Dr. G - Health Column
How Do I Get Tested For A Thyroid Problem
There are multiple blood tests that can be done depending on the symptoms
i) TSH test - measures levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone in the blood. If the results are above 2.0 mIU/L (milli-international units of hormone per L of blood) this can indicate a risk of hypothyroidism.
ii) T3 test - measures levels of T3. If levels are higher than 100-200 ng/dL, this is a common indicator of Grave’s disease.
• A total T3 test measures the amount of T3 found bound to proteins and freely circulating, while a free T3 test indicates only the amount of T3 that is unbound and available for use.
iii) T4 test - some of your T4 exists as free while some is bound to proteins in the blood. Free T4 is available for use by the cells and tissues while majority of T4 is bound.
• A total T4 test measures the freeT4 + bound T4 levels.
• A free T4, as the name indicates, measures only the amount of free circulating T4. This test is more popular as it indicates the amount available for use by the body. High levels can indicate hyperthyroidism.
iv) rT3 test measures the amount of reverse T3 circulating in the blood.
In some cases, an ultrasound or thyroid scan may need to be done. This can identify structural problems with the thyroid, any problems with its activity or any tumours that may be present. If everything is normal, medication can be prescribed to regulate activity along with constant monitoring through blood tests.