Thyroid Health Testing: Why it's important
In recent years, more and more people across the country have gained interest in learning more about their overall health. Whether you are looking to lose weight, improve your diet, train for a marathon, or are just curious about your health, there are many benefits to understanding what’s going on inside your body.
One of our more popular tests outside of the Complete Wellness Test is our Thyroid Health Test. The Thyroid Gland is responsible for generating hormones that affect many of your body’s daily functions. Below, we discuss the Thyroid Gland, why testing is important, and what the test can tell you.
What is the Thyroid
According to the American Thyroid Association, The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland typically located in the lower front of the neck. The thyroid’s job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body. Thyroid hormones help the body use energy, stay warm, and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working as they should.
My Labs Direct’s Thyroid Health Test is one of the best ways to learn more about the current health of your thyroid gland and ensure its functioning properly. Our Thyroid Health Test measures the TSH, T3 Uptake, T3 Total, T3 Free, T4 Total, and T4 Free levels. Below we have compiled what each of these can inform you and why they are essential to look at, according to the experts at the American Thyroid Association.
The best way to initially test thyroid function is to measure the TSH level in a blood sample. Changes in TSH can serve as an “early warning system” – often occurring before the actual level of thyroid hormones in the body becomes too high or too low. A high TSH level indicates that the thyroid gland is not making enough thyroid hormone (primary hypothyroidism). The opposite situation, in which the TSH level is low, usually indicates that the thyroid is producing too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism). Occasionally, a low TSH may result from an abnormality in the pituitary gland, which prevents it from making enough TSH to stimulate the thyroid (secondary hypothyroidism). In most healthy individuals, a normal TSH value means that the thyroid is functioning correctly.
T4 is the main form of thyroid hormone circulating in the blood. A Total T4 measures the bound and free hormone and can change when binding proteins differ (see above). A Free T4 measures what is not bound and able to enter and affect the body tissues. Tests measuring free T4 – either a free T4 (FT4) or free T4 index (FTI) – more accurately reflect how the thyroid gland functions when checked with a TSH.
T3 tests are often helpful to diagnose hyperthyroidism or determine the severity of the hyperthyroidism. Patients who are hyperthyroid will have an elevated T3 level. In some individuals with a low TSH, only the T3 is elevated, and the FT4 or FTI is normal. T3 testing rarely is helpful in the hypothyroid patient since it is the last test to become abnormal. Patients can be severely hypothyroid with a high TSH and low FT4 or FTI but have a normal T3.
If you are interested in getting a Thyroid Health Test or if you have any questions, concerns, or need wellness testing, we can help. Contact My Labs Direct at 877-355-7978 or visit MyLabsDirect to learn more.