It is important to have a complete thyroid function test to assess your thyroid hormone levels. Comprehensive testing will help reveal how well your thyroid gland is actually working.
An under active thyroid, or hypothyroidism as it is termed, results in decreased production of vital thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland. It's no secret low thyroid problems are becoming widespread, and many people suffer without even knowing it.
Although there are numerous lab tests that can be used to evaluate thyroid function, many doctors only test Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) levels due to restraints within the current medical model.
You may be told that your thyroid function is 'normal' when TSH levels are within an acceptable range. Unfortunately having normal TSH levels does not automatically rule out a hypothyroid condition.
Don't accept that a thyroid function test is 'normal' just because the result is within the reference range and you continue to experiences the obvious signs and symptoms of an underactive thyroid.
If you suspect you have a sluggish or under active thyroid it's vital to discuss comprehensive testing with your health practitioner. This includes measuring TSH, free thyroxine (T4) and free triiodothyronine (T3). This will assist an accurate diagnosis of actual thyroid function.
A single test of TSH does not reflect how much T4 and T3 is being produced. In addition, it does not assess how well T4 is converting to the active T3 form. In fact, it may not be converting at all, it may be converting to the inactive form of T3 called reverse T3 (rT3).
A test for rT3 will identify high levels of the inactive form of T3. Under normal conditions T4 will convert to both T3 and rT3 and the body quickly eliminates rT3.
When T4 converts to rT3 it leads to all the symptoms of hypothyroidism. rT3 is produced in higher amounts during periods of stress or in response to toxicity. A measurement of rT3 is valuable in identifying a condition called Reverse T3 Dominance.
In addition, evaluating levels of thyroid antibodies will disclose the existence of an active thyroid autoimmune disorder. Most commonly highly elevated levels of thyroid antibodies associated with low thyroid symptoms are due to a disorder called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
It is important that you understand your thyroid function test, and you should feel confident in asking your health practitioner for copies of your laboratory results.
Could you have an undiagnosed thyroid problem? A thyroid disorder can be difficult to diagnose if you rely solely on a single TSH assessment. If you have borderline hypothyroidism this test may not be accurate enough to diagnose a problem.
You should discuss any signs and symptoms you feel relate to your thyroid health with your health practitioner. The symptoms of hypothyroidism are significant indicators that your thyroid is not working well and your symptoms should be carefully evaluated along with the thyroid blood test results.
The common symptoms include dry skin and hair, low libido, unexplained fatigue, rapid weight gain, menstrual irregularities, mood changes, low blood pressure, heart palpitations, hair loss or muscle weakness.
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