How Often Should Thyroid Levels Be Checked
How often you check your thyroid function depends if you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Its recommended you test your thyroid function once a year if you have hypothyroidism, and monthly if you have hyperthyroidism. However, you can test yourself at home with our thyroid blood test kits at any time, whether youve been diagnosed or not.
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What’s Included In A Thyroid Function Test
A thyroid function test will usually measure your levels of:
A more advanced test will also test for the presence of any thyroid antibodies that could be causing an autoimmune disease. This might check your levels of:
- thyroid peroxidase
- thyroglobulin antibodies
- TSH receptor antibodies
It’s important to note that the presence of these antibodies in your blood doesn’t automatically mean you have autoimmune thyroid disease but it can indicate an increased risk of developing one in the future.
Some vitamins and minerals are essential for your thyroid to function properly like vitamin D, vitamin B12, folate , and iron. A nutrient deficiency can sometimes mimic the symptoms of a thyroid disorder. If possible, it’s a good idea to test your thyroid hormones and these nutrients.
What Are Thyroid Blood Tests And Why Are They Taken
Thyroid blood tests are used to tell if your thyroid gland is functioning properly by measuring the amount of thyroid hormones in your blood. They are done by withdrawing blood from a vein in your arm. These blood tests help to diagnose thyroid diseases.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front part of your neck. Its job is to produce thyroid hormones, which travel through your bloodstream and regulate many aspects of your bodys metabolism, including temperature, weight, and energy.
Thyroid blood tests show if you have:
- Hyperthyroidism: Overactive thyroid producing more thyroid hormones than your body needs. Hyperthyroidism speeds up your metabolism, which can cause weight loss, rapid heartbeat, insomnia, puffiness around the eyes, anxiety and other symptoms. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves disease.
- Hypothyroidism: Underactive thyroid producing too few thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism slows down your metabolism, which can cause weight gain, menstrual irregularity, dry and puffy skin, fatigue and other symptoms. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimotos disease.
Thyroid blood tests are used to diagnose thyroid disorders associated with hyper- or hypothyroidism. These include:
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Things That Can Affect Your Thyroid Function Results
MedicationsSome medications can interfere with your results, so it’s important to tell your doctor about any drugs you take.
PregnancyBeing pregnant can also influence your results. So if you’re pregnant, make sure to discuss this with your doctor.
Time of dayYour circadian rhythm can slightly affect your TSH levels. This means that the time of day you do your blood test could affect your results. TSH typically peaks in the early hours of the morning, drops to lower levels mid-morning, and increases again in the early evening. How much your levels will change really depends on you as an individual.
You Have Depression Memory Issues Nervousness Or Irritability
This is one of the most frustrating things about not being diagnosed with a thyroid issue. You may be depressed, have memory issues, or be annoyed or panicky all the time, and you think it’s psychological instead of physical. Dr. Romy Block, a Chicago-area endocrinologist, told me that “mood changes ” can indicate that your thyroid is out of whack. The Mayo Clinic cites depression as a symptom of hypothyroidism, but it can also manifest in hyperthyroidism, as one counselor wrote in Psychology Today, and as a patient case study on the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s website shows.
Other things to look out for include “nervousness, anxiety and irritability,” which the Mayo Clinic says may be a sign of hyperthyroidism. And Dr. Block told me that “a common symptom of hypothyroidism is memory loss,” so if you feel like you’re being too forgetful these days, there might be a reason.
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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 , or radiation to your neck to treat cancer.
Any medicines you may be taking that could cause hypothyroidism .
When To Contact A Doctor
Contact a doctor if your test results are abnormal, which could indicate a thyroid disorder. If your results are normal, you may want to see a doctor if you have any health concerns, symptoms of a thyroid disorder, or a personal or family history of thyroid conditions.
You can also visit your doctor to discuss or interpret your test results. They can confirm the results of your home test, which may include a diagnosis of a thyroid condition. Your doctor can also recommend treatments, additional tests, and any lifestyle changes.
See a doctor if you have symptoms of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, which may include:
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Here Are Some Basic Guidelines To Keep You On Track:
When you feel fantastic and are entirely symptom-free, have your thyroid tested every six months
When you change medications OR dosage of medication, have your thyroid tested every 4-8 weeks until thyroid hormone levels are where you want them.
When you have elevated thyroid antibodies, have your thyroid tested every 4-8 weeks until antibodies are under control
When Reverse T3 is high OR, the ratio between Free T3 and Reverse T3 is low, have your thyroid tested every three months until the numbers stabilize.
Keep in mind that the “type” of thyroid test your doctor orders makes a big difference. Many doctors don’t check antibody levels, and most never monitor reverse T3. So, in addition to maintaining a regular testing schedule, it’s sometimes necessary to request that your doctor order more comprehensive testing overall.
How Is Hypothyroidism Treated
In most cases, hypothyroidism is treated by replacing the amount of hormone that your thyroid is no longer making. This is typically done with a medication. One medication that is commonly used is called levothyroxine. Taken orally, this medication increases the amount of thyroid hormone your body produces, evening out your levels.
Hypothyroidism is a manageable disease. However, you will need to continuously take medication to normalize the amount of hormones in your body for the rest of your life. With careful management, and follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider to make sure your treatment is working properly, you can lead a normal and healthy life.
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Your Personal Cholesterol Levels Are Up
One of the reasons people don’t always know that they should ask to get their thyroid checked is the fact that so many of the symptoms can also indicate some other issue besides too-high or too-low thyroid hormonal levels. You don’t think of a high cholesterol level as indicative of a thyroid problem, but it can be. The Mayo Clinic says to watch out for an “elevated blood cholesterol level” as a symptom of hypothyroidism. The American Thyroid Association explains why this is. “When thyroid hormone levels are low and TSH levels are increased , cholesterol levels are increased,” the organization says. So treatment for the condition may also help to lower cholesterol levels.
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.
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The Best Home Thyroid Tests Of 2022
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Testing for health conditions at home is becoming increasingly popular. Before buying an at-home thyroid test, a person should consider which hormones the test detects, how much it costs, and how quickly the results arrive.
This article looks at a range of home thyroid tests a person can consider and looks into whether home thyroid tests work. It also discusses some of the most frequently asked questions about home thyroid tests.
How Can I Check My Thyroid At Home
To check your thyroid at home, order an online test, which you will receive by mail. Once you receive your kit, carefully read and follow the instructions, which may specify the time of day to do the test.
In addition to written directions, companies may provide instructional videos and online tutorials. Contact the company or a healthcare professional before taking the test if you have questions or if any of the information is unclear.
Most tests require using a lancet to prick your finger and collect a blood sample. Drop the blood onto a test strip or into a small tube before sending it to the laboratory. Youll usually receive your electronic results within a week.
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