Why is this test important? This is a detailed thyroid screening. It checks for the presence of thyroid auto-antibodies, which may cause your immune system to mistakenly attack the thyroid gland, leading to chronic inflammation and disruption of thyroid function. In addition, this panel also measures your body's level of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and the free amount of T3 and T4 in your bloodstream. This is an important distinction, since the level of free T4 hormone illustrates how much is immediately available for uptake and use by cells. Finally, this screening also determines the presence of Reverse T3 in your system, which may indicate problems with how this thyroid hormone is regulating your metabolism.
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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