Your annual physical exam may not reveal that you have an underlying condition but a thyroid checkup can. Even the most basic Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test that reveals high or low TSH levels is not part of any standard workups. A thyroid test procedure is only done if your doctor suspects you have a thyroid disorder or if you ask for one. Find out what thyroid tests to ask for during your next doctor’s appointment.
Thyroid Checkup: What Tests to Ask For?
In this article:
- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Test
- Free Thyroxine (Free T4) Test
- Free Triiodothyronine (Free T3) Test
- Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb) Test
- Thyroid Biopsy
1. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Test
Thyroid stimulating hormones (TSH) are hormones in your body which stimulate your thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones. A TSH test is usually the first thyroid test a doctor would recommend to see if you have high or low TSH levels which are signs of a thyroid condition.
2. Free Thyroxine (Free T4) Test
Free T4 are thyroid hormones which haven’t bonded to the protein in your blood and play a major role in your growth and metabolism. Additionally, free T4 is the main product of your thyroid gland and the body converts it into T3 which the body spends for energy. Low levels of Free T4 is a sign of hypothyroidism and too much can lead to hyperthyroidism.
3. Free Triiodothyronine (Free T3) Test
Free T3 is another thyroid hormone which hasn’t bonded to protein in your blood and is the conversion product of T4. High T3 levels can lead your doctor to suspect you to have Graves disease or hyperthyroidism. While abnormally low T3 levels is an indicator of hypothyroidism.
4. Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb) Test
Patients diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease because of their TPOAb levels. TPO is an enzyme in your thyroid gland which helps produce your thyroid hormones. In addition, the presence of TPO antibodies from your TPOAb test is a sign of an autoimmune disorder where your own antibodies are attacking your normal tissues. These tissues are usually part of your thyroid gland which hinders the production of your thyroid hormones.
5. Thyroid Biopsy
A thyroid biopsy is only done if your thyroid nodule is enlarged. This procedure includes the insertion of a specialized needle into your thyroid to take a small tissue sample to analyze. A biopsy can help your doctor find out if the lump in your thyroid gland is benign or malignant. For a more accurate biopsy, ask your doctor to have an ultrasound guide in order to extract a more viable sample.
Watch this video from Dr. Brant Larsen, DC for more thyroid tests you can take:
A typical annual physical or checkup does not include thyroid function tests unless you specifically ask for it. If you haven’t had a thyroid checkup in a while, it’s time to go back to your physician and request for a TSH test. If you’re unsatisfied by your TSH results, you can also ask for a Free Thyroxine (Free T4) test, a Free Triiodothyronine (Free T3) test, or a Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb) test.
Have you had a thyroid checkup? What tests did your doctor ask you to take? Share your thoughts and experience with us in the comments below!