Understanding Thyroid Function Test Results

Twitter Facebook Linkedin Plusone Pinterest Email

Your health care provider may recommend a thyroid function panel of tests to determine how well your thyroid gland is working. These tests may also be ordered to check for diseases of the thyroid or to keep track of how certain medications are affecting your thyroid.

Why the Test Is Done

A thyroid panel is helpful to determine if this gland is producing too much or too little hormone for proper functioning. Too much hormone is referred to as hyperthyroidism while too little is called hypothyroidism. These tests can also be used to better pinpoint any underlying health conditions that may lead to high or low thyroid hormone. It is necessary to keep appropriate levels of these hormones for proper functioning of the body's vital systems, such as heart rate and breathing, temperature regulation, body weight, mood, and energy levels. Problems with the thyroid gland or the pituitary gland.

How to Prepare for the Tests

You will have your blood drawn in the physician's office or at the lab. There are no fasting requirements when you are having a thyroid panel done.

What the Results May Mean

Thyroid tests will check for levels of hormones in the body. Depending on the results, you health care provider can make a better diagnosis to provide you with effective treatment options.

TSH - Thyroid-stimulating hormone. Thyrotropin is made in the pituitary gland and regulates the production of other hormones in the thyroid. High levels of TSH may indicate hypothyroidism while low levels may be a sign of hyperthyroidism.

T4 - Thyroxine. Typically, high levels may indicate hyperthyroidism while lower levels may show that you have hypothyroidism. Levels of this hormone can be affected by certain medications or other health problems, so abnormal levels do not always indicate an issue with the thyroid.

T3 - Triiodothyronine. If your physician suspects that you may have hyperthyroidism, the T3 test may be recommended, even if other tests did not show any problems.

Thyroid antibody tests. This test can be used to determine if an autoimmune problems is causing problematic levels of thyroid hormones. The most common conditions are Graves' disease and Hashimoto's disease.

T3RU - T3 resin uptake. THis test measure the capacity of TBG, or thyrocin-binding globulin. Low levels of TBG may be an indication of kidney problems. High levels may result from too much estrogen in the body.