When you’re putting on makeup and notice the outer edge of your eyebrows is thinner than the usual, it’s time to take some thyroid tests. The thyroid lab tests can confirm if it’s due to hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or something else. We’ve listed five thyroid tests you need to remember just in case you or someone you know will experience this condition.
Thyroid Tests for Eyebrow Thinning | 5 Tests to Measure Thyroid Function
What Is Hypothyroidism?
Before you learn about the different thyroid tests, it’s essential to know two of the most common thyroid problems. These are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
The thyroid is a pair of butterfly-shaped glands found within the neck region. It secretes hormones responsible for a variety of critical processes. These include the regulation of body temperature and metabolism. Abnormal levels can lead to problems. One of these is the decline of the body’s capacity for regeneration. If it happens, you may develop hair loss.
Hypothyroidism refers to an underactive thyroid condition. It means it’s not producing enough of its hormones. It could be due to a lot of reasons. One, you may have an autoimmune thyroid disease called Hashimoto’s disease. Another term for this is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. In this autoimmune disease, the thyroid antibodies attack the glands.
What Is Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism is a thyroid disease characterized by overactive glands. It can have similar or opposite symptoms as hypothyroidism. For example, hyperthyroidism can cause weight gain while hypothyroidism may lead to a sudden weight loss. Other thyroid symptoms include a rapid heartbeat, irritability, and sensitivity to changes in temperature.
Either way, if you have thyroid problems, you need to fix them right away. These lab tests can guide you and your doctor on how to manage your thyroid treatments.
5 Specific Thyroid Tests to Ask For
When your eyebrows are thinning and your doctor suspects you have a thyroid issue, he or she may suggest the following:
1. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Test
The thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) stimulates the thyroid gland to produce its two hormones. These are triiodothyronine and thyroxine. While different, they both control the metabolism. Asking for a TSH test is a basic way to find out if the glands are working properly. It can also indicate if there are problems with the pituitary gland, which produces the hormones.
The normal range for TSH levels can vary depending on the lab. Usually, it’s between 0.4 and 5 mIU/L (milli-international units per liter). If the thyroid hormone levels are high, it could be you have hypothyroidism. The challenge is it can also be due to other factors such as pregnancy. For this reason, you may need other thyroid blood tests.
2. Free Thyroxine (Free T4)
Thyroxine (T4) is a thyroid hormone which plays a role in several of the body functions. These include growth and metabolism. When produced, it’s inactive. Tissues and organs such as the liver have to convert it to triiodothyronine (T3). It, though, binds with a protein called thyroxine-binding globulin.
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A free T4 test searches for the ones not attached to the proteins. The free hormone should make up only a small percentage in the bloodstream. Changes in the levels of production can also affect the TSH levels. For this reason, a doctor may request for this test if TSH levels are abnormal.
Many factors can affect the result. These include drugs like androgen, estrogen, and birth control pills. Make sure to inform your doctor of any medication you’re using before taking the test.
3. Free Triiodothyronine (Free T3)
One of the important thyroid tests is free triiodothyronine (T3). This thyroid function test measures the amount of the T3 hormone which hasn’t bonded to the protein in your blood.
4. Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies
The elevated thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO) levels may detect Hashimoto’s disease. TPO is an enzyme in your thyroid gland which aids in the production of thyroid hormones.
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It will show whether you have antibodies attacking your TPO and causing your thyroid disorder.
5. Ferritin Levels
Ferritin is a protein in your cells which stores iron in your body and releases it when needed. Small amounts of ferritin circulate in your blood. Major concentrations are in the cells of your liver and immune system.
Low levels of ferritin in your body can cause hypothyroidism. Iron is necessary to convert T4 into T3. You can take a blood test to find out if your ferritin levels are normal, too high, or too low.
Watch this video from Tim Goyetche to find out other facial signs of thyroid dysfunction:
These thyroid tests can help determine if you have a normal functioning gland. They can also indicate the severity of the condition or if there are other causes of your hair loss. It may be due to a benign tumor or non-thyroidal illness. While you can choose which of these thyroid function tests to take, it’s best to consider the three essential ones. These are TSH, free T4, and T3. The reference range can give you a better picture of your thyroid.
Have you tried any of these thyroid tests? Share your experience with us in the comments section below!
Editor’s Note – This post was originally published on July 3, 2017 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
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