Do Blood Tests Always Show an Underactive Thyroid
Getting a diagnosis of underactive thyroid is more complex than it might at first appear to be. Reason being; there is a difference between the standard blood test used to diagnose thyroid problems and the more detailed test, which can detect the early stages of a thyroid malfunction.
Caution, Lab Work Ahead
The standard tests for underactive thyroid looks at your TSH and T4 hormone levels only. While these levels will indicate thyroid disease eventually; they do not offer an early or accurate picture of what may be going on prior to the development of a full-blown underactive thyroid.
Thyroid physiology is complex. The production and conversion of these hormones in your body happens in several steps. If it’s something goes wrong with one of the steps, you could have symptoms of an underactive thyroidbefore it can be detected on a standard lab test. For that reason, patients who complain of thyroid-related symptoms may be sent home with antidepressants when their blood test comes back within normal range.
The antidepressants will not fix the problem, and moreover, patients need to be aware of what the words “within normal range” actually refer to.
A standard thyroid blood panel only test one hormone produced by the gland and an indirect, distantly related spike in TSH levels. It takes a while for the indirect spike to appear. Patients likely suffer for several months with unexplained and undiagnosed thyroid symptoms. This is because the lab test is flawed.
The standard of normalcy differs from lab to lab and the approach to care for underactive thyroid is generalized. As a result, your thyroid function could be off-balance and stay off-balance because the source of the problem isn’t being looked at properly.
- Early pituitary dysfunction
- Elevated or decreased levels of TBG
- Under-conversion of hormones T3 and T4
- Thyroid resistance
These factors are not accounted for on a standard blood panel, but they are the best way to get an accurate idea of what is happening to your thyroid function.
Go to the Source
There is no reason to suffer longer than you have to. Go directly to the source. You can either push for your primary care doctor to test the T3 and T4 hormone levels directly, or ask for a referral to an endocrinologist so that further testing can be done and properly interpreted.
Do not be afraid to push for better care. This is your health we are talking about. No one’s thyroid functions exactly the same, so why should the treatment be generalized? By accessing the best treatment available, you give yourself the best chance of effectively managing your condition without having to endure harsh medication adjustments and ineffective therapies.