What is a thyroid test?
A thyroid test is used to assess the functioning of the thyroid gland by testing your blood for the levels of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). The major hormone secreted by the thyroid gland, which is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the back of your neck is T4 (Thyroxine), which is converted to T3 (Triiodothyronine) by the removal of an iodine atom. The production of the T4 hormone depends on the pituitary gland that is located at the base of the brain and the hormone that it secretes i.e. the TSH (Thyroid stimulating hormone). The amount of TSH that the pituitary gland sends in the bloodstream is dependent on the amount of T4 that it assesses. If it sees low levels of T4, then it produces more TSH and vice versa. This explains the converse TSH level findings in a thyroid test. When the TSH levels are found to be high in the body, the thyroid test suggests that the thyroid gland is underactive and not producing enough thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism). When the TSH levels are lower than normal, the thyroid gland is suggested to be overactive and produces excessive thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism). A thyroid test, while telling you if your TSH levels are high or low, doesn't elucidate the reasons behind it. In case of abnormal thyroid test results, your doctor will advise on additional diagnostic tests
like the T3 and T4 tests. This test can be either taken at a lab, clinic, or hospital. With the advent of technology, thyroid tests at home are also a possibility. This has also brought down the thyroid test cost significantly.
Which tests are included in a thyroid test?
A thyroid test includes three main tests: TSH: This test is done to screen thyroid disorders and to diagnose hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Thyroxine Total (T4 test): The T4 test is done to help diagnose the disorders of the thyroid and measures the levels of T4 hormone in the body. Triiodothyronine Total (T3 test): This test is done to diagnose hyperthyroidism and to determine its severity. There are several add-on tests that you can opt for when choosing a thyroid test near me: FT3 (Triiodothyronine Free) FT4 (Thyroxine Free) Complete haemogram
(CBC+ ESR) Liver Function Test
(LFT) Lipid Profile Diabetes screening
(FBS, HBA1C) Urine Routine Examination Anti TP) (Anti Thyroperoxidase Antibody) Anti TG (Anti Thyroglobulin Antibody) Kidney Function Test
(KFT) Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) CRP Quantitative (C-Reactive Protein)
Why do I need a thyroid test?
There are several advantages of getting your thyroid tested at regular intervals. These include: A thyroid test determines the levels of thyroid hormone in your blood and helps in the screening and diagnosis of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. This helps you in seeking timely treatment. Additional tests like T3 and T4 tests help in diagnosing the reasons behind the disorder. These may include diseases like Graves disease, Hashimoto disease, or thyroid nodules cancer. If you are already undergoing treatment for thyroid, this test helps in checking the efficacy of the treatment or management plan. During the last few years, the cost of healthcare has spiralled upwards. An early thyroid test helps you in avoiding expensive medical services and treatments. It helps in letting you live stress-free since you can manage your symptoms and related health conditions. A thyroid test not only helps in diagnosing thyroid but other disorders also that are related to thyroid. These may include diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, etc.
When do I need to get a thyroid test?
You need to get your thyroid checked if you experience any of these symptoms and undergo either a T4 test or the other thyroid tests. Symptoms that are attributed to hyperthyroidism include: Unexplained weight loss. You experience rapid and irregular heartbeat. You feel overheated and sweat excessively. You feel hungry even after having a meal. This is accompanied by abnormally frequent bowel movements. Your hands shake and tremble especially when you try to hold something. Your skin looks dull and yellow. Your hair and nails become brittle and break faster. You are not able to sleep properly or suddenly start experiencing light sleep. You experience fatigue and muscle weakness without exerting yourself. Women may have light periods or miss them completely. You may experience these symptoms due to hypothyroidism: You experience memory problems. You gain weight without trying. Feelings of lethargy or dullness. You feel excessively cold and shiver even when the temperatures are high. You experience gastrointestinal problems like constipation and bloating for long periods. Your skin and hair are unusually dry. Women may experience frequent or heavy periods. Your heartbeat dips and slows down frequently. The thyroid may even be asymptomatic i.e. a person might have thyroid but might not experience or display any outward symptoms. Sometimes they or their doctor may find a lump on the neck during a regular unrelated physical examination. While a preventive thyroid test is done annually, if you are already diagnosed with thyroid and undergoing its treatment or management plan, you may need to get your thyroid tested every 6-8 weeks. You can either get this done at a lab or a clinic or book a thyroid test at home. Opting for a thyroid test near me in the convenience of your home is helpful if you need to get tested at regular intervals.
How do I prepare for a thyroid test?
If you are taking the in-home option of a thyroid test near me, you don’t need to prepare much for this simple test. However, you need to keep these points in mind: Since TSH levels may fluctuate during the day, you should schedule it in the morning. If you are getting the thyroid test at home, prepare a corner in the house for the phlebologist to take your blood sample. Factors like stress, menstrual cycle in women, sleep deprivation, dieting, etc. may have an impact on the thyroid test results. The best way to avoid that is to have your thyroid levels tested under the same conditions each time. This is easy to do when you are taking a thyroid test at home. Certain medications, multivitamins, and supplements like biotin for the hair and nails may interfere with your thyroid test results. You should inform your doctor about any of these that you are taking. If you are already being treated for thyroid, its hormone medication may also affect the results of the test. You should avoid taking your dose before the test. If you are suffering from any acute illness and are hospitalised, it is advised that you first get discharged and then take a TSH test at home. If you are pregnant or suffer from conditions like liver disease, systemic illness, etc., you must inform your doctor before taking the test. If you are consulting an endocrinologist online
and plan to take a thyroid test at home, you must share your medical history, medical reports, and prescriptions with the doctor.
How does thyroid test at home work?
With the advancements in technology and unique telemedicine platforms, it is very easy now to get a thyroid test at home near me. This is how T3, T4, TSH tests at home work: For getting T3, T4, TSH tests at home, you need to buy the test pack after checking the thyroid test cost. Depending on the advice of your doctor, you can opt for either or all of the T3, T4, TSH tests. A WHO and DMLT certified phlebotomist will collect your samples from your home. Credible labs under the supervision of the country’s top endocrinologists will process your samples. After the completion of the processing of your test results, you will receive your report by email within 24 hours.
Are there any risks/side effects of the thyroid test?
Since a thyroid test is a simple blood test, there are not many side effects or risks associated with it. However, some people may experience: A little discomfort during the procedure. Some people may experience minor bleeding or bruising after the test. Some may experience fatigue or light-headedness, though this is very rare. Visiting a crowded clinic, lab, or hospital may increase the risk of catching infections. This can easily be avoided by opting for a thyroid test at home near me. People who are immobile due to injury, age, pregnancy, etc. may find it difficult to travel for the test. Travelling may also increase the risk of injuries and falls. This can be easily avoided by opting for a thyroid test near me at home.
What does my result mean?
This is how the thyroid test and the levels of TSH are interpreted: S.no Range Interpretation 1. 4.7-10 mU/L Subclinical hypothyroidism i.e. without observable symptoms 2. Higher than 10 mU/L Symptomatic hypothyroidism 3. 0.1-0.5 mU/L Subclinical hyperthyroidism i.e. without observable symptoms 4 Less than 0.1 mU/L Overt hyperthyroidism Interpreting T3 and T4 hormones S.no TSH T3 T4 Interpretation 1. Normal Normal Normally functioning thyroid gland 2. Low High Hyperthyroidism 3. High Low Primary hypothyroidism 4 Low Low Secondary hypothyroidism due to a disease of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus of the brain 5. High Low Hypothyroidism 6. Low High Hyperthyroidism