Why you should test T3 and T4 – not just TSH!
I've had countless clients that have had every symptom of an under-active thyroid, but continuously told that their thyroid is fine.
Don't you love this conversation, and lots of us would have experienced it... "Your blood tests are fine. You are fine!". The thing is, we may not necessarily know if we are fine if we are doing standard thyroid test (TSH) rather than the full thyroid panel.
I explain this analogy to my clients about testing your thyroid – imagine you wanted to check on your friend, to see how they were doing. So you drive to their street, but instead of going directly to their house to chat with them, you go to their neighbour's house and ask them how your friend is doing. This is the same as checking TSH, compared to checking T3 and T4.
TSH is made by the pituitary gland, so by checking this it tells us how well your brain is communicating with your thyroid.
T4 and T3 are made by the thyroid, so by checking this we are directly seeing if your thyroid is functioning well, or not so well.
Antibodies will tell us if there is an autoimmune attack on your thyroid gland.
Symptoms of an under-active thyroid that may sound familiar to you:
- Feeling exhausted
- Struggling to lose weight
- Foggy mind
- Poor concentration
- Dry skin
- Dry, thinning hair
- Cold hands and feet
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Heavy periods
... It's pretty much living hell.
Also: Low iron levels play a really big role in your thyroid's healthy functioning. Iron is needed to convert iodide to iodine, which creates T4. So if you don;t have enough iron, you won't be able to make enough T4. And who doesn't have low iron these days?!
So if any of these symptoms ring true for you, you know who to come too. Thyroids are our jam. Let us handle the confusing results, and figure out what is happening for you.