A thyroid test is the best way to determine if you have abnormal levels of TSH, T3, T4 and antibodies in your blood. The test helps to monitor your levels and diagnose if there’s any dysfunction.
Thyroid disorders are prevalent globally, and early diagnosis and treatment are vital to prevent complications. People with thyroid issues may experience symptoms like:
- Mood swings
- Digestive problems
- Hair loss
- Weight fluctuations
If you suspect you have these symptoms, consider getting tested. With an thyroid test at home , you can avoid the hassle of leaving your home. There’s no need to visit a local testing centre or hospital. A trained blood sample collector will come to your house, collect a blood sample, and send it to the lab. And you will have the results in no time.
So, let’s learn about the thyroid gland, what it does, and all you need to know about doing a thyroid test at home.
What is Thyroid?
The thyroid is a tiny gland located at the lower front of your neck. It helps in the regulation of several body functions, such as metabolism, energy production, and mood. Your doctor assesses the function of your thyroid gland by doing a thyroid test. The thyroid test measures the level of:
- TSH – Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone
- T3 – Triiodothyronine
- T4 – Thyroxine
These tests can help diagnose various illnesses such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroiditis, Graves’ disease, and Hashimoto’s disease.
Why do I need a Thyroid Test?
If you have a thyroid disorder, your body may show various symptoms. Recognising these symptoms helps in timely diagnosis and management. If you are already taking thyroid medication or have a history of thyroid problems, regular testing is vital to detect thyroid dysfunction and monitor treatment. These are some of the symptoms that you may have:
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Feeling cold
- Absent or irregular periods
- Slow height growth in children
- Dry skin
Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
- Weight loss
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Increased heart rate or palpitations.
- Excessive perspiration
- Frequent and watery bowel movements.
Thyroid Test Details
This test measures levels of various substances in your body. These parameters tell your doctor whether you have a dysfunction or not.
- TSH: This test is usually the first one doctors recommend. The pituitary gland in our body produces TSH, which then signals the thyroid gland to produce T3 and T4.
- T3: This test is used to check the level of triiodothyronine in your blood. T3 hormone is one of the two main hormones the thyroid gland produces.
- T4: This test checks the level of thyroxine in your blood. T4 hormone is the other main hormone produced by the thyroid gland.
- Thyroid Antibody Test: This test indicates whether you have thyroid antibodies in your blood, suggesting an autoimmune disorder like Hashimoto’s or Graves’ disease.
Need to get a thyroid test? Book your appointment with us, and make sure your thyroid levels are right. If you have a thyroid problem, this test will help keep a close watch on your levels and help you manage it better.
What Happens during the Thyroid Test at Home?
The test is simple and quick and is available only on a doctor’s order. You need to show your prescription and book your at-home thyroid test from an online medical website. A healthcare professional will visit your home to take the test. The test will go like this:
- The individual taking your test will first sanitise the area.
- A sterile needle will then be inserted to draw a small blood sample from your vein.
- The sample blood is then transferred into a test tube and sent to a laboratory for analysis.
- The process is relatively painless and usually takes less than three minutes.
How Should I Prepare for the Test?
Generally, there is no specific preparation needed for the thyroid test at home. However, if your healthcare provider orders other blood tests along with a thyroid test, you may need to fast for several hours before the test, meaning eating no food for 12 hours. You can drink water before the test, but ensure you do not drink any other liquid as it may influence the test results.
What do the Results Mean?
High TSH signals low thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism), while low TSH indicates high hormone levels (hyperthyroidism). High T4 signifies hyperthyroidism, and low T4 suggests hypothyroidism, with exceptions like pregnancy, illness, or medication effects on T4 levels. You can refer to the normal ranges below to have a better understanding of your test results.
|Optimal Range (Special Situations)
|TSH (Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone)
|0.5 to 5.0 mIU/L
|Pregnancy, Thyroid Cancer, Pituitary Disease: May vary (Consult an endocrinologist)
|FT4 (Free Thyroxine)
|0.7 to 1.9 ng/dL
|Medications, Thyroid Cancer, Pituitary Disease: May vary (Consult a healthcare professional)
|Total T4 (Thyroxine)
|5.0 to 12.0 μg/dL
|Total T3 (Triiodothyronine)
|Free T3 (Triiodothyronine)
|Assays are often unreliable and not routinely used for assessment
In conclusion, thyroid tests are essential for assessing the proper function of your thyroid gland. Healthcare professionals order these tests, which include the examination of your TSH, T3, T4, and antibody levels in your blood. When opting for a thyroid test at home, a specimen collector will visit your residence to collect the sample and send it for laboratory analysis. Ensure that you have followed all the instructions provided before the test. Furthermore, a doctor will analyse the results and inform you about the presence or absence of thyroid disease. Individuals with positive results may be advised to undergo additional tests to obtain a definitive diagnosis.
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Brite Research journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.