TSH Test | The thyroid gland is only about 2 inches in size, however don’t underestimate it. Despite its small size, your thyroid makes a huge difference on your health. The thyroid is responsible for producing a hormone that is carried out in the bloodstream, affecting your metabolism, heart rate, body temperature, and brain function. This means that when your thyroid isn’t functioning well, your body isn’t either.
Hypothyroidism is a common disorder where the thyroid gland is unable to produce enough thyroid hormone. The main test to check if your thyroid is functioning correctly is called the thyroid stimulating hormone test or TSH test. However, this test may not be enough to determine whether or not your thyroid is functioning properly.
Why the TSH test may not be enough
Conventional thyroid testing is performed through the TSH test, which examines how much thyroid hormone your thyroid gland is producing. According to this test, if your TSH levels are below the threshold, you have may have hypothyroidism. However, this version of testing is assuming that your thyroid is the only gland that plays a role in the production of your hormones. The hypothalamus and pituitary gland are two very important glands that help notify your thyroid if it needs to produce more hormones. If either of these glands are not working properly, it will affect the hormone production.
Your thyroid produces several hormones including T4, and T3. T3 is the active thyroid hormone and has greater hormonal strength than T4. Since thyroid function is monitored using a TSH test, it is running on the assumption that the T4 hormone will automatically be converted to T3, which the body needs. However, experts are finding that it isn’t always the case. Many individuals have been misdiagnosed because TSH and T4 blood levels are in the normal range, while T3 levels are far below optimal. The TSH blood test is useful, but it may not be enough for everyone.
What tests are best for thyroid issues
In order to get the full picture of your thyroid, it is best to do several blood tests. While the TSH blood test is useful, it does not paint the full picture on what’s happening with your thyroid. In order to accurately test the thyroid, it is best to have a full thyroid panel performed. This includes the following tests: TSH, Free T4, Free T3, and thyroid antibodies (Anti-TG and Anti-TPO).
According to MedLinePlus, if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms you may be suffering from hypothyroidism:
- Chronic fatigue
- Weight gain (despite no change in diet or physical activity)
- Muscle and joint aches
- Hair loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Heavy/irregular periods
- Chronic constipation
Living with thyroid issues is difficult, and it can be even more difficult to diagnose. If you are concerned about your thyroid and think you may be suffering from hypothyroidism, consider a consult with a doctor of natural medicine Overland Park, KS, who can assist you. As a specialist in functional medicine, the best treatment plan will be created to help improve your overall health.
Thanks to in2GREAT Functional Medicine, for their insights on hypothyroidism and TSH testing, as well as alternative medicine.