If you’re experiencing symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, sudden weight loss and intense sensitivity to either warm or cold temperature, you should consider taking a thyroid function test to check for thyroid problems. We have listed the frequently asked questions about taking a thyroid function test.
Thyroid Function Test FAQs
What Is the Thyroid Gland?
The butterfly-shaped organ/gland located in the lower neck and along the front of the windpipe/trachea is the thyroid gland. Moreover, it is responsible for the hormone secretion that affects our metabolism, body development, and temperature.
What Are the Common Thyroid Diseases?
Hyperthyroid is caused by a hyperactive thyroid gland. Inflamed thyroid gland and autoimmune disorder are often the culprits of this disease. Symptoms include unexplained weight loss, racing heartbeat, heat intolerance, and anxiety.
Hypothyroid is caused by a deficient thyroid gland. This happens when the endocrine system does not produce enough thyroid hormones. Symptoms include weight gain, fatigue, hormonal imbalance and cold intolerance.
What Does a Thyroid Function Test Do?
Thyroid tests assist in determining whether or not the thyroid gland of the patient is working properly. Doctors require patients to take this test to check for possible thyroid problems. Furthermore, most physicians only require the standard TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone), FT4 (Free Thyroxine4), and Microsomal Thyroid Antibodies (TPOAb) to determine the patient’s possibility of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Doctors normally conduct blood tests to look for signs of thyroid problems. Specialists can assess patients any time of the day, without the need for fasting. For more conclusive results, get all the tests on the same day.
What Do the Tests Cover?
Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) tests check the quantity of TSH in the bloodstream. The pituitary gland produces these hormones. Additionally, it manages the production of thyroid hormones, thyroxine, and triiodothyronine. These hormones are administering the body’s metabolism, brain development, and muscle control.
Free Thyroxine4 / FT4 tests the amount of loose thyroxine within the bloodstream. According to Cleveland Clinic, “The T4 blood test can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of medications used to treat thyroid disease. Estrogen, anticonvulsants, aspirin use, and anticoagulants may affect T4 levels. They increase with pregnancy.” Moreover, a thyroid gland in good shape produces thyroxine that easily converts to T3 (Triiodothyronine). T3 is responsible for transporting oxygen and energy to the body’s cells.
Microsomal Thyroid Antibodies / TPOAb determines the level of thyroid antibodies within the system. TPOAb are antibodies that evolve as a consequence of an autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland. Furthermore, it weakens the thyroid gland and leads to deterioration over time.
What Drugs Affect the Test Result?
According to National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Dopamine agonists and similar agents can acutely suppress thyrotropin levels to lower-than-normal but detectable values. In patients with true hyperthyroidism, thyrotropin levels are often undetectable. Amphetamines also transiently increase dopamine release for between 1 and 3 weeks.”
How Do We Read Test Results?
For TSH tests, the recommended range is around 0.5-4.70 µIU/mL. Anything under or over this will cause to diagnose a patient with a thyroid problem. For FT4 tests, the reference range is 0.8-1.8 ng/dL. Subdued level of FT4 is a sign of hypothyroidism. For TPOAb tests, the citation range for this test is 0—35 IU/mL. Eminent level of TPOAb shows a possibility of thyroiditis such as Hashimoto’s disease.
When To Conduct A Thyroid Test?
Consult a doctor if you suspect you are having symptoms of a possible thyroid problem. They will issue requests for blood tests. Moreover, having yourself checked will help you regulate the status of your thyroid hormones.
Here’s a short animation video by Health Channel TV explaining the common thyroid problems, symptoms, and treatment:
If there are signs of discomfort or recurring fatigue, have your trusted doctor check you for thyroid problems. Your doctor may or may not diagnose you with a thyroid disease but at least you can start to address the problem. Moreover, early detection means more successful treatment.
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