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Home > Blog > All You Need to Know About Thyroid Function Tests

All You Need to Know About Thyroid Function Tests

All You Need to Know About Thyroid Function Tests

Max Lab

Nov 08, 2022

Medical practitioners prescribe thyroid function tests to people who have sudden changes in their moods, weight and metabolism. These tests help in analysing the thyroid gland (TSH) that produces two main hormones, namely, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxin (T4). These series of thyroid tests check TSH, T3, and T4 levels in the body. If there are any abnormalities observed, a thorough medical investigation is done with the help of further screening at a reputed pathology laboratory. With proper diagnosis and treatment, TSH, T3, and T4 can be maintained in the normal range. Read on to know more about thyroid function tests. 

Why is Thyroid Important in the Body? 

An integral part of the endocrine system is a butterfly-shaped gland known as the thyroid. Situated near the lower neck, the thyroid is entrusted with the responsibility of generating hormones adrenaline (also called epinephrine) and dopamine through T3 and T4 in a balanced manner. These hormones help in giving appropriate responses to stimuli. Alongside this, the metabolism of a person is also regulated with the help of thyroid hormones. Thyroid function tests, also known as profile tests, are conducted on individuals to gauge the levels of thyroid hormones. Normal thyroid levels indicate the endocrine system of a person is functioning properly. However, an increase or decrease exhibited in a TSH test can be indicative of a hormonal disorder. 

Why are Thyroid Function Tests Required? 

The primary purpose of thyroid function tests is to determine abnormalities in the thyroid gland that causes discrepancies in hormone production and secretion. Based on the test results, a medical practitioner can determine if an individual has normal thyroid levels or any of the following issues: 

  • Hyperthyroidism - When a person has an overactive thyroid, then they have hyperthyroidism. Since this thyroid-related issue makes the metabolism go into overdrive, an individual can experience rapid heartbeat, loss of weight, insomnia, anxiety, etc. 
  • Hypothyroidism - This is the opposite of hyperthyroidism when the thyroid is unable to produce sufficient hormones. Due to this insufficiency, a person can have slow metabolism leading to weight gain, fatigue, lethargy, and the like. For females, who have TSH lower than the normal range, menstrual issues can also arise such as PCOS, complications in pregnancy etc. 

The normal range of TSH, T3, and T4 are determined with the help of blood tests conducted at a reputed pathology lab. When the tests show discrepancies in any of these thyroid hormones, then it can be due to certain diseases. Thyroiditis, Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s disease, thyroid tumours, goitre, and cancer are examples of medical conditions that can increase, as well as decrease thyroid levels significantly. Thus, doctors often prescribe an anti TPO antibody test along with thyroid function tests to determine the presence of any of these diseases. 

What Do the Test Results Mean? 

Thyroid function tests assist a doctor in diagnosing a person with the right condition and offering them the best treatment plan. Mentioned below is the meaning of the thyroid function tests: 

  • Higher than Normal Range 

When the levels of TSH and T4 are higher than the normal range, then it is due to a super active thyroid gland. It has been observed that people with hyperthyroidism are hyperactive because of abnormally high levels of TSH and T3 in the bloodstream. It is recommended to get treatment so that these thyroid hormones are managed properly. 

  • Lower than Normal Range 

In a lot of cases, a test report of low T3 levels than the normal range means that the metabolism of an individual is slow because of an insufficient supply of hormones. While T3 test results can mean that a person has an underactive thyroid, it can also be a sign of starvation. It is recommended to get a full medical history, including mental and physical disorders, so that appropriate treatment can be prescribed. 

4 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Thyroid 

Besides medications for abnormal TSH levels due to hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, some natural ways can be useful for maintaining a healthy thyroid. The following 4 tips can keep the thyroid gland in check: 

  • Eat Nutritious Meals 

Consumption of vegetables, fruits, and proteins can assist in maintaining the thyroid. Iron-rich foods are also recommended for keeping thyroid hormones within the normal range. It is best to avoid processed foods as they are high in saturated fats and sugar which can lead to subclinical hyperthyroidism. 

  • Exercise Regularly 

Exercising is highly recommended for people with hypothyroidism as it can boost their metabolism and decrease lethargy to a great extent. Be it walking, cycling or hitting the gym, it is ideal to spend some time moving the body muscles on a regular basis for a healthy thyroid. 

  • Reduce Stress and Anxiety 

The impact of stress and anxiety on the thyroid is observed among women and men across the world. Hence, it is suggested to reduce sources of stress and anxiety. People who need professional help to deal with these mental issues should consult an experienced psychologist. 

  • Keep an Eye on Thyroid Levels 

Like any other bodily function, the thyroid gland requires attention. This means regular TSH, T3 test, and T4 tests should be done as part of a full-body health checkup. A close eye on the thyroid can help in identifying serious auto-immune disorders as well. 

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