Thyroid test is basically a combination of blood tests used to find out if thyroid is working the way it should or not. The thyroid is a small gland, which looks like a butterfly and it is located at the base of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. Through a thyroid test, You will get to know if the thyroid gland is producing just the right amount of hormones. If your thyroid gland does not produce enough of T3 and T4 hormones, you may experience few symptoms like weight gain, lack of energy and depression. This is known as hypothyroidism. On the other hand, if the gland produces excess of these hormones, you can experience weight loss, high levels of anxiety, etc. This condition is called hyperthyroidism.
Thyroid test, which is basically a combination of few blood tests, normally includes –
TSH – Thyroid stimulating hormone or TSH is produced in the pituitary gland and it is responsible for regulating the balance of two very important thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) in our blood stream. This is usually the first test which is conducted under thyroid test to check the imbalance of thyroid hormone. If the report shows an elevated TSH level and a reduced level of thyroid hormone, it is known as hypothyroidism. On the other hand, if the TSH level is low and the thyroid hormone is found in excess, the condition is called hyperthyroidism. If the TSH level is found in an abnormal state, further tests can be done for the measurement of thyroid hormones directly including thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). The normal range of TSH for an adult is 0.40-4.50 milli-international units per liter of blood.
T4 or Thyroxine – Thyroxine tests are done for diagnosing hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. This further helps to monitor the treatment of thyroid disease. In case of hypothyroidism, the levels of T4 is found low, whereas, high levels of T4 is noticed in hyperthyroidism. The normal range of T4 for an adult is 5.0-11.0 micrograms per deciliter of blood.
T3 or Triiodothyronine – This is another test to evaluate the severity of hyperthyroidism. Low levels of T3 can be observed in hypothyroidism, but in case of hyperthyroidism, the T3 levels are increased, hence this test is very useful for diagnosing and management of hyperthyroidism. The normal range of T3 for an adult is 100-200 nanograms per deciliter of blood.
FT4 or Free Thyroxine – This test is used to measure T4, that eliminate the effect of proteins, which bind T4 and can potentially prevent getting accurate measurement.
FT3 or Free Triiodothyronine – FT3 test is used to measure T3 that eliminate the effect of proteins, which naturally bind T3 and can prevent accurate measurement.
Why get Tested for Thyroid
Since thyroid gland regulates many of our body’s vital functions, hence it is very important that it works properly. But sometimes, thyroid disorder cannot be traced until things turn more serious. Here lies the importance of undergoing a thyroid test. Thyroid test helps our doctor to detect and diagnose any potential thyroid problems and show us the right way to prevent them.
Most of the people across the globe suffer from some kind of thyroid disorder. Surprisingly, a large number of people with thyroid problem are not even aware that they have it. Fatigue, hair loss, mood swings, weight gain, tiredness, etc. are some of the most common symptoms of having thyroid disease. In fact, stress in our general life can also be a sign that our thyroid gland is not functioning properly. However, all of the above mentioned symptoms are pretty common and they are easy to ignore. Hence, most people do this mistake of not taking these symptoms seriously and they don’t even bother to see a doctor. But this is a big mistake. The consequences of postponing diagnosis and treatment can be serious and if totally ignored, thyroid disorders can cause complicated health problems, such as increased risk of cardiovascular problems and risk of developing osteoporosis.
When to get Tested for Thyroid
Many times people cannot realize that their thyroid gland is not functioning as it should be. Because there is nothing unusual they notice with their health. However, even if you feel fully fit and healthy. It is still a good idea to go for thyroid test at regular interval of 6 to 12 months.
In case, you are experiencing sudden weight loss, and unexplained gain of weight, mood swings, irregular menstruation, heavy bleeding during periods or abnormally scanty flow, changes in bowel movement, Tremors in the hands, Increased heart rate, Puffiness, Bulging of the eyes, Trouble sleeping, Fatigue, Hair loss, Low tolerance for cold temperatures etc. These can be the symptoms of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. The best thing to do is to visit your doctor immediately and seek his/her advice about undergoing thyroid test.
Preparation for Thyroid Test
Any special preparations is not required for a Thyroid blood test. Fasting is not essential for thyroid test.
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