Its only 25 grams, 2 inches long, butterfly-shaped gland and serves as an Engine to our body. ‘Thyroid’ it is, a tiny gland located near the base of our neck. It plays a massive role in regulating body’s metabolism and overall functioning by producing two hormones, T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). These two hormones are secreted upon release of another vital hormone, TSH by pituitary (the master gland located in the brain).
Any irregularities in the levels of T3, T4 and TSH may cause thyroid disorders and diseases in the long run. Hypothyroidism results when thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones. Few symptoms include weight gain, lack of energy and depression. Excessive production of these hormones leads to hyperthyroidism. This condition manifests with symptoms like weight loss, anxiety, tremors, etc.
A doctor analyses the existing symptoms in a patient suspected with thyroid problems. Blood tests are done to measure T3, T4, TSH, Free T3 and Free T4 levels. Blood sample is collected from vein of the arm in test tubes and sent to laboratory for analysis.
Results of the above mentioned blood tests are interpreted based on the deviation from standard values.
- If TSH levels are high and T4 is low, an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) is diagnosed.
- If TSH levels are low and T4 is high, an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) is diagnosed.
- If TSH levels are slightly raised but T4 level is still within the normal reference range, a mild thyroid failure is diagnosed (subclinical hypothyroidism).
- A low TSH with low T4 levels, indicate a failure of the pituitary gland or a symptom of a significant non-thyroid illness.
- Also, elevated T3 levels indicate hyperthyroidism and low T3 levels indicate hypothyroidism.
The blood test for TSH is the most sensitive marker for knowing thyroid status. If an individual is on medications for a thyroid disorder, these blood test results will help the doctor fine-tune treatment modalities. Existing thyroid patients must go through these blood tests every 3-4 months, as per their doctor’s advise.
Do not alter the prescribed medications without consulting your doctor. Tame your Thyroid with these blood tests before it alters your metabolism, opening door to health calamities!