Why is thyroid testing an important part of your health routine? And isn’t it just part of the annual screening bloodwork my doctor orders?
Vibrant thyroid function is key to a fabulous metabolism. And no, if you are generally feeling well your doctor probably won’t order any thyroid testing.
But I see many clients come into my office with metabolism issues. Sometimes, they come to me with IBS symptoms or stubborn weight loss issues. Sometimes it is nagging acne or overwhelming fatigue or anxiety. These can all be signs of poor thyroid function.
When many symptoms point to poor thyroid function, most primary care physicians will usually “order thyroid testing”, but only order one test: the TSH test. Then, when the results come back in the ‘normal’ range, the doctors will tell their patients they are fine.
Of course, that leaves people understandably frustrated. Afterall, their experience and knowledge of their own body tells them they are NOT fine.
TSH is just the starting place when it comes to thyroid testing. I coach my clients in the various thyroid markers that tell a much bigger story.
Since low thyroid function is often the result of the most common auto-immune disease in the world, Hashimoto’s Disease.
The fact that so many people aren’t even aware that they have Hashimoto’s may make it sound like it isn’t important. But it is something to take very seriously. Low thyroid function and Hashimoto’s Disease have some very serious symptoms and potential consequences.
This allow is reason enough to it is important to take a deeper look and get to the bottom of any thyroid issues you may have.
Are you aware that auto-immune disorders are like storms of chronic inflammation in your body? And chronic inflammation is found to be a precursor for some nasty diseases like arthritis, dementia, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease.
Knowing where your health is NOW is the first step you need in order to go follow the path to discover what is contributing to your inflammation. With knowledge we can dig down and get to the root cause(s). Then we can peel those layers away and get you back to optimal health.
Now you know WHY it is important to test more than your TSH. Let’s talk about WHAT else should be tested.
The markers that give you the information you need to really understand your thyroid are TSH, Free T3, Free T4, TPO antibodies, and TG antibodies.
So, when I talk about thyroid testing, I am looking at all of these markers. However, even if these markers look normal, it is possible to still have thyroid problems. So, if you feel terrible, please don’t just rely on these tests, or presume that because they are ‘normal’ that there is nothing you can do. What a powerless feeling that is! Remember, you know your body better than anyone else, and you will know what doesn’t feel ‘normal’ for you.
One thing to keep in mind with thyroid tests (and most standard tests) is that there is an established range that is considered “normal.” But what is normal for YOU may be different.
Instead of sitting on the sidelines, I encourage my clients to be their own health advocate. In this case, you will want to get an ultrasound of your thyroid to see if changes to the thyroid gland are evident. Often changes can be seen on an ultrasound before your labs ever show elevated antibodies.
You can access direct lab testing on my website from Ulta labs. Because you order the tests, the results are sent directly to you. Results from these tests are not sent to your insurance company or even to your doctor. You will then share the results with me and/or your doctor if you so choose.
Which Test is the Right One for Me?
The “Functional Thyroid Panel” is a superb test that includes all the thyroid markers I’ve mentioned. In addition, it also tests key metabolic hormones, gives you a complete blood count, A1c, insulin, and a lipid panel.
If you’re experiencing weight issues and you’ve not been tested, start with this test. You can’t beat the price of $266. The information you gain from this test will guide you in the steps you need to take to lose weight and get the thyroid support you need.
If you recently had your annual lab test from your physician and just want to dig a little deeper, I recommend you get two tests, Thyroid Panel with TSH for $44 and the Thyroid Peroxyidase and Thyroidglobulin Antibodies for $44. These two tests taken together give you a comprehensive view of thyroid function.
Still not sure which is right for you? You can schedule an appointment with me, and we’ll go over your symptoms and I will give you a personalized recommendation on thyroid testing. Learning if your thyroid health is compromised is step 1 in getting your overall health back. Don’t wait for your health to decline. Take matters into your own hands and get the test you need today.
Thyroid image from US Dept of Health and Human Services and the National Institute of Health.
Hashimoto’s Disease risk factors illustration by Emily Roberts, Verywell Health