Thyroid Panel with TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) Popular
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About Our Thyroid Panel with TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)
Note: Fasting is not required for this test.
The Thyroid Panel with TSH is a group of blood tests that helps evaluate thyroid gland function and can help diagnose thyroid disorders. This group of tests measures the amount of thyroid hormones in the blood. Thyroid hormones are chemical substances that are important to regulating metabolism, or how the body uses energy.
The Thyroid Panel with TSH includes:
- T4 (Thyroxine)—The total amount of T4, a hormone produced by the thyroid, in the blood.
- T3 uptake—Triiodothyronine, or T3, is another hormone produced by the thyroid. Thyroid hormones exist in two forms: either protein-bound (mostly a protein called thyroxine-binding globulin, or TBG) or free (meaning they aren’t attached to a protein and can affect body tissues). T3 uptake helps estimate the amount of TBG in the blood and is used along with Total T4 results to calculate T7.
- T7 (Free Thyroxine Index)—Used to estimate free T4.
- TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)—A hormone produced by the pituitary gland to regulate the release of thyroid hormones when T3 and T4 levels are too high or low.
Why Is Thyroid Testing Important?
The thyroid impacts many vital body functions, including breathing, heart rate, body weight, body temperature, and more. According to the American Thyroid Association, more than 12% of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition in their lifetime. Thyroid problems can be uncomfortable and affect various organ systems, but many can be managed with proper diagnosis and treatment. Thyroid testing can determine if your thyroid is overactive (hyperthyroidism) or underactive (hypothyroidism). This can be helpful for a doctor to determine the right treatment plan for you.
What’s the Difference Between the Standard Thyroid Panel and the Thyroid Panel with TSH?
The Thyroid Panel with TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) includes all the tests from our standard Thyroid Panel, along with a TSH test. Thyroid stimulating hormone is often used as an initial thyroid test because it is an indirect indicator of thyroid hormone levels. Generally, the pituitary gland releases more TSH to stimulate thyroid hormone production, and less TSH when there are too many thyroid hormones. However, sometimes TSH levels may not rise or fall appropriately—like if there is a problem with the pituitary gland. By measuring thyroid hormones and TSH, this test panel can provide a doctor or endocrinologist with more information about a potential imbalance.
Who Should Take the Thyroid Panel with TSH?
Testing may be ordered if you are experiencing symptoms of thyroid disease.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
When there’s too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism), it can speed up your metabolism.
Signs of hyperthyroidism include:
- Sudden, unexplained weight loss
- Fatigue or weakness
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations
- Sensitivity to heat
- Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter) in the neck
- Sleep problems
- Thin, brittle hair
- Skin thinning
- Shaking hands (tremor)
- Changes in your menstrual cycle
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
When there’s too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism), it can slow down your metabolism.
Signs of hypothyroidism include:
- Weight gain
- Muscle weakness
- Slowed heart rate
- Feeling cold
- Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)
- Dry skin
- Muscle and joint aches
- Irregular or heavier than normal periods
People at increased risk for thyroid disorders include those who:
- Are female
- Are older than 60
- Have a family history of thyroid disease or autoimmune disorders
- Have an autoimmune disease, such as type 1 diabetes
- Have recently been pregnant
- Have a personal history of thyroid problems, like goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland) or thyroid surgery
- Take certain medications
- Have received radiation to your neck or upper chest
Pregnant women who have symptoms of thyroid disease may benefit from getting tested. Untreated thyroid diseases during pregnancy can lead to problems like premature birth, low birth weight, miscarriage, and stillbirth.
What Do Test Results Mean?
Thyroid hormone levels above normal range can indicate hyperthyroidism (when your thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone). Thyroid hormone levels below normal range indicate hypothyroidism (when your thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone). The levels of thyroid hormones compared to TSH levels can help determine if the imbalance is due to a diseased thyroid or pituitary gland.
Thyroid hormone levels fluctuate and differ from person to person. Laboratory test results may be out of normal range for many reasons, including age, ongoing medical conditions, medication, or pregnancy. It’s important to talk to your doctor or endocrinologist about what your results mean about your health.
Thyroid dysfunction is most commonly caused by autoimmune disorders, such as Hashimoto’s disease or Grave’s disease. Other things can cause thyroid dysfunction, including thyroiditis (a swollen thyroid) or having a deficiency of iodine, a mineral your body needs to make thyroid hormones.