With all the things going on in the world it’s easy to overlook getting your thyroid checked.
So today I am shining the light on thyroid testing which is especially important if you are struggling with thyroid fatigue and other symptoms.
Comprehensive testing forms an important diagnostic framework and provides invaluable insights into your thyroid health.
Essential Thyroid Tests Explained
A comprehensive thyroid panel includes two critical thyroid hormones; free T3 (FT3) and free T4 (FT4). These life-sustaining thyroid hormones need to be optimal as they pretty much run your metabolism, making sure you stay fit, well and happy.
Thyroid testing should also include a check of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). When FT3 and FT4 levels in the blood begin to fall the body releases more TSH. In effect, high TSH indicates your body wants to step up thyroid hormone production. Sometimes this feedback system is not functioning properly and TSH remains elevated, indicating a hypothyroid state.
Additionally, given the prevalence of autoimmune thyroid disorders it’s crucial to consider screening for a potential thyroid-immune problem.
You can do this by running the anti-thyroglobulin antibodies (TgAb) and anti-thyroperoxidase (TPO) antibodies tests. The TPO test is the most common test used to diagnose an autoimmune disorder such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. When thyroid antibodies are raised it indicates a silent autoimmune attack is occurring. And that’s problematic, as over time this immune attack sparks inflammation, even destruction of the fragile thyroid.
But that’s not all you should be checking. If you’ve been under enormous stress or have been feeling unwell for some time I recommend running a less obvious test. Called the reverse T3 (RT3) test, this specific test identifies how much RT3 is circulating in your bloodstream.
In my professional opinion I believe this test is crucial to effectively diagnose and manage hypothyroidism. The reason is, RT3 slows metabolism thereby triggering symptoms commonly associated with a sluggish thyroid.
Working With Your Healthcare Practitioner
A decrease in hormone production leads to lower energy levels which can leave you feeling flat and fatigued. As you can imagine it’s important to get professional help.
Before you see your practitioner I suggest you make a list of the tests you wish to run and the symptoms you are experiencing. Not only that, don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. After all, you are your own best health advocate.
To get a reliable diagnosis your healthcare practitioner will take a full medical history, discuss your symptoms, and perform a physical examination of your neck.
A thyroid ultrasound may also be requested as a visual inspection of the thyroid provides important information on the size and structure of the thyroid. This is usually requested if there is swelling or pain in the thyroid region.
To make things a little easier here’s a list of the tests discussed here today.
- Free Thyroxine (FT4).
- Free Triiodothyronine (FT3).
- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH).
- Anti-thyroglobulin antibodies (TgAb).
- Anti-thyroperoxidase (TPO) antibodies.
- Reverse T3 (RT3).
Hopefully your healthcare practitioner is willing to order the tests you need to properly evaluate the health of your thyroid.