Why Is Testing Your Thyroid Important?
There are three types of testing that I want to focus on, which are:
1. Testing For Diagnosis
This is going to cover all of the tests that I previously mentioned (a full thyroid panel). This way you can really see your baseline levels (and where you stand with your thyroid functions).
2. Testing for Dosage
Is your medication working well, is it the right type, and how can we best explain your symptoms?
3. Testing for Safety
Even if you are feeling fine, it is important to keep your thyroid levels in a healthy, narrow range. Just like blood sugar, blood cholesterol, or blood pressure, thyroid levels show predictive value on long-term health outcomes.
If your thyroid level suggests you are getting too much thyroid, these raise the risk for:
- Early death
- Bone fracture
- Brain aging
- Heart disease
On the other hand, if your levels show you are getting too little thyroid this can even raise the risk for thyroid cancer, fatty liver, melanoma, diabetes, and other problems.
What Time of Day Do You Test?
Make sure that you do your blood tests first thing in the morning, before eating, and before taking your thyroid medication. You will want to take your daily dose of medication immediately after your tests.
Common Issues with Thyroid Testing
These are some of the common issues we might encounter when testing our thyroid gland:
- T3 Too High – if everything else is normal, this is usually from taking thyroid medication before your blood test (rather than after).
- TSH Too Low – It is a risk factor, and so it’s worth understanding. If you only feel well when your TSH is too low, there is some other hidden cause that has not been identified.
- Erratic Antibody Levels – thyroid antibodies are good to confirm a diagnosis, but they don’t rule it out when they are negative. They may be culprits behind infertility or anxiety (6). Otherwise, changes in them do not likely affect your health. They can go up and down randomly.
- TSH Drift – Your TSH takes about 3 months to level out after some change in thyroid treatment or lifestyle. If you wish to see it lower, and it is moving down within less than 3 months, your efforts may be working. Give more time before taking further steps.
How Should You Do Your Test?
This may be one of the most important points of the article, so please read over these guidelines closely.
I found that, in many cases of fluctuating or erratic thyroid levels, the problem comes down to the patient not being told to test in a way that will yield consistent results.
Here are some surefire steps to ensure that you are getting consistent results:
1. Test in the Morning
Your thyroid levels follow a circadian rhythm, just like cortisol or other hormones in the body.