Can Thyroid Tests Be Misleading
To label thyroid tests as “misleading,” forms a generalization that is based on incomplete information. The truth is the accuracy of the tests depends on where you go to get your thyroid tests done.
There are two choices:
- A general practitioner’s office
- An endocrinology clinic
Depending on the timing and location of these tests, the results you receive can be very different. This article will explain that difference.
At-a-Glance or Comprehensive: The Different approaches to Thyroid Tests
The reason why tests for thyroid problems are often criticized as being misleading or unreliable has to do with when and how they are performed.
A general practitioner is able to check your thyroid function using a clinically standard blood test. While this test does identify thyroid problems; that identification doesn’t come quickly. The test is designed to catch markers of thyroid conditions in their later stages.
There are three hormone check points that can be used to identify problems in thyroid function and hormone production within the gland itself:
- T3-the level of thyroid hormones produced in the gland
- T4-the level of thyroid hormones released into the bloodstream
- TSH-the control center for the thyroid gland in the brain
The standard thyroid test only shows what your T4 and TSH levels are. It does not show how much hormone is being produced within the gland or how that amount of hormone is being used.
Early detection of thyroid problems have to start within the gland itself. Given the slow progression of the condition; the function inside the gland would be the first check point to show signs of a problem.
As a result, your thyroid tests can come back within normal range simply because the problem hasn’t shown up in your bloodstream or pituitary function yet. To diagnose a thyroid problem at the earliest possible stage, you need to see an endocrinologist.
The View from a Specialist’s Perspective
An endocrinologist has been trained to look for thyroid problems in places a general practitioner cannot. This perspective affords you the benefit of an earlier diagnosis.
One of the easiest thyroid tests to perform doesn’t require blood work. A Thyroflex Test uses reflexology to ascertain your level of metabolic function. The results are based on a pre-test questionnaire and your reflex-based score. This is one of the newest and best ways to identify a thyroid-related hormone deficiency before it hits later stages.
You are able to benefit from a diagnosis that can be preventative rather than corrective. A test like this helps you avoid the more severe symptoms that come with a thyroid condition.
If you want a second opinion from a thyroid specialist , request a referral from your general practitioner’s office. Referral-based consultations are available.