According to the American Thyroid Association, about 20 million Americans are currently living with thyroid disease, and the sad reality is that 60% of those people don’t even know it. Suppose you’ve ever wondered whether you’re in that group of 12 million unaware people. In that case, it might be wise to have your thyroid levels tested to ensure they’re functioning properly, as proper thyroid function is critical for your health. The thyroid interacts and produces hormones involved in brain function, digestion, glandular function, metabolism, and organ function. In fact, every system in your body relies on thyroid hormones, and when the balance is off, you open yourself up to experiencing a wide variety of symptoms.
Symptoms of Unbalanced Thyroid
Changes in your thyroid hormone levels can cause either underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) or overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) and typically come with a variety of uncomfortable symptoms that can affect your entire body. Some of the symptoms of an unbalanced thyroid can include:
Changes in weight - either unexpected weight gain or weight loss
Intolerance to heat or cold
Frequent bowel movements
Increased sweating (hyperhidrosis)
Hyperthyroid Vs Hypothyroid
If your thyroid gland isn’t functioning properly, it may because you have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. When your thyroid gland is underactive, it is known in the medical world as hypothyroidism and essentially means that the thyroid gland isn’t producing enough thyroid hormone. Whereas, when your thyroid is overactive, it is known as hyperthyroidism and means that your thyroid gland is producing too much thyroxine (T4). Both can cause uncomfortable symptoms (listed below) and can be diagnosed by taking a blood sample and having it tested at a certified lab.
Common Signs of Hypothyroidism
If your thyroid is under-producing thyroid hormones, you may experience some weight gain, a sensitivity to the cold, dry skin, muscle weakness or aches, and many even have feelings of depression.
Common Signs of Hyperthyroidism
If your thyroid is overactive, you can typically tell if you experience symptoms including unexpected or unusual weight loss, sensitivity to heat, swelling in your neck, or increased sweating.
What is a Thyroid Test?
A thyroid test is a test, or sometimes a series of tests, that measures your thyroid function and how well it’s working. Thyroid function tests include the measurement of thyroid hormones, T3, T3RU, T4 (thyroxine), and TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone). Some thyroid tests also measure for Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies.
T3 (Triiodothyronine) hormone is produced by the thyroid gland and plays a vital role in the body’s metabolic rate, heart, and digestive functions (muscle control, brain development, and bone maintenance).
T4 (Thyroxine) hormone is responsible for your metabolism, mood, and body temperature.
TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)
This hormone is produced by the pituitary gland and is mostly known as the king of all hormones; it rules the production of both T3 and T4. TSH stimulates the thyroid gland and is the control center for all things hormone-related.
Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPA)
TPAs are antibodies that bind to your thyroid enzymes, which can often suppress thyroid function. If they are elevated, this can cause a condition called Hashimoto’s disease, which is the most common type of hypothyroidism in the US.
If you or your doctor is concerned about how your thyroid is functioning, you can either have your PCP or an online doctor order lab tests, or you can explore the at-home-testing-kits that are available from a handful of online companies. Testing companies, such as EverlyWell, offer their customers a thyroid test that will measure the four main thyroid biomarkers all in one easy and convenient test that can be administered in the privacy and comfort of your own home.
Who Should Take a Thyroid Test?
Your thyroid plays a huge part in your day-to-day wellbeing, and because it controls much of your metabolism, it’s important to continually monitor how well your thyroid is functioning. Truth be told, anyone can experience thyroid issues. It is said that up to 12% of the US population will deal with thyroid issues in their lifetime, and like many diseases, there are certain people more susceptible to these issues than others, including:
Women (who are ten times more likely to have thyroid disorders than their gender counterparts)
People with a family history of thyroid issues
Adults over 50 years old
People with Type 1 Diabetes
Individuals being treated with lithium or have been exposed to radiation therapy
How Do At-Home Thyroid Test Kits Work?
Depending on the company you order your at-home-testing-kit from will depend on how you administer your test. Most at-home tests work the same and require you to prick your finger to draw blood that will be measured in a certified lab.
At-home thyroid tests are an easy and convenient way to determine whether your thyroid functions properly. Your data is securely saved and never shared, so really all you need to do is order your kit, follow the included instructions, mail your blood sample back, and get your results.
Order Your Kit
If your thyroid functionality is a concern for you or your doctor, simply order your thyroid testing kit from the preferred provider. Most companies send their kits within a matter of days. The best part about an at-home-testing-kit is that you are able to draw your blood in the comfort of your own home. Your kit will come with instructions and all the equipment you need to perform your blood draw, usually including a postage-paid box to send your sample to the lab.
Follow the Instructions
It is recommended that you follow the included instructions as precisely as possible to avoid having your test come back as inconclusive. This test generally only requires a few drops of blood that can be taken with the finger pricker that will be included in the contents of the testing kit.
Mail Your Blood Sample
Most testing kits will include a postage-paid box for you to return your blood sample hassle-free. Once the lab receives your sample, a certified lab-technician will then analyze your blood to determine if your thyroid functions as it should.
Get Your Results
Results are typically ready for view after a few short days, and from here, you can consult with a medical professional about possible next steps.
At-home thyroid tests are a convenient starting point for determining whether or not you have a thyroid condition. They are not intended to diagnose any disease or condition and are not substitutes for professional medical advice or treatment. It is highly recommended that you always seek your physician’s guidance with any questions you have regarding your medical care.
Where to Get an At-Home Thyroid Test
At ReliefSeeker.com, we always want our readers to be up to date with the latest health and wellness trends, so if you’re thinking about having your thyroid tested, look no further than the companies we’ve pre-vetted and reviewed as the best companies in at-home-health-testing.
Best At-Home Thyroid Tests
EverlyWell tests for four variables, including TSH, T4, T3, and TPO. They offer a membership for those wanting to test their thyroid levels regularly, and the results are always reviewed by a board-certified physician in the state you reside in. EverlyWell’s tests are available in 49 states (NY has strict laws prohibiting at-home-testing-kits), and they use CLIA-certified labs the meet the highest of testing standards.
LGC measures TSH, T4, T3, TPO, and Tgbn. Their test is certified by the College of American Pathologists, which requires a year-long process that involves meeting high industry standards for quality and performance. LGC is available online as well as in some drug stores, so it’s easily accessible to anyone.