|– TSH||– Anti-Thyroid Antibodies|
|– Total and Free T3||– Anti-Thyroglobin Antibodies|
|– Total and Free T4||– Prolactin|
|– Reverse T3 (rT3)||– Vitamin B12/Vitamin D3|
I evaluate each symptomatic patient that I see with a comprehensive panel of thyroid blood tests in order to determine the type of Hypothyroidism which they might have, knowing full well that an individual could still be Hypothyroid with “normal” levels of thyroid hormones in their blood.
Thyroid blood tests are only helpful in diagnosing certain types of Hypothyroidism. Failure of the thyroid gland itself is diagnosed when the TSH level is elevated. Hypothyroidism resulting from autoimmune Thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s) is diagnosed when anti-thyroid antibodies are detected. More infrequently, I see a patient that has low TSH, T3, and T4, possibly with an elevated prolactin level, which indicates Hypothyroidism of a Pituitary or Hypothalamic origin. High levels of reverse T3 indicate an adrenal gland issue, which is a result of chronic stress. When a symptomatic individual has low total T3 and vitamin B 12 levels, it suggests to me that Subclinical Hypothyroidism exists.
Basal Body Temperature Measurement (BBT)
The Basal Body Temperature is an indirect measurement of the body’s metabolism, which is controlled by the Thyroid gland. Since the Thyroid Gland controls the metabolism of each and every cell in the human body, if there is not enough active thyroid hormone (T3) getting into the cells, the metabolism will be slow, reflected by a low basal temperature. Having a basal temperature of less than 97.4 degrees Fahrenheit is both characteristic and diagnostic of Hypothyroidism.
When a Hypothyroid individual is adequately treated with Thyroid supplemental therapy, the basal temperature will be over 98.0 degrees Fahrenheit. Not only is the BBT an excellent diagnostic tool, but also it is an excellent method for documenting the adequacy of treatment. Improvements in a person’s symptoms correlates very well with the BBT, where as I often see “normal” blood tests in patients who are still quite symptomatic. It seems that low tech; “old school” methods have an important place in the diagnosis and therapy of Hypothyroidism!
Thyroflex Nerve Conduction Velocity Testing
One the most significant and characteristic findings in Hypothyroid individuals is their slow deep tendon reflexes. This happens because when there is not enough active Thyroid hormone in the nerve cells, the metabolism of the nerve is reduced, so the conduction of an impulse down a nerve is slower than if the cell’s metabolic function was normal.
This test is a very accurate way to diagnose Hypothyroidism in symptomatic individuals who have all their blood tests in the normal range. The actual speed that the nerve conducts an impulse can be measured accurately by a computer and than the rate can be compared to the nerve transmission speeds in individuals with normal Thyroid function.
Like BBT measurements, the Thyrofex can be used to measure the adequacy of Thyroid treatment. If a patient is taking 60mg of Armour Thyroid and is still symptomatic, yet has normal blood tests, a Thyroflex test that shows slow nerve conduction will tell the Physician that the patient does need an increase in the dose of their medication. The Thyroflex test is an accurate way to insure that a patient is getting the optimal dose of thyroid medication.