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.
What Are Thyroid Blood Tests
A blood test is done by taking some blood from the vein to test the thyroid hormone levels. The thyroid blood test determines whether you have a thyroid disease if the range is either above or below the normal range. The initial tests that your doctor will usually recommend if you have any symptoms are TSH or T4. The normal range for thyroid is 0.40 4.50 mIU/mL.
What Is A Tsh Test
TSH stands for thyroid stimulating hormone. A TSH test is a blood test that measures this hormone. TSH levels that are too high or too low may be a sign of a thyroid problem.
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. Your thyroid makes hormones that control how your body uses energy. Thyroid hormones affect nearly every organ in your body, including your heart. They help control your weight, body temperature, muscle strength, and even your mood. If you don’t have enough thyroid hormones in your blood, many of your body functions slow down. If you have too much, many body functions speed up.
Your thyroid is controlled by a gland in your brain, called the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland makes thyroid stimulating hormone . TSH tells your thyroid how much thyroid hormone it needs to make.
If the thyroid hormone levels in your blood are too low, your pituitary gland makes larger amounts of TSH to tell your thyroid to work harder. If your thyroid hormone levels are too high, the pituitary gland makes little or no TSH. By measuring TSH levels in your blood, you can find out if your thyroid is making the right level of hormones.
Other names: thyrotropin test
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What Are Different Types Of Thyroid Diseases
1. Hypothyroidism: this thyroid disease occurs when the thyroid glands do not produce enough hormones to regulate your bloodstream. As a result, it causes various functions of your body to be dysfunctional. It slows down your metabolism, which ultimately affects your body negatively.
2. Hyperthyroidism: this thyroid disease occurs when the thyroid glands produce excessive hormone hormones than the normal range. As a result, it fastens your metabolism, which may increase your blood pressure or heartbeat.
3. Thyroid nodules: these are lumps found in the neck either in groups or alone. These are harmless sometimes other times, they can cause hyperthyroidism or cancer in extreme cases. An ultrasound or a biopsy will be done to find out if the nodules are harmless or harmful. If they turn out to be dangerous, your doctor may advise you to get the surgery done to remove those nodules.
What Is Thyroid Disease And Who Is At Risk
As many as 1 in 20 people are thought to have a thyroid disorder. There are a number of different conditions that can affect the normal functioning of the thyroid, including an underactive thyroid , an overactive thyroid , autoimmune disease, thyroid swelling , nodules or thyroid cancer.Although anyone can develop a thyroid disorder, factors including being female or over the age of 50, and people with a family history of thyroid problems, can increase an individuals risk of developing thyroid disease.
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What Is It Used For
A TSH test is used to find out how well your thyroid is working. It can tell if you have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism in your blood. But a TSH test can’t show what is causing a thyroid problem.
If you take prescription thyroid hormone medicine because of hypothyroidism or because you had your thyroid removed, you’ll have regular TSH tests to check your thyroid hormone levels. TSH tests are also used to monitor your thyroid hormone levels after treatment for hyperthyroidism.
What Is Being Tested
Thyroid function tests are used to check for a number of thyroid problems. The tests measure the amount of different hormones including thyroid stimulating hormone , thyroxine , and triiodothyronine . Other tests on the thyroid include various antibodies related to thyroid tissue.
TSH is produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. TSH is carried in the blood to the thyroid gland, which sits at the front of the neck. From there, TSH influences how much T4 and T3 are released into the blood.
TSH, T3 and T4 levels can all be tested in the blood. Your doctor will probably test TSH first, then T3 and T4 if TSH is abnormal. Tests can also be used to measure antibodies to diagnose autoimmune thyroid disease.
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Blood Test Codes: 11 Common Abbreviations Explained
In 30 seconds
Medicine is full of technical terms and unfamiliar language. Thats to be expected. But for those that arent well-acquainted with blood test codes and abbreviations, that can all be a little overwhelming. Particularly when you are looking for important information about your health.
What are some of the most common blood test codes? You may have heard doctors refer to FBC, HbA1c, or PSA, LFT or TFT, ESR or INR, HDL or LDL. These are all types of blood tests that can help you and your doctor monitor a range of different health conditions. And there are many more.
If you are in any doubt about what your blood tests mean, talk to the professional that is administering the test. They should be able to clear up any uncertainties that you have.
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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.
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How Can A Thyroid Blood Test Help You
This test checks your thyroid function and helps you understand if your symptoms might be due to a thyroid disorder, like an overactive or underactive thyroid. It also checks to see if youre getting enough of the nutrients needed for a healthy thyroid or whether your symptoms may be due to key vitamins and minerals deficiencies.
An underactive thyroid and overactive thyroid could explain :
- weight loss or weight gain
- shaking and tremors
- increased irritability, anxiety, or depression
- fatigue and lack of energy
- muscle aches, cramps, or weakness
- irregular or heavy periods
Once diagnosed, your thyroid function needs to be monitored to ensure your thyroid hormone levels are optimal. With a GP report and advice on how to maintain or improve your results, we help you understand how to support your thyroid function.
We recommend doing a thyroid blood test every 3 months if you have an underactive or overactive thyroid.
Taking A Thyroid Test
The thyroid panel test is performed on a blood sample. If a doctor performs the test, the blood sample comes from drawing blood from a vein with a needle. And if the test is being performed at home, the kit typically contains a lancet, which pricks the finger to draw blood that you place on a card to send back to the lab.
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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 essential to check your thyroid function. Its also common for thyroid disorders to run in families, so its imperative to test your thyroid function if you think you might be at risk.
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What Do The Results Mean
Your TSH test results can tell you if your thyroid is making too much or too little thyroid. But the test can’t explain why your TSH levels may be too high or too low.
If your test results aren’t normal, your provider will probably order other thyroid blood tests to find out what’s causing your thyroid problem. These blood tests may include:
- Thyroid antibodies test to help diagnose an autoimmune thyroid disorder, such as:
- Graves’ disease, the most common cause of hyperthyroidism
- Hashimoto’s disease, that the most common cause of hypothyroidism
In certain cases, an abnormal TSH result may be a sign of a pituitary gland problem, but this doesn’t happen often.
Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.
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Side Effects Of Thyroid Blood Tests And Care
Thyroid blood tests are performed using a routine blood draw. That’s when blood is drawn from you with 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 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 TSH levels 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 thyroid treatment strategy.
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Why Do I Need A Tsh Test
You may need a TSH test if you have symptoms of too much or too little thyroid hormone in your blood.
Hyperthyroidism is also called overactive thyroid. Having more thyroid hormones than you need speeds up your body functions and causes symptoms that include:
- Weight loss, even though you may be eating more than usual
- Sweating or being very sensitive to heat
- Frequent bowel movements
Hypothyroidism is also called underactive thyroid. Not having enough thyroid hormone slows down your body functions and causes symptoms that include:
- Being very sensitive to cold
- Joint and muscle pain
You may also have a TSH test, along with other tests, to help diagnose unusual bumps or lumps on your thyroid that may be thyroid cancer or thyroid nodules .
The Four Most Important Thyroid Tests To Ask For
There is no single test that will tell you everything you need to know about your thyroid. Rather, there are a number of tests that provide insight into different aspects of thyroid function. Which will be the best tests for you will depend on your individual symptoms and whether hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism is suspected.
The four most important types of thyroid tests are:
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Can I Use My Cell Phone After Radioactive Iodine
You will have to stay in your room for at least 1 to 2 hours after your treatment. You can use your cell phone or watch TV to help pass the time. You wont be able to have visitors during this time. You may not have any side effects from the treatment right after you get it, but you may have side effects later.
Fasting And Thyroid Test Results
Studies have shown that time of day and fasting can affect your results. If you test in the early morning after overnight fasting, the results may show higher levels. This is compared to tests done later in the day with no fasting.
That can be a problem if you have subclinical hypothyroidism. This is when you have a mildly elevated TSH and normal free T4, but no symptoms. Free T4 is the active form of T4.
This condition is diagnosed and monitored based solely on TSH. T4 and T3 levels are usually normal.
If you get your blood test in the afternoon when you have not been fasting, your TSH levels will be lower. Because of this, your subclinical hypothyroidism may be missed.
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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.
What Are The Treatments Of Thyroid Disease
There is no one treatment for thyroid disease. However, as there are different types of it and causes of it, hence your doctors will prescribe you accordingly. One thing to note is that the thyroid disease is incurable however, as hopeless as it sounds, it is manageable, and with a thyroid problem, you can still live your everyday life.
Before deciding your treatment plan, your doctor will examine your complete condition through different tests and symptoms. Additionally, your age, gender, other health conditions and type of thyroid disease plays a vital role in deciding the treatment plan.
Different drugs are introduced to balance the substance production of your thyroid glands. With your hypothyroidism, the production will increase, whereas, with hyperthyroidism, the production of hormones will decrease. The diet plans are also suggested by the doctors so that your overall health may not be affected. Exercises and herbal remedies will help manage your symptoms in a better way. Additionally, certain surgeries are also effective in thyroid problems. Your doctor can only determine and suggest to you how to manage your thyroid hormone levels.
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Medications That Interfere With Thyroid Level Testing
Be sure to let your doctor know if you are taking birth control or another form of estrogen, or if you are pregnant, as it can cause high levels of T3 and T4.
Also, supplements that include biotin can cause thyroid function test measurements to appear abnormal. Biotin is also known as vitamin B-7.
How Can I Get A Thyroid Test
A thyroid panel requires a blood sample. Laboratory testing involves using a needle to remove a small amount of blood from a vein in your arm. The procedure can happen in the doctors office, hospital, or a lab testing site.
In most cases, a thyroid panel is ordered by a doctor. Sometimes the thyroid panel analysis is automatically done by the lab on the original blood sample if an initial evaluation finds abnormal levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone.
You can also order a thyroid test online and receive a kit in the mail with the supplies you need to collect your sample and send it back to the lab for analysis. For example, this Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, Blood Spot measures TSH using a blood spot card.
Another option is to get a test online without a doctors order and visit the participating lab to provide a sample. If you choose to test at home or order your panel online, follow up with your doctor to discuss the results and next steps.
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Abnormal Results Of A Thyroid Blood Test
Since the most frequent concern, do you need to fast before a thyroid blood test has been addressed, let us move on to the three types of results of a thyroid blood test. Your thyroid blood test either shows a healthy result or an abnormal result . In the latter results, an abnormal result could be due to thyroid malfunction indicating either of the two hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism
A case where a high concentration of thyroid hormone is present in the blood is known as hyperthyroidism. Conditions that lead to this alleviation of blood thyroid hormone may include:
- Excessive iodine
- Thyroid Nodules
On the other hand, a condition where a lower than normal concentration of thyroid concentration is present in the blood is called hypothyroidism. Conditions that can lead to a decreased value of thyroid hormone in blood include:
- Iodine deficiency
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How To Prepare For Your Test
Prepare for your Thyroid Function Blood Test by following these instructions. Please take your sample before 10am. You should take this test before you take any medication or vitamin/mineral supplements. Do not take biotin supplements for two days before this test, discuss this with your doctor if it is prescribed.
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