Why is this test important? In normal thyroid function, your body's thyroxine (T4) hormones chemically convert to tri-iodothyronine (T3), helping to maintain healthy metabolic levels. However, when your system is under stress, it may conserve energy by making "Reverse T3," which is an inactive form of the T3 hormone. This test screens for Reverse T3 in your system, along with TSH and other free thyroid hormones.
What does the test include?
**Because this test includes a TSH screening, remember that medications like corticosteroids, aspirin and lithium can interfere with those results. Also, if you've had a recent X-ray that used iodine dye - or other radioactive tests - ask your doctor when you can take an accurate TSH test. Pregnant women in their first trimester should also ask their doctor about the proper time to get a TSH test.
Who should be tested? Strongly consider testing if you have a family history of thyroid problems or have been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, pituitary or endocrine disorders. In addition, strongly consider testing if you are a woman in or near menopause, or are pregnant or just had a baby (since proper T3 and T4 levels are essential to brain development in the early years of a child's life).
You should also consider testing if you are experiencing symptoms of unusual weight gain, energy drop, dry skin, a constant feeling of cold, constipation or sudden weight loss, increased heart rate, recurring warm or sweaty feeling, or diarrhea.
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