Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis Lab Testing and health information

Find and order the right Osteoporosis tests here, with Ulta Lab Tests and get affordable, reliable blood work with confidential results.

In many cases, early intervention can slow the rate of osteoporosis. An osteoporosis lab test can help provide the information you need to take control of your bone health.     

See below the list of tests for a guide that explains and answers your questions on what you need to know about osteoporosis tests, along with information on osteoporosis, signs, symptoms, and diagnosis. 


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The Bone-Specific Alkaline Phosphatase (BSAP) assay provides a general index of bone formation and a specific index of total osteoblast activity. BSAP and osteocalcin are the most effective markers of bone formation and are particularly useful for monitoring bone formation therapies and antiresorptive therapies.

CTx is useful to assess bone resorption in patients with metabolic bone disease. The test is also useful in monitoring therapy to slow or halt osteoporotic bone loss.

Description: A Protein Electrophoresis Serum test is a blood test that checks for abnormal and defective proteins in your blood’s serum.

Also Known As: SPEP Test, Protein Total and Electrophoresis Test, Protein ELP Test, SPE Test, Serum Protein Electrophoresis Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Protein Electrophoresis test ordered?

In order to further investigate anomalous results from other laboratory tests or to assess a patient's symptoms, protein electrophoresis may be requested. Electrophoresis may be prescribed periodically after a disease or illness has been diagnosed to track its progression and the efficacy of treatment.

One may request serum electrophoresis:

  • As a follow-up to aberrant results on other laboratory tests, such as elevated urine protein levels, elevated calcium levels, low white- or red-blood-cell counts, total protein and/or albumin levels,
  • when symptoms point to an autoimmune illness, an acute or ongoing infection, a kidney or liver disorder, or a condition that causes protein loss,
  • Look for the presence of a distinctive band in the beta or gamma region when a medical professional is looking into symptoms that point to multiple myeloma, such as bone pain, anemia, fatigue, unexplained fractures, or recurrent infections; if a sharp band is seen, its identity as a monoclonal immunoglobulin is typically confirmed by immunofixation electrophoresis.
  • to observe the progression of multiple myeloma treatment to see if the monoclonal band shrinks or vanishes entirely.

What does a Protein Electrophoresis test check for?

All cells and organs depend heavily on proteins as their building blocks. They make up the structural components of the majority of organs and the hormones and enzymes that control bodily processes. The proteins found in bodily fluids perform a wide range of various tasks, including the transportation of nutrients, the elimination of toxins, the regulation of metabolic processes, and the defense against foreign invaders. These proteins can be divided via a process called protein electrophoresis depending on their size and electrical charge.

When bodily fluid proteins are separated by electrophoresis, a distinctive pattern of bands with varying widths and intensities forms, representing the protein combination present. There are five components of this pattern: albumin, alpha 1, alpha 2, beta, and gamma. The beta fraction may occasionally be further split into beta 1 and beta 2.

About 60% of the blood's protein is made up of albumin, which is produced by the liver. Proteins other than albumin are referred to collectively as "globulins." The majority of globulins are likewise made in the liver, with the exception of immunoglobulins and a few complement proteins.

Lab tests often ordered with a Protein Electrophoresis test:

  • Albumin
  • Urine Protein
  • Serum Free Light Chains
  • Immunoglobulins
  • Allpha-1 Antitrypsin
  • Cryoglobulins

Conditions where a Protein Electrophoresis test is recommended:

  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Kidney Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Malnutrition
  • Proteinuria

How does my health care provider use a Protein Electrophoresis test?

When distinct protein groups are present in blood or other body fluids in unusually high or low numbers, protein electrophoresis is used to detect the presence of abnormal proteins, the absence of normal proteins, and the presence or absence of defective proteins.

The body uses proteins for a variety of functions, such as nutrient delivery, toxin elimination, metabolic regulation, and defense against foreign invaders.

Proteins are divided by protein electrophoresis according to their size and electrical charge. This represents the mix of proteins present in the bodily fluid under evaluation and creates a distinctive pattern of bands on a test medium that are varied widths and intensities. Five parts of the pattern are identified: albumin, alpha 1, alpha 2, beta, and gamma. The beta fraction may occasionally be further split into beta 1 and beta 2.

What do my Protein Electrophoresis test results mean?

A health professional can roughly determine the amount of each protein fraction and whether any aberrant proteins are present using protein electrophoresis assays. Immunofixation electrophoresis is useful for determining whether a specific kind of immunoglobulin is present. An explanation of the findings could be included in the lab report.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


NTx is useful to assess bone resorption in patients with metabolic bone disease and monitor therapy to slow or halt osteoporotic bone loss. A decline of 30% or more of NTx over a six-month period suggests effective therapy.

NTx is useful to assess bone resorption in patients with metabolic bone disease. The test is also useful in monitoring therapy to slow or halt osteoporotic bone loss. A decline of 30% or more of NTx over a six-month period suggests effective therapy.

Osteocalcin, the most abundant non-collagen protein in bone matrix, is a bone-specific, calcium binding protein. Serum osteocalcin levels are related to the rate of bone turnover in various disorders of bone metabolism, eg, osteoporosis, primary and secondary hyperparathyroidism, and Paget's disease.

Description: A CBC or Complete Blood Count with Differential and Platelets test is a blood test that measures many important features of your blood’s red and white blood cells and platelets. A Complete Blood Count can be used to evaluate your overall health and detect a wide variety of conditions such as infection, anemia, and leukemia. It also looks at other important aspects of your blood health such as hemoglobin, which carries oxygen. 

Also Known As: CBC test, Complete Blood Count Test, Total Blood Count Test, CBC with Differential and Platelets test, Hemogram test  

Collection Method: Blood Draw 

Specimen Type: Whole Blood 

Test Preparation: No preparation required 

When is a Complete Blood Count test ordered?  

The complete blood count (CBC) is an extremely common test. When people go to the doctor for a standard checkup or blood work, they often get a CBC. Suppose a person is healthy and their results are within normal ranges. In that case, they may not need another CBC unless their health condition changes, or their healthcare professional believes it is necessary. 

When a person exhibits a variety of signs and symptoms that could be connected to blood cell abnormalities, a CBC may be done. A health practitioner may request a CBC to help diagnose and determine the severity of lethargy or weakness, as well as infection, inflammation, bruises, or bleeding. 

When a person is diagnosed with a disease that affects blood cells, a CBC is frequently done regularly to keep track of their progress. Similarly, if someone is being treated for a blood condition, a CBC may be performed on a regular basis to see if the treatment is working. 

Chemotherapy, for example, can influence the generation of cells in the bone marrow. Some drugs can lower WBC counts in the long run. To monitor various medication regimens, a CBC may be required on a regular basis. 

What does a Complete Blood Count test check for? 

The complete blood count (CBC) is a blood test that determines the number of cells in circulation. White blood cells (WBCs), red blood cells (RBCs), and platelets (PLTs) are three types of cells suspended in a fluid called plasma. They are largely created and matured in the bone marrow and are released into the bloodstream when needed under normal circumstances. 

A CBC is mainly performed with an automated machine that measures a variety of factors, including the number of cells present in a person's blood sample. The findings of a CBC can reveal not only the quantity of different cell types but also the physical properties of some of the cells. 

Significant differences in one or more blood cell populations may suggest the presence of one or more diseases. Other tests are frequently performed to assist in determining the reason for aberrant results. This frequently necessitates visual confirmation via a microscope examination of a blood smear. A skilled laboratory technician can assess the appearance and physical features of blood cells, such as size, shape, and color, and note any anomalies. Any extra information is taken note of and communicated to the healthcare provider. This information provides the health care provider with further information about the cause of abnormal CBC results. 

The CBC focuses on three different types of cells: 

WBCs (White Blood Cells) 

The body uses five different types of WBCs, also known as leukocytes, to keep itself healthy and battle infections and other types of harm. The five different leukocytes are eosinophiles, lymphocytes, neutrophiles, basophils, and monocytes. They are found in relatively steady numbers in the blood. Depending on what is going on in the body, these values may momentarily rise or fall. An infection, for example, can cause the body to manufacture more neutrophils in order to combat bacterial infection. The amount of eosinophils in the body may increase as a result of allergies. A viral infection may cause an increase in lymphocyte production. Abnormal (immature or mature) white cells multiply fast in certain illness situations, such as leukemia, raising the WBC count. 

RBCs (Red Blood Cells) 

The bone marrow produces red blood cells, also known as erythrocytes, which are transferred into the bloodstream after maturing. Hemoglobin, a protein that distributes oxygen throughout the body, is found in these cells. Because RBCs have a 120-day lifespan, the bone marrow must constantly manufacture new RBCs to replace those that have aged and disintegrated or have been lost due to hemorrhage. A variety of diseases, including those that cause severe bleeding, can alter the creation of new RBCs and their longevity. 

The CBC measures the number of RBCs and hemoglobin in the blood, as well as the proportion of RBCs in the blood (hematocrit), and if the RBC population appears to be normal. RBCs are generally homogeneous in size and shape, with only minor differences; however, considerable variances can arise in illnesses including vitamin B12 and folate inadequacy, iron deficiency, and a range of other ailments. Anemia occurs when the concentration of red blood cells and/or the amount of hemoglobin in the blood falls below normal, resulting in symptoms such as weariness and weakness. In a far smaller percentage of cases, there may be an excess of RBCs in the blood (erythrocytosis or polycythemia). This might obstruct the flow of blood through the tiny veins and arteries in extreme circumstances. 

Platelets 

Platelets, also known as thrombocytes, are small cell fragments that aid in the regular clotting of blood. A person with insufficient platelets is more likely to experience excessive bleeding and bruises. Excess platelets can induce excessive clotting or excessive bleeding if the platelets are not operating properly. The platelet count and size are determined by the CBC. 

Lab tests often ordered with a Complete Blood Count test: 

  • Reticulocytes
  • Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity
  • Basic Metabolic Panel
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Lipid Panel
  • Vitamin B12 and Folate
  • Prothrombin with INR and Partial Thromboplastin Times
  • Sed Rate (ESR)
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Epstein-Barr Virus
  • Von Willebrand Factor Antigen

Conditions where a Complete Blood Count test is recommended: 

  • Anemia
  • Aplastic Anemia
  • Iron Deficiency Anemia
  • Vitamin B12 and Folate Deficiency
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Heart Disease
  • Thalassemia
  • Leukemia
  • Autoimmune Disorders
  • Cancer
  • Bleeding Disorders
  • Inflammation
  • Epstein-Barr Virus
  • Mononucleosis

Commonly Asked Questions: 

How does my health care provider use a Complete Blood Count test? 

The complete blood count (CBC) is a common, comprehensive screening test used to measure a person's overall health status.  

What do my Complete Blood Count results mean? 

A low Red Blood Cell Count, also known as anemia, could be due many different causes such as chronic bleeding, a bone marrow disorder, and nutritional deficiency just to name a few. A high Red Blood Cell Count, also known as polycythemia, could be due to several conditions including lung disease, dehydration, and smoking. Both Hemoglobin and Hematocrit tend to reflect Red Blood Cell Count results, so if your Red Blood Cell Count is low, your Hematocrit and Hemoglobin will likely also be low. Results should be discussed with your health care provider who can provide interpretation of your results and determine the appropriate next steps or lab tests to further investigate your health. 

What do my Differential results mean? 

A low White Blood Cell count or low WBC count, also known as leukopenia, could be due to a number of different disorders including autoimmune issues, severe infection, and lymphoma. A high White Blood Cell count, or high WBC count, also known as leukocytosis, can also be due to many different disorders including infection, leukemia, and inflammation. Abnormal levels in your White Blood Cell Count will be reflected in one or more of your different white blood cells. Knowing which white blood cell types are affected will help your healthcare provider narrow down the issue. Results should be discussed with your health care provider who can provide interpretation of your results and determine the appropriate next steps or lab tests to further investigate your health. 

What do my Platelet results mean? 

A low Platelet Count, also known as thrombocytopenia, could be due to a number of different disorders including autoimmune issues, viral infection, and leukemia. A high Platelet Count, also known as Thrombocytosis, can also be due to many different disorders including cancer, iron deficiency, and rheumatoid arthritis. Results should be discussed with your health care provider who can provide interpretation of your results and determine the appropriate next steps or lab tests to further investigate your health. 

NOTE: Only measurable biomarkers will be reported. Certain biomarkers do not appear in healthy individuals. 

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

Reflex Parameters for Manual Slide Review
  Less than  Greater Than 
WBC  1.5 x 10^3  30.0 x 10^3 
Hemoglobin  7.0 g/dL  19.0 g/dL 
Hematocrit  None  75%
Platelet  100 x 10^3  800 x 10^3 
MCV  70 fL  115 fL 
MCH  22 pg  37 pg 
MCHC  29 g/dL  36.5 g/dL 
RBC  None  8.00 x 10^6 
RDW  None  21.5
Relative Neutrophil %  1% or ABNC <500  None 
Relative Lymphocyte %  1% 70%
Relative Monocyte %  None  25%
Eosinophil  None  35%
Basophil  None  3.50%
     
Platelet  <75 with no flags,
>100 and <130 with platelet clump flag present,
>1000 
Instrument Flags Variant lymphs, blasts,
immature neutrophils,  nRBC’s, abnormal platelets,
giant platelets, potential interference
     
The automated differential averages 6000+ cells. If none of the above parameters are met, the results are released without manual review.
CBC Reflex Pathway

Step 1 - The slide review is performed by qualified Laboratory staff and includes:

  • Confirmation of differential percentages
  • WBC and platelet estimates, when needed
  • Full review of RBC morphology
  • Comments for toxic changes, RBC inclusions, abnormal lymphs, and other
  • significant findings
  • If the differential percentages agree with the automated counts and no abnormal cells are seen, the automated differential is reported with appropriate comments

Step 2 - The slide review is performed by qualified Laboratory staff and includes: If any of the following are seen on the slide review, Laboratory staff will perform a manual differential:

  • Immature, abnormal, or toxic cells
  • nRBC’s
  • Disagreement with automated differential
  • Atypical/abnormal RBC morphology
  • Any RBC inclusions

Step 3 If any of the following are seen on the manual differential, a Pathologist will review the slide:

  • WBC<1,500 with abnormal cells noted
  • Blasts/immature cells, hairy cell lymphs, or megakaryocytes
  • New abnormal lymphocytes or monocytes
  • Variant or atypical lymphs >15%
  • Blood parasites
  • RBC morphology with 3+ spherocytes, RBC inclusions, suspect Hgb-C,
  • crystals, Pappenheimer bodies or bizarre morphology
  • nRBC’s

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Description: Estrogen is a blood test that will measure the amount of estrogen in the blood's serum. It is used in fertility treatment, hormone treatment, and can be used to help diagnose a problem with the endocrine system.

Also Known As: Estrogen Estrogenic Hormones Test, Estrogen Test, Total Estrogen Test, Estrogen Serum Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is an Estrogen Total test ordered?

Testing for estrogen for girls and women may be ordered if:

  • The development of a girl's sex organs occurs sooner or later than predicted.
  • After menopause, a woman may experience symptoms such as abnormal vaginal bleeding or irregular or absent menstrual cycles.
  • When a woman is unable to conceive, a series of estradiol readings taken over the course of her menstrual cycle may be used to track follicle development before using in vitro fertilization procedures.
  • A woman is experiencing menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, sleeplessness, and/or irregular or absent menstrual cycles.
  • If a menopausal woman is on hormone replacement therapy, her doctor may order estrone levels on a regular basis to check her progress.

Boys and men may be subjected to estrogen testing if:

  • A boy's puberty is delayed, as evidenced by slow or delayed growth of testicles and penis, as well as a lack of deepening of voice or growth of body hair.
  • Signs of feminization, such as larger breasts, can be seen in a guy.

What does an Estrogen Total blood test check for?

Estrogens are a class of steroids that have a role in the development and operation of female reproductive organs, as well as the generation of secondary sex characteristics. They help regulate the menstrual cycle, are essential in the growth of breasts and the uterus, and aid in the maintenance of a healthy pregnancy, together with another hormone, progesterone. Though they are primarily associated with women, they are also prevalent in men and play a role in bone metabolism and growth in both genders.

The amount of estrogen in a man's blood varies, but it does so much less over time and is much lower than in a woman's.

Lab tests often ordered with an Estrogen Total test:

  • Estradiol
  • Estriol
  • Estrone
  • Testosterone Free and Total
  • Sex Hormone Binding Globulin
  • FSH
  • LH
  • Progesterone

Conditions where an Estrogen Total test is recommended:

  • Infertility
  • Menopause
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Hormone Imbalance
  • Premature, delayed, or abnormal development of sex organs

How does my health care provider use an Estrogen Total test?

Estrogen tests are used to detect a deficit or excess of estrogen in a woman, as well as to aid in the diagnosis of a range of illnesses linked to this imbalance. They may also be ordered to monitor the health of the growing fetus and placenta during pregnancy, as well as to help predict the timing of a woman's ovulation. Estrogen testing can be used to detect a hormone excess and its origin in men.

What do my Estrogen test results mean?

The sex and age of the person being tested determine the normal estrogen levels. It also depends on a woman's menstrual cycle or whether she is pregnant. The normal values indicated and the units used in reference ranges will differ slightly between laboratories.

Estrogen levels can be elevated or lowered in a variety of metabolic disorders. Because the levels of estrone, estradiol, and estriol change from day to day and throughout a woman's menstrual cycle, care must be used when interpreting the results.

Rather than examining single numbers, a health practitioner monitoring a woman's hormones will look at trends in the levels, rising or falling over time in connection with the menstrual cycle or pregnancy.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


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Description: A RT3 test is a laboratory test that checks for Reverse T3 levels in your blood’s serum.

Also Known As: T3 Reverse test, REVT3 Test, RT3 Test, T3R Test, Reverse T3 Test, Reverse Triiodothyronine Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is this test ordered?

Reverse T3 is used to identify stress on the body due to many factors including extreme dieting, surgery, liver and kidney disease, insulin dependent diabetes, serious injury, and chronic alcohol consumption.

What is being tested?

Reverse T3 is a derivative of Thyroxine T4. T4 becomes the active thyroid hormone Triiodothyronine T3 when it loses one of its iodine atoms. T4 is also converted by the body into Reverse T3, which is an inactive version of T3 that lacks T3's metabolic function. Reverse T3 is thought to be produced by the body to conserve energy during times of severe illness and stress.

Related Tests and Panels:

  • T3 Free
  • T3 Total
  • T4 Free
  • T4 Total
  • TSH
  • T3 Uptake
  • Thyroid Peroxidase
  • Thyroglobulin Antibodies

Related Conditions:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hashimotos
  • Graves’ Disease
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Kidney Disease
  • Liver Disease
  • Alcoholism
  • Stress
  • Diabetes

How is the Reverse T3 test used by my healthcare provider?

Results of a Reverse T3 test are used in combination with results of T4 tests, T3 Tests, thyroid antibodies, and TSH in assessing a patient’s symptoms and thyroid function.

What does my Reverse T3 test result mean?

High levels of T3 Reverse indicate that an excessive amount of T4 is being converted into Reverse T3 instead of active T3. This can cause signs of hypothyroidism, a thyroid condition often referred to as underactive thyroid, even when other thyroid hormones are within normal ranges. Elevated levels of RT3 levels can also be a sign of illness and stress and as the body converts more T4 into Reverse T3 when experiencing illnesses and stress.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results


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Description: A T3 Total test is a blood test that measures triiodothyronine levels in your blood’s serum to evaluate your thyroid’s health and to screen for, diagnose, and monitor thyroid disorders such as hyperthyroidism.

Also Known As: Total T3 Test, Triiodothyronine Test, T3 Test, Bound T3

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a T3 Total test ordered?

When a person's TSH test results are abnormal, a total T3 test may be recommended. When a person has symptoms that imply hyperthyroidism, it may be requested as part of the investigational workup, especially if the free T4 level is not elevated.

The following are possible signs and symptoms:

  • Heart rate has increased.
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of weight
  • Sleeping problems
  • Hand tremors
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Visual disturbances, light sensitivity
  • Puffiness around the eyes, dryness, discomfort, and, in some cases, bulging of the eyes are all possible side effects.

Total T3 may be ordered at regular intervals to monitor a known thyroid disease or to assess the efficacy of hyperthyroidism treatment.

What does a T3 Total blood test check for?

T3 is one of two key hormones produced by the thyroid gland, a small butterfly-shaped organ near the base of the throat that sits flat across the windpipe. Thyroxine is the other primary thyroid hormone, and together they help govern the rate at which the body utilizes energy. T3 in the blood is almost entirely linked to protein. The remaining portion is free and is the hormone's physiologically active form. Tests can determine the amount of free T3 or total T3 in the blood.

A feedback system controls T3 and T4 production. The hypothalamus releases thyrotropin releasing hormone when thyroid hormone levels in the blood drop, which prompts the pituitary gland to create and release thyroid-stimulating hormone. The thyroid gland is thus stimulated to create and/or release more thyroid hormones as a result of TSH. T4 is the most common thyroid hormone produced. This hormone is generally inactive, but in the liver and other tissues, it is transformed into the considerably more active T3.

If the thyroid gland produces too much T4 and T3, the person may have symptoms like uneasiness, hand tremors, weight loss, sleeplessness, and puffiness around dry, itchy eyes. The person's eyes may be unable to move normally and appear to be glaring in some circumstances. The eyeballs may also appear to bulge in some circumstances.

If the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones, the person may experience weight gain, dry skin, lethargy, and constipation, which are all signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism and a slower metabolism. Thyroid hormone levels in the blood might be low or high due to thyroid malfunction, or in rare cases, insufficient or excessive TSH production due to a pituitary issue.

Autoimmune illnesses are the most common causes of thyroid dysfunction. Hyperthyroidism is caused by Graves disease, but it can also be caused by thyroiditis, thyroid malignancy, or high TSH production. Total T3 can be used to diagnose and monitor the impact of certain disorders on thyroid hormone production.

Lab tests often ordered with a T3 Total test:

  • TSH
  • T3 Free
  • T4 Free
  • T4 Total
  • T3 Reverse
  • T3 Uptake
  • Thyroid Peroxidase
  • Thyroglobulin Antibodies

Conditions where a T3 Total test is recommended:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hashimotos
  • Graves’ Disease
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Thyroid Cancer

How does my health care provider use a T3 Total test?

Thyroid function is measured with a total triiodothyronine test. It's usually ordered to assist identify hyperthyroidism, but it can also be used to track a person's therapy for a thyroid problem.

Thyroid hormones T3 and T4 are generated by the thyroid gland. They aid in the regulation of the rate at which the body expends energy and are governed by a feedback system. Thyroid-stimulating hormone boosts T4 and T3 synthesis and release. The liver and other tissues convert T4 into T3 as needed.

The majority of T4 and T3 in the blood is attached to protein, while just a small amount is free. Total T4, free T4, total T3, and free T3 can all be measured in blood tests.

Because the majority of T3 is coupled to protein, total T3 can be influenced by protein levels and binding ability, but free T3 is unaffected. Some professional standards, however, advocate total T3, thus either test can be used to evaluate thyroid function. To assist diagnose Graves disease, an autoimmune illness that is the most prevalent cause of hyperthyroidism, free T3 or total T3 may be ordered together with thyroid antibodies.

Following an abnormal TSH, a total T3 test is generally done, especially if the free T4 test is not high.

What does my T3 Total Test result mean?

Thyroid hormone levels that are high or low suggest a mismatch between the body's needs and supplies, but they don't inform the doctor what's causing the excess or deficiency.

If someone is being treated for hyperthyroidism with anti-thyroid medication and their free or total T3 levels are normal, the medicine is likely beneficial in treating the illness. If the free or total T3 or free T4 levels are high, the medication isn't working to address the problem, and the person may be having hyperthyroidism symptoms.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results


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Description: A T3 Free test is a blood test that measures unbound triiodothyronine levels in your blood’s serum to evaluate your thyroid’s health and to screen for, diagnose, and monitor thyroid disorders such as hyperthyroidism.

Also Known As: Free T3 Test, Free Triiodothyronine Test, FT3 Test, T3F Test, Unbound T3 Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a T3 Free test ordered?

When a person's TSH test results are abnormal, a free T3 test may be recommended. When a person has symptoms that imply hyperthyroidism, it may be requested as part of the investigational workup, especially if the free T4 level is not elevated.

The following are possible signs and symptoms:

  • Heart rate has increased.
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of weight
  • Sleeping problems
  • Hand tremors
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Visual disturbances, light sensitivity
  • Puffiness around the eyes, dryness, discomfort, and, in some cases, bulging of the eyes are all possible side effects.

Free T3 may be ordered at regular intervals to monitor a known thyroid disease or to assess the efficacy of hyperthyroidism treatment.

What does a T3 Free test check for?

T3 is one of two key hormones produced by the thyroid gland, a small butterfly-shaped organ near the base of the throat that sits flat across the windpipe. Thyroxine is the other primary thyroid hormone, and together they help govern the rate at which the body utilizes energy. T3 in the blood is almost entirely linked to protein. The remaining portion is free and is the hormone's physiologically active form. Tests can determine the amount of free T3 or total T3 in the blood.

A feedback system controls T3 and T4 production. The hypothalamus releases thyrotropin releasing hormone when thyroid hormone levels in the blood drop, which prompts the pituitary gland to create and release thyroid-stimulating hormone. The thyroid gland is thus stimulated to create and/or release more thyroid hormones as a result of TSH. T4 is the most common thyroid hormone produced. This hormone is generally inactive, but in the liver and other tissues, it is transformed into the considerably more active T3.

If the thyroid gland produces too much T4 and T3, the person may have symptoms like uneasiness, hand tremors, weight loss, sleeplessness, and puffiness around dry, itchy eyes. The person's eyes may be unable to move normally and appear to be glaring in some circumstances. The eyeballs may also appear to bulge in some circumstances.

If the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones, the person may experience weight gain, dry skin, lethargy, and constipation, which are all signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism and a slower metabolism. Thyroid hormone levels in the blood might be low or high due to thyroid malfunction, or in rare cases, insufficient or excessive TSH production due to a pituitary issue.

Autoimmune illnesses are the most common causes of thyroid dysfunction. Hyperthyroidism is caused by Graves disease, but it can also be caused by thyroiditis, thyroid malignancy, or high TSH production. Total T3 can be used to diagnose and monitor the impact of certain disorders on thyroid hormone production.

Lab tests often ordered with a T3 Free test:

  • TSH
  • T3 Total
  • T4 Free
  • T4 Total
  • T3 Reverse
  • T3 Uptake
  • Thyroid Peroxidase
  • Thyroglobulin Antibodies

Conditions where a T3 Free test is recommended:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hashimotos
  • Graves’ Disease
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Thyroid Cancer

How does my health care provider use a T3 Free test?

Thyroid function is measured with a free triiodothyronine test. It's usually ordered to assist identify hyperthyroidism, but it can also be used to track a person's therapy for a thyroid problem.

Thyroid hormones T3 and T4 are generated by the thyroid gland. They aid in the regulation of the rate at which the body expends energy and are governed by a feedback system. Thyroid-stimulating hormone boosts T4 and T3 synthesis and release. The liver and other tissues convert T4 into T3 as needed.

The majority of T4 and T3 in the blood is attached to protein, while just a small amount is free. Total T4, free T4, total T3, and free T3 can all be measured in blood tests.

Because the majority of T3 is coupled to protein, total T3 can be influenced by protein levels and binding ability, but free T3 is unaffected. Some professional standards, however, advocate total T3, thus either test can be used to evaluate thyroid function. To assist in diagnosing Graves disease, an autoimmune illness that is the most prevalent cause of hyperthyroidism, free T3 or total T3 may be ordered together with thyroid antibodies.

Following an abnormal TSH, a free T3 test is generally done, especially if the free T4 test is not high.

What does my T3 Free result mean?

Thyroid hormone levels that are high or low suggest a mismatch between the body's needs and supplies, but they don't inform the doctor what's causing the excess or deficiency.

If someone is being treated for hyperthyroidism with anti-thyroid medication and their free or total T3 levels are normal, the medicine is likely beneficial in treating the illness. If the free or total T3 or free T4 levels are high, the medication isn't working to address the problem, and the person may be having hyperthyroidism symptoms.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results


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Description: A T4 Total test is a blood test that measures thyroxine free levels in your blood’s serum to evaluate your thyroid’s health and to screen for, diagnose, and monitor thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism.

Also Known As: Total T4 Test, Total Thyroxine Test, T4 Test, T4, T4 Total Test, Bound T4 Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a T4 Total test ordered?

When a person exhibits symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, a Total T4 test may be administered, especially if a TSH test result is abnormal.

Hyperthyroidism can cause the following signs and symptoms:

  • Heart rate has increased.
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of weight
  • Sleeping problems
  • Hand tremors
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Visual disturbances, light sensitivity
  • Puffiness around the eyes, dryness, discomfort, and, in some cases, bulging of the eyes are all possible side effects.

Hypothyroidism can cause the following symptoms:

  • gaining weight
  • Skin that is dry
  • Constipation
  • Intolerance to the cold
  • Skin that is puffy
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Women's menstrual irregularities

When a person is being treated for a thyroid problem, Total T4 testing, along with other thyroid tests, may be requested on a regular basis.

Thyroid testing will most likely be ordered early and late in the pregnancy, as well as for a period after delivery, to monitor the mother and baby in pregnant women with thyroid abnormalities.

In the United States, thyroid hormone screening is routinely performed on babies as part of newborn screening programs.

What does a T4 Total blood test check for?

The thyroid gland, a small butterfly-shaped structure that lays on the windpipe towards the bottom of the throat, produces one of two primary hormones: thyroxine. Triiodothyronine is the other primary thyroid hormone, and together they help govern the rate at which the body utilizes energy. T4 in the blood is almost entirely linked to protein. The remaining portion is free and is the hormone's biologically active form. This test determines how much Bound T4 is present in the blood.

A feedback loop controls T4 production. The hypothalamus releases thyrotropin releasing hormone, which encourages the pituitary gland to generate and release thyroid-stimulating hormone when the amount of T4 in the blood drops. The thyroid gland is thus stimulated to produce and/or release more T4 as a result of TSH. TSH release is blocked as T4 content in the blood rises.

T4 accounts for over 90% of thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland releases accumulated T4 into circulation when the body requires it. T4 is either free or bound to protein in the blood. The amount of free T4 in the body is just about 0.1 percent of total T4. In the liver or other tissues, T4 is converted to T3. T3, like T4, is mainly attached to protein, however the physiologically active forms of T3 and T4 are the free versions. Free T3 in circulation is 4 to 5 times more active than free T4.

Dry skin, weight gain, cold intolerance, weariness, and irregular menstruation are among signs of hypothyroidism that occur when the thyroid gland does not produce enough T4 due to thyroid malfunction or insufficient TSH. Myxedema, or severe untreated hypothyroidism, can cause heart failure, convulsions, and coma. Hypothyroidism in children can slow growth and sexual development.

When the thyroid gland generates too much T4, the rate of a person's body functions increases, resulting in hyperthyroidism symptoms such as anxiety, increased heart rate, difficulty sleeping, weight loss, puffiness and dry itchy eyes, and hand tremors.

The most prevalent causes of thyroid dysfunction are connected to autoimmune illnesses. Hyperthyroidism is caused by Graves disease, while hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto thyroiditis. Thyroiditis, thyroid malignancy, and excessive or insufficient TSH production can all induce hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. By measuring Total T4, the influence of these variables on thyroid hormone synthesis can be recognized and monitored.

Note: Free T4 Index (T7) will only be calculated and reported if test code code 861 (T3 Uptake) is ordered as well.

Lab tests often ordered with a T4 Total test:

  • TSH
  • T3 Total
  • T3 Free
  • T4 Free
  • T3 Reverse
  • T3 Uptake
  • Thyroid Peroxidase
  • Thyroglobulin Antibodies

Conditions where a T4 Total test is recommended:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hashimotos
  • Graves’ Disease
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Thyroid Cancer

How does my health care provider use a T4 Total test?

Total thyroxine tests are used to assess thyroid function and detect thyroid disorders, such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, after the thyroid stimulating hormone level has been found to be abnormal.

The thyroid gland produces T4 and another hormone called triiodothyronine. They aid in the regulation of the rate at which the body expends energy and are governed by a feedback system. TSH promotes the thyroid gland's synthesis and release of T4 and T3.

The majority of T4 and T3 in the blood is attached to protein, while just a small amount is free. Total T4, free T4, total T3, and free T3 can all be measured in blood testing. The total T4 test has been around for a long time, but it is influenced by the quantity of protein in the blood that can bind to the hormone. The active form of thyroxine, free T4, is unaffected by protein levels. Many people believe that the free T4 test is a more accurate reflection of thyroid hormone activity, and it has largely supplanted the total T4 test.

A Total T4 test can be used in conjunction with or after a TSH test, and occasionally with a free T3 test to:

  • Help diagnose the cause of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism by detecting too much or too little thyroid hormone.
  • Differentiate between thyroid disorders.
  • Assist in the diagnosis of pituitary diseases
  • Assist in the diagnosis of infertility in women
  • In an individual with a known thyroid condition, track the effectiveness of treatment.
  • Monitor patients with pituitary disease to ensure that their thyroid is still operating, and thyroid hormone medication should be monitored if it isn't.
  • Monitor patients with thyroid cancer whose tumors respond to TSH. TSH and T4 levels will be monitored on a regular basis to ensure that adequate thyroid hormone is being administered to maintain TSH low while keeping T4 high.

In the United States, babies are routinely tested for T4 and TSH levels to rule out congenital hypothyroidism, which can lead to mental retardation if left untreated.

Thyroid abnormalities can sometimes be detected using Total T4 and TSH, however professional opinions differ on who should be screened and when they should start.

Thyroid antibodies, as well as a Total T4 test, may be ordered if a health practitioner suspects someone has an autoimmune-related thyroid problem.

What does my T4 Total result mean?

In general, high total T4 levels suggest an overactive thyroid gland, while low total T4 levels suggest an underactive thyroid gland. The test results are not diagnostic in and of themselves, but they will urge the health care provider to conduct additional testing to determine the reason of the excess or deficiency.

A range of temporary and chronic thyroid disorders are linked to both decreased and increased total T4 levels. A pituitary gland issue could be indicated by low total T4 levels along with a low TSH level, or by high total T4 levels combined with a high TSH.

When thyroid tests are done to monitor treatment for thyroid or pituitary diseases, the results will tell the doctor whether the treatment is working and/or if a dose adjustment is required. People with hyperthyroidism, for example, have their total T4, total T3, and TSH levels examined on a regular basis while taking anti-thyroid medicines to ensure that the drugs are effective and to reduce doses if thyroid hormone levels fall too low. TSH and total T4 levels are monitored on a frequent basis in hypothyroid patients to ensure that the correct dose of thyroid hormone is being given to bring TSH levels back to normal.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Most Popular

Description: A T4 Free test is a blood test that measures thyroxine free levels in your blood’s serum to evaluate your thyroid’s health and to screen for, diagnose, and monitor thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism.

Also Known As: Free T4 Test, Free Thyroxine Test, FT4 Test, T4F Test, T4 Free Test, Unbound T4 Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a T4 Free test ordered?

When a person exhibits symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, a free T4 test may be administered, especially if the TSH test is abnormal.

Hyperthyroidism can cause the following signs and symptoms:

  • Heart rate has increased.
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of weight
  • Sleeping problems
  • Hand tremors
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Visual disturbances, light sensitivity
  • Puffiness around the eyes, dryness, discomfort, and, in some cases, bulging of the eyes are all possible side effects.

Hypothyroidism can cause the following symptoms:

  • gaining weight
  • Skin that is dry
  • Constipation
  • Intolerance to the cold
  • Skin that is puffy
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Women's menstrual irregularities

When a person is being treated for a thyroid problem, free T4 testing, along with other thyroid tests, may be requested on a regular basis.

Thyroid testing will most likely be ordered early and late in the pregnancy, as well as for a period after delivery, to monitor the mother and baby in pregnant women with thyroid abnormalities.

In the United States, thyroid hormone screening is routinely performed on babies as part of newborn screening programs.

What does a T4 Free blood test check for?

The thyroid gland, a small butterfly-shaped structure that lays on the windpipe towards the bottom of the throat, produces one of two primary hormones: thyroxine. Triiodothyronine is the other primary thyroid hormone, and together they help govern the rate at which the body utilizes energy. T4 in the blood is almost entirely linked to protein. The remaining portion is free and is the hormone's biologically active form. This test determines how much free T4 is present in the blood.

A feedback loop controls T4 production. The hypothalamus releases thyrotropin releasing hormone, which encourages the pituitary gland to generate and release thyroid-stimulating hormone when the amount of T4 in the blood drops. The thyroid gland is thus stimulated to produce and/or release more T4 as a result of TSH. TSH release is blocked as T4 content in the blood rises.

T4 accounts for over 90% of thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland releases accumulated T4 into circulation when the body requires it. T4 is either free or bound to protein in the blood. The amount of free T4 in the body is just about 0.1 percent of total T4. In the liver or other tissues, T4 is converted to T3. T3, like T4, is mainly attached to protein, however the physiologically active forms of T3 and T4 are the free versions. Free T3 in circulation is 4 to 5 times more active than free T4.

Dry skin, weight gain, cold intolerance, weariness, and irregular menstruation are among signs of hypothyroidism that occur when the thyroid gland does not produce enough T4 due to thyroid malfunction or insufficient TSH. Myxedema, or severe untreated hypothyroidism, can cause heart failure, convulsions, and coma. Hypothyroidism in children can slow growth and sexual development.

When the thyroid gland generates too much T4, the rate of a person's body functions increases, resulting in hyperthyroidism symptoms such as anxiety, increased heart rate, difficulty sleeping, weight loss, puffiness and dry itchy eyes, and hand tremors.

The most prevalent causes of thyroid dysfunction are connected to autoimmune illnesses. Hyperthyroidism is caused by Graves disease, while hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto thyroiditis. Thyroiditis, thyroid malignancy, and excessive or insufficient TSH production can all induce hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. By measuring free T4, the influence of these variables on thyroid hormone synthesis can be recognized and monitored.

Lab tests often ordered with a T4 Free test:

  • TSH
  • T3 Total
  • T3 Free
  • T4 Total
  • T3 Reverse
  • T3 Uptake
  • Thyroid Peroxidase
  • Thyroglobulin Antibodies

Conditions where a T4 Free test is recommended:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hashimotos
  • Graves’ Disease
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Thyroid Cancer

How does my health care provider use a T4 Free test?

Free thyroxine tests are used to assess thyroid function and detect thyroid disorders, such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, after the thyroid stimulating hormone level has been found to be abnormal.

The thyroid gland produces T4 and another hormone called triiodothyronine. They aid in the regulation of the rate at which the body expends energy and are governed by a feedback system. TSH promotes the thyroid gland's synthesis and release of T4 and T3.

The majority of T4 and T3 in the blood is attached to protein, while just a small amount is free. Total T4, free T4, total T3, and free T3 can all be measured in blood testing. The total T4 test has been around for a long time, but it is influenced by the quantity of protein in the blood that can bind to the hormone. The active form of thyroxine, free T4, is unaffected by protein levels. Many people believe that the free T4 test is a more accurate reflection of thyroid hormone activity, and it has largely supplanted the total T4 test.

A free T4 test can be used in conjunction with or after a TSH test, and occasionally with a free T3 test to:

  • Help diagnose the cause of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism by detecting too much or too little thyroid hormone.
  • Differentiate between thyroid disorders.
  • Assist in the diagnosis of pituitary diseases
  • Assist in the diagnosis of infertility in women
  • In an individual with a known thyroid condition, track the effectiveness of treatment.
  • Monitor patients with pituitary disease to ensure that their thyroid is still operating, and thyroid hormone medication should be monitored if it isn't.
  • Monitor patients with thyroid cancer whose tumors respond to TSH. TSH and T4 levels will be monitored on a regular basis to ensure that adequate thyroid hormone is being administered to maintain TSH low while keeping T4 high.

In the United States, babies are routinely tested for T4 and TSH levels to rule out congenital hypothyroidism, which can lead to mental retardation if left untreated.

Thyroid abnormalities can sometimes be detected using free T4 and TSH, however professional opinions differ on who should be screened and when they should start.

Thyroid antibodies, as well as a free T4 test, may be ordered if a health practitioner suspects someone has an autoimmune-related thyroid problem.

What does my T4 Free result mean?

In general, high free T4 levels suggest an overactive thyroid gland, while low free T4 levels suggest an underactive thyroid gland. The test results are not diagnostic in and of themselves, but they will urge the health care provider to conduct additional testing to determine the reason of the excess or deficiency.

A range of temporary and chronic thyroid disorders are linked to both decreased and increased free T4 levels. A pituitary gland issue could be indicated by low free T4 levels along with a low TSH level, or by high free T4 levels combined with a high TSH.

When thyroid tests are done to monitor treatment for thyroid or pituitary diseases, the results will tell the doctor whether the treatment is working and/or if a dose adjustment is required. People with hyperthyroidism, for example, have their free T4, free T3, and TSH levels examined on a regular basis while taking anti-thyroid medicines to ensure that the drugs are effective and to reduce doses if thyroid hormone levels fall too low. TSH and free T4 levels are monitored on a frequent basis in hypothyroid patients to ensure that the correct dose of thyroid hormone is being given to bring TSH levels back to normal.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Brief Description: Testosterone, Free (Dialysis) and Total, MS is a blood test used to detect abnormal levels of testosterone in both male and female patients, and diagnose causes of erectile dysfunction, infertility, virilization, polycystic ovary syndrome, and delayed or early puberty in children.

Also Known As: Total Testosterone, Free Testosterone, Testosterone Free and Total

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Free and Total Testosterone test ordered?

When infertility is suspected, or when a man has decreased sex drive or erectile difficulties, a testosterone test may be ordered. Other signs include a lack of beard and body hair, a loss of muscle mass, and the formation of breast tissue. Low total and bioavailable testosterone levels have also been linked to, or caused by, increased visceral fat, insulin resistance, and an increased risk of coronary artery disease.

The test is frequently ordered in conjunction with the FSH and LH tests in males who are experiencing delayed or slow puberty. Although the age at which puberty begins varies from person to person, it usually begins around the age of ten. The following are some of the signs and symptoms of delayed puberty:

  • Muscle mass development is delayed.
  • Voice not getting lower or a lack of body hair growth
  • Growth of the testicles and penis is slowed or delayed.

When a young boy appears to be going through an early puberty with clear secondary sex traits, the test can be ordered. Various malignancies and congenital adrenal hyperplasia can cause early puberty in boys due to elevated testosterone.

When a woman has irregular or no menstrual cycles, is having trouble getting pregnant, or displays masculine traits such as abundant facial and body hair, male pattern baldness, and/or a low voice, testosterone testing may be done. Testosterone levels can rise as a result of malignancies in the ovary or adrenal gland, as well as other illnesses including polycystic ovarian syndrome.

What does a Testosterone Total and Free blood test check for?

In men, testosterone is the primary sex hormone. It's in charge of a man's physical appearance. Although it is thought to be a "masculine" sex hormone, it is found in both men and women's blood. This test determines the amount of testosterone in a person's blood.

Testosterone is primarily produced in the male testicles by unique endocrine tissue called Leydig cells. It's also made by the adrenal glands in both males and females, as well as the ovaries in females in modest amounts.

In males, testosterone promotes the formation of secondary sex characteristics such as penis size, body hair growth, muscle development, and a deeper voice. It is abundant in males during adolescence and adulthood in order to regulate sex drive and preserve muscle mass. Estradiol is the major sex hormone in females, and testosterone is converted to it in women.

The pituitary gland produces luteinizing hormone, which stimulates and regulates testosterone synthesis. Testosterone functions in a negative feedback loop: when testosterone levels rise, LH production falls, slowing testosterone production; lower testosterone levels cause higher LH production, which promotes testosterone production.

Testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day, increasing in the early morning hours and dropping in the evening. Levels rise after activity and fall as people get older.

About two-thirds of testosterone is attached to sex-hormone binding globulin in the bloodstream, with the remaining one-third bound to albumin. Only a small percentage of testosterone is released into the bloodstream as free testosterone. The bioavailable fraction is the free plus albumin-bound testosterone, which can act on target tissues.

Lab tests often ordered with a Testosterone Free and Total test:

  • Estradiol
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • FSH
  • LH
  • Estrogens
  • Estriol
  • Estrone
  • Albumin
  • Prolactin
  • Anti-mullerian Hormone
  • Androstenedione
  • Sex Hormone Binding Globulin

Conditions where a Testosterone Free and Total test is recommended:

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Alcoholism
  • Mumps
  • Hypothalamic disease
  • Pituitary disease
  • Infertility
  • Liver disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Eating disorders
  • Pregnancy
  • Cushing Syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Testicular cancer
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

Commonly Asked Questions:

How does my health care provider use a Testosterone Free and Total test?

In men, women, girls, and boys, testosterone testing is used to identify a variety of problems. Testosterone is the major sex hormone in males, and it is responsible for masculine physical traits. It is produced mostly by the testicles. Although it is thought to be a "male" sex hormone, it is found in both males and females.

The testosterone test can be used to determine whether or not you're experiencing:

  • Delayed or early puberty in boys
  • In both men and women, sex drive has decreased.
  • Men's erectile dysfunction
  • Male and female infertility
  • Tumors of the testicles in men
  • Disorders of the hypothalamus or pituitary gland
  • Virilization and hirsutism in girls and women

A testosterone total test is usually used to diagnose a condition. The free and total testosterone test distinguishes between testosterone that is bound to proteins in the blood and testosterone that is not attached to proteins.

About two-thirds of testosterone is tied to SHBG in the blood, with the remaining one-third attached to albumin. Free testosterone circulates in a tiny percentage. Bioavailable testosterone is made up of free testosterone and testosterone bound to albumin, and it can operate on target tissues.

A test for free or bioavailable testosterone may be performed in some circumstances, such as when the level of SHBG is abnormal, as it may more accurately indicate the presence of a medical issue.

Other tests and hormone levels may be performed in conjunction with testosterone testing, depending on the reason for testing. Here are a few examples:

  • FSH
  • LH
  • Estrogen
  • Estradiol
  • SHBG
  • DHEA-S
  • Prolactin
  • Androstenedione
  • 17-Hydroxyprogesterone

What does my testosterone test result mean?

Males: 

Testosterone levels often begin to fall after the age of 30. Testosterone levels may drop more in obese or chronically unwell men, as well as with the use of certain drugs.

Hypogonadism can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Pituitary or hypothalamic illness
  • Reduced testosterone production in young males can be caused by genetic disorders
  • Possible infertility or testicular failure
  • Acquired damage to the testes, such as from drinking, physical injury, or viral infections like mumps, reduces testosterone production.
  • Diabetes

Healthcare practitioners may recommend testosterone replacement therapy to men who have consistently low testosterone levels and associated signs and symptoms. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved testosterone supplements to improve strength, sports performance, or avoid aging disorders. It's possible that using it for these purposes is dangerous.

Increased testosterone levels in men can mean one of several things:

  • Tumors of the testicles
  • Testosterone-producing tumors in the adrenal glands
  • Use of anabolic steroids
  • Early puberty in males due to an unknown cause
  • Adrenal hyperplasia in toddlers and babies

Females:

Testosterone levels in women are typically low. Increased testosterone levels can mean one of the following things:

  • Ovarian or adrenal gland tumor
  • PCOS
  • Adrenal hyperplasia that occurs at birth.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Helpful in assessing testicular function in males and managing hirsutism, virilization in females.

Description: Testosterone Free and Total with Sex Hormone Binding Globulin is a blood test used to detect abnormal levels of testosterone in both male and female patients, and diagnose causes of erectile dysfunction, infertility, virilization, polycystic ovary syndrome, and delayed or early puberty in children.

Also Known As: Total Testosterone Test, Free Testosterone Test, Testosterone Free and Total Test, Sex Hormone Binding Globulin Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Testosterone Free and Total with Sex Hormone Binding Globulin test ordered?

When infertility is suspected, or when a man has decreased sex drive or erectile difficulties, a testosterone test may be ordered. Other signs include a lack of beard and body hair, a loss of muscle mass, and the formation of breast tissue. Low total and bioavailable testosterone levels have also been linked to, or caused by, increased visceral fat, insulin resistance, and an increased risk of coronary artery disease.

The test is frequently ordered in conjunction with the FSH and LH tests in males who are experiencing delayed or slow puberty. Although the age at which puberty begins varies from person to person, it usually begins around the age of ten. The following are some of the signs and symptoms of delayed puberty:

  • Muscle mass development is delayed.
  • Voice not getting lower or a lack of body hair growth
  • Growth of the testicles and penis is slowed or delayed.

When a young boy appears to be going through an early puberty with clear secondary sex traits, the test can be ordered. Various malignancies and congenital adrenal hyperplasia can cause early puberty in boys due to elevated testosterone.

When a woman has irregular or no menstrual cycles, is having trouble getting pregnant, or displays masculine traits such as abundant facial and body hair, male pattern baldness, and/or a low voice, testosterone testing may be done. Testosterone levels can rise as a result of malignancies in the ovary or adrenal gland, as well as other illnesses including polycystic ovarian syndrome.

What does a Testosterone Total and Free with Sex Hormone Binding Globulin blood test check for?

In men, testosterone is the primary sex hormone. It's in charge of a man's physical appearance. Although it is thought to be a "masculine" sex hormone, it is found in both men and women's blood. This test determines the amount of testosterone in a person's blood.

Testosterone is primarily produced in the male testicles by unique endocrine tissue called Leydig cells. It's also made by the adrenal glands in both males and females, as well as the ovaries in females in modest amounts.

In males, testosterone promotes the formation of secondary sex characteristics such as penis size, body hair growth, muscle development, and a deeper voice. It is abundant in males during adolescence and adulthood in order to regulate sex drive and preserve muscle mass. Estradiol is the major sex hormone in females, and testosterone is converted to it in women.

The pituitary gland produces luteinizing hormone, which stimulates and regulates testosterone synthesis. Testosterone functions in a negative feedback loop: when testosterone levels rise, LH production falls, slowing testosterone production; lower testosterone levels cause higher LH production, which promotes testosterone production.

Testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day, increasing in the early morning hours and dropping in the evening. Levels rise after activity and fall as people get older.

About two-thirds of testosterone is attached to sex-hormone binding globulin in the bloodstream, with the remaining one-third bound to albumin. Only a small percentage of testosterone is released into the bloodstream as free testosterone. The bioavailable fraction is the free plus albumin-bound testosterone, which can act on target tissues.

In many circumstances, measuring total testosterone is sufficient information for a healthcare provider. A test for free or bioavailable testosterone may be performed in some circumstances, such as when the level of SHBG is abnormal, as it may more accurately indicate the presence of a medical issue.

SHBG is a liver-produced protein that strongly binds to the hormones testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and estradiol. SHBG distributes these hormones in the blood as physiologically inactive versions when they are bound. This test examines the amount of SHBG in the blood and is most commonly used to determine whether a person has too much or too little testosterone.

In men, SHBG binds roughly 45 percent to 65 percent of testosterone in the blood, with the rest weakly and reversibly linked to albumin. Only around 2% to 3% of testosterone is accessible to tissues as free testosterone, but testosterone that is weakly linked to albumin is also bioavailable and can be rapidly absorbed by the body's tissues.

In women, a somewhat higher percentage of testosterone is bound to SHBG in the blood than in men. SHBG is important in controlling the quantities of bioavailable male sex hormones and estrogens circulating throughout the body in women. Because SHBG has a stronger affinity for the androgens testosterone and DHT, women with low SHBG may experience signs and symptoms of androgen excess.

A total testosterone test does not differentiate between bound and unbound testosterone; instead, it determines the total amount of testosterone present. In many circumstances, this is sufficient to determine if testosterone production is excessive or inadequate. However, if a person's SHBG level is abnormal, the total testosterone level may not accurately reflect the amount of testosterone available to the person's tissues. When a person's indications and symptoms do not match the results of a total testosterone test, a SHBG test may be conducted.

Lab tests often ordered with a Testosterone Free and Total with Sex Hormone Binding Globulin test:

  • Estradiol
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • FSH
  • LH
  • Estrogens
  • Estriol
  • Estrone
  • Albumin
  • Prolactin
  • Anti-mullerian Hormone
  • Androstenedione

Conditions where a Testosterone Free and Total with Sex Hormone Binding Globulin test is recommended:

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Alcoholism
  • Mumps
  • Hypothalamic disease
  • Pituitary disease
  • Infertility
  • Liver disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Eating disorders
  • Pregnancy
  • Cushing Syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Testicular cancer
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

Commonly Asked Questions:

How does my health care provider use a Testosterone Free and Total with Sex Hormone Binding Globulin test?

In men, women, girls, and boys, testosterone testing is used to identify a variety of problems. Testosterone is the major sex hormone in males, and it is responsible for masculine physical traits. It is produced mostly by the testicles. Although it is thought to be a "male" sex hormone, it is found in both males and females.

The testosterone test can be used to determine whether or not you're experiencing:

  • Delayed or early puberty in boys
  • In both men and women, sex drive has decreased.
  • Men's erectile dysfunction
  • Male and female infertility
  • Tumors of the testicles in men
  • Disorders of the hypothalamus or pituitary gland
  • Virilization and hirsutism in girls and women

A testosterone total test is usually used to diagnose a condition. The free and total testosterone test distinguishes between testosterone that is bound to proteins in the blood and testosterone that is not attached to proteins.

About two-thirds of testosterone is tied to SHBG in the blood, with the remaining one-third attached to albumin. Free testosterone circulates in a tiny percentage. Bioavailable testosterone is made up of free testosterone and testosterone bound to albumin, and it can operate on target tissues.

A test for free or bioavailable testosterone may be performed in some circumstances, such as when the level of SHBG is abnormal, as it may more accurately indicate the presence of a medical issue.

Other tests and hormone levels may be performed in conjunction with testosterone testing, depending on the reason for testing. Here are a few examples:

  • FSH
  • LH
  • Estrogen
  • Estradiol
  • SHBG
  • DHEA-S
  • Prolactin
  • Androstenedione
  • 17-Hydroxyprogesterone
  • The sex hormone binding globulin test can be performed to determine whether a man has low testosterone or if a woman has too much testosterone. It can be used in conjunction with other tests to assess a person's sex hormone status.

SHBG is a protein that binds to testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and estradiol, among other hormones. SHBG distributes these hormones in the blood as physiologically inactive versions when they are bound. Changes in SHBG levels can have an impact on the amount of hormone accessible to the body's tissues.

To assess a person's current hormonal balance, tests for albumin and one or more additional sex hormones, such as prolactin, estradiol, and LH may be conducted.

In men

In order to diagnose the cause of infertility, diminished sex drive, or erectile dysfunction in an adult male, SHBG and total testosterone levels may be ordered. When total testosterone findings are contradictory with clinical symptoms, measuring SHBG in addition to testosterone is extremely beneficial.

Total testosterone in the blood is measured without distinguishing between bound and unbound testosterone; rather, it determines the total amount of testosterone in the blood. In many circumstances, this is sufficient to determine if testosterone production is excessive or inadequate. However, if a person's SHBG level is abnormal, the total testosterone level may not accurately reflect the amount of testosterone available to the body's tissues.

With a simple total testosterone assessment, health practitioners can estimate bioavailable testosterone by measuring SHBG. Because less testosterone is accessible to the body's tissues, increased SHBG in males may be linked to symptoms of low testosterone levels.

Total testosterone should be measured in the initial screening for testosterone deficiency, according to the Endocrine Society's professional standards. If the results are abnormal, the test is repeated the next day. They propose one of the following if repeat readings are low-normal and/or SHBG is abnormal:

In women

The ovaries and adrenal glands produce modest amounts of testosterone in women. Even little increases in testosterone production can throw off the hormone balance, resulting in symptoms including irregular or missed periods, infertility, acne, and excessive face and body hair. These and other signs and symptoms are common in polycystic ovarian syndrome, a disorder marked by an overproduction of male sex hormones. SHBG and testosterone testing may be helpful in detecting and evaluating excess testosterone production and/or decreasing SHBG concentrations, as well as in evaluating women with PCOS.

What does my testosterone test result mean?

Males: 

Testosterone levels often begin to fall after the age of 30. Testosterone levels may drop more in obese or chronically unwell men, as well as with the use of certain drugs.

Hypogonadism can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Pituitary or hypothalamic illness
  • Reduced testosterone production in young males can be caused by genetic disorders
  • Possible infertility or testicular failure
  • Acquired damage to the testes, such as from drinking, physical injury, or viral infections like mumps, reduces testosterone production.
  • Diabetes

Healthcare practitioners may recommend testosterone replacement therapy to men who have consistently low testosterone levels and associated signs and symptoms. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved testosterone supplements to improve strength, sports performance, or avoid aging disorders. It's possible that using it for these purposes is dangerous.

Increased testosterone levels in men can mean one of several things:

  • Tumors of the testicles
  • Testosterone-producing tumors in the adrenal glands
  • Use of anabolic steroids
  • Early puberty in males due to an unknown cause
  • Adrenal hyperplasia in toddlers and babies

Females:

Testosterone levels in women are typically low. Increased testosterone levels can mean one of the following things:

  • Ovarian or adrenal gland tumor
  • PCOS
  • Adrenal hyperplasia that occurs at birth.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Please note: If Testosterone, Total, Males (Adult) Only #873 is ordered for a pediatric or female patient, the lab will automatically change the test to and charge for Testosterone, Total, MS #15983.

Description: Testosterone, Total, Male is a blood test used to detect abnormal levels of testosterone in male patients, diagnose causes of erectile dysfunction and infertility.

Also Known As: Total Testosterone Test, Testosterone Total Test, Male Testosterone Test, Testosterone Male Test, Testosterone Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

This test is for male patients 18 years of age and older only. Pediatric and Female patients will need to order Testosterone, Total, MS #15983.

Due to changes in testosterone levels throughout the day, two morning (8:00-10:00 a.m.) specimens obtained on different days are recommended by The Endocrine Society for screening.

This test can report a value up to 3000 ng/dL. any number >3000 will be stated as >3000.

When is a Testosterone Total Male test ordered?

When infertility is suspected, or when a man has decreased sex drive or erectile difficulties, a testosterone test may be ordered. Other signs include a lack of beard and body hair, a loss of muscle mass, and the formation of breast tissue. Low total and bioavailable testosterone levels have also been linked to, or caused by, increased visceral fat, insulin resistance, and an increased risk of coronary artery disease.

What does a Testosterone Total Male blood test check for?

In men, testosterone is the primary sex hormone. It's in charge of a man's physical appearance. This test determines the amount of testosterone in a person's blood.

Testosterone is primarily produced in the male testicles by unique endocrine tissue called Leydig cells. It's made by the adrenal glands in males.

In males, testosterone promotes the formation of secondary sex characteristics such as penis size, body hair growth, muscle development, and a deeper voice. It is abundant in males during adolescence and adulthood in order to regulate sex drive and preserve muscle mass.

The pituitary gland produces luteinizing hormone, which stimulates and regulates testosterone synthesis. Testosterone functions in a negative feedback loop: when testosterone levels rise, LH production falls, slowing testosterone production; lower testosterone levels cause higher LH production, which promotes testosterone production.

Testosterone levels fluctuate throughout the day, increasing in the early morning hours and dropping in the evening. Levels rise after activity and fall as people get older.

About two-thirds of testosterone is attached to sex-hormone binding globulin in the bloodstream, with the remaining one-third bound to albumin. Only a small percentage of testosterone is released into the bloodstream as free testosterone. The bioavailable fraction is the free plus albumin-bound testosterone, which can act on target tissues.

In many circumstances, measuring total testosterone is sufficient information for a healthcare provider. A test for free or bioavailable testosterone may be performed in some circumstances, such as when the level of SHBG is abnormal, as it may more accurately indicate the presence of a medical issue.

Lab tests often ordered with a Testosterone Total Male test:

  • Estradiol
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • FSH
  • LH
  • Estrogens
  • Estriol
  • Estrone
  • Albumin
  • Prolactin
  • Anti-mullerian Hormone
  • Androstenedione
  • Sex Hormone Binding Globulin

Conditions where a Testosterone Total Male test is recommended:

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Alcoholism
  • Mumps
  • Hypothalamic disease
  • Pituitary disease
  • Infertility
  • Liver disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Eating disorders
  • Pregnancy
  • Cushing Syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Testicular cancer
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

Commonly Asked Questions:

How is this test used by my health care provider?

In men, testosterone testing is used to identify a variety of problems. Testosterone is the major sex hormone in males, and it is responsible for masculine physical traits. It is produced mostly by the testicles.

The testosterone test can be used to determine whether or not you're experiencing:

  • Decreases sex drive
  • Men's erectile dysfunction
  • Male infertility
  • Tumors of the testicles in men
  • Disorders of the hypothalamus or pituitary gland

A testosterone total test is usually used to diagnose a condition. The free and total testosterone test distinguishes between testosterone that is bound to proteins in the blood and testosterone that is not attached to proteins.

About two-thirds of testosterone is tied to SHBG in the blood, with the remaining one-third attached to albumin. Free testosterone circulates in a tiny percentage. Bioavailable testosterone is made up of free testosterone and testosterone bound to albumin, and it can operate on target tissues.

A test for free or bioavailable testosterone may be performed in some circumstances, such as when the level of SHBG is abnormal, as it may more accurately indicate the presence of a medical issue.

Other tests and hormone levels may be performed in conjunction with testosterone testing, depending on the reason for testing. Here are a few examples:

  • FSH
  • LH
  • Estrogen
  • Estradiol
  • SHBG
  • DHEA-S
  • Prolactin
  • Androstenedione
  • 17-Hydroxyprogesterone

What does my testosterone test result mean?

Testosterone levels often begin to fall after the age of 30. Testosterone levels may drop more in obese or chronically unwell men, as well as with the use of certain drugs.

Hypogonadism can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Pituitary or hypothalamic illness
  • Reduced testosterone production in young males can be caused by genetic disorders
  • Possible infertility or testicular failure
  • Acquired damage to the testes, such as from drinking, physical injury, or viral infections like mumps, reduces testosterone production.
  • Diabetes

Healthcare practitioners may recommend testosterone replacement therapy to men who have consistently low testosterone levels and associated signs and symptoms. The Food and Drug Administration has not approved testosterone supplements to improve strength, sports performance, or avoid aging disorders. It's possible that using it for these purposes is dangerous.

Increased testosterone levels in men can mean one of several things:

  • Tumors of the testicles
  • Testosterone-producing tumors in the adrenal glands
  • Use of anabolic steroids

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


Description: Thyroid Peroxidase and Thyroglobulin are blood tests used to detect thyroid antibodies to check for thyroid autoimmune disorders.

Also Known As: Thyroid Autoantibodies Test, Antithyroid Antibodies Test, Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody Test, Thyroperoxidase Antibody Test, TPO Test, Anti-TPO Test, Antithyroglobulin Antibody Test, TgAb Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Thyroid Peroxidase and Thyroglobulin Antibodies test ordered?

When a person has irregular TSH and/or free T4 test results, symptoms of low or high thyroid hormone levels, or the appearance of a goiter, testing may be performed, especially if the reason is considered to be an autoimmune condition.

Hypothyroidism can produce a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Gaining weight
  • Fatigue
  • Skin that is dry
  • Hair loss
  • Cold intolerance
  • Constipation

Hyperthyroidism can produce symptoms such as:

  • Sweating
  • Heart rate that is quite fast
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Fatigue
  • Sleeping problems 
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Eyes that protrude

If a pregnant woman has a known autoimmune thyroid illness, or if another autoimmune disorder is suspected, one or more thyroid antibodies may be ordered early in the pregnancy and again at the end. These tests are performed to see if the newborn is at risk for thyroid problems. Thyroid antibodies can pass the placenta, causing hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism in a newborn or developing kid.

Thyroid antibody testing may also be recommended if a person with another autoimmune condition has thyroid dysfunction symptoms and/or has reproductive problems that a healthcare provider suspects are caused by antibodies.

What does a Thyroid Peroxidase and Thyroglobulin Antibodies blood test check for?

Thyroid antibodies are antibodies that form when an individual's immune system incorrectly attacks the thyroid gland or thyroid protein components, causing chronic thyroid inflammation, tissue destruction, and/or thyroid function disruption. Specific thyroid antibodies in the blood are detected and quantified using laboratory techniques.

The thyroid gland is a tiny, butterfly-shaped gland in the throat that rests flat against the windpipe. Thyroxine and triiodothyronine, the two key hormones it generates, are critical in regulating the pace at which the body uses energy. Thyroid stimulating hormone stimulates the thyroid to generate T4 and T3 as needed by the body's feedback system. This mechanism aids in the maintenance of a reasonably constant level of thyroid hormones in the blood. Thyroid antibodies can cause chronic diseases and autoimmune disorders linked with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, such as Graves disease or Hashimoto thyroiditis, when they interfere with this process.

Thyroid antibody testing includes the following:

  • Thyroid peroxidase antibody
  • Thyroglobulin antibody

Lab tests often ordered with a Thyroid Peroxidase and Thyroglobulin Antibodies test:

  • T3 Free
  • T3 Total
  • T4 Free
  • T4 Total
  • T3 Reverse
  • T3 Uptake
  • TSH

Conditions where a Thyroid Peroxidase and Thyroglobulin Antibodies test is recommended:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hashimotos
  • Graves’ Disease
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Thyroid Cancer

Commonly Asked Questions:

How does my health care provider use a Thyroid Peroxidase and Thyroglobulin Antibodies test?

Thyroid antibodies, such as thyroid peroxidase antibody, are tested to assist diagnose and differentiate autoimmune thyroid disease from other types of thyroid failure. Thyroid antibodies form when a person's immune system mistakenly targets thyroid gland or thyroid protein components, causing chronic thyroid inflammation, tissue destruction, and/or thyroid function disruption.

To aid in the diagnosis and/or monitoring of an autoimmune thyroid condition, one or more of the following tests may be used:

  • Thyroid peroxidase antibody, an antibody that targets thyroid peroxidase enzyme in the thyroid gland, can be seen in Graves disease and Hashimoto thyroiditis.
  • Thyroglobulin antibody is an antibody that targets thyroglobulin, the thyroid hormone's storage form.

These tests may be conducted to determine the reason of an enlarged thyroid or other symptoms linked to low or high thyroid hormone levels. When other thyroid test findings, such as total or free T3, free T4, and/or TSH, indicate thyroid dysfunction, testing may be done as a follow-up.

A thyroid antibody test or several thyroid antibody tests may be conducted to see if a person with an autoimmune disorder is at risk of thyroid dysfunction. Disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and pernicious anemia can cause this.

A thyroglobulin test may be used to monitor someone who is being treated for thyroid cancer. The thyroglobulin antibody test is utilized in this scenario to see if the antibody is present in the person's blood and will interfere with the thyroglobulin level test.

What do my Thyroid Antibodies test results mean?

Negative test results show that thyroid antibodies were not detected in the blood at the time of testing, implying that symptoms are caused by anything other than autoimmune disease. However, antibodies are absent in a small number of persons with autoimmune thyroid disease. Repeat testing may be done at a later date if it is suspected that the antibodies will develop over time, as with several autoimmune illnesses.

Thyroid antibodies can be identified in a range of thyroid and autoimmune conditions, including thyroid cancer, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, pernicious anemia, and autoimmune collagen vascular diseases, with mild to moderately high levels.

Thyroid autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto thyroiditis and Graves disease are usually associated with significantly elevated amounts.

Thyroid antibodies, in general, indicate the presence of an autoimmune thyroid illness, and the higher the level, the more likely it is. Antibody levels that grow over time may be more relevant than steady levels because they may suggest an increase in the severity of autoimmune illness. All of these antibodies can increase the risk of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism in a growing baby or infant if they are present in a pregnant mother.

If a person with thyroid cancer has thyroglobulin antibodies, the testing for thyroglobulin levels may be hampered. This could suggest that the thyroglobulin test can't be utilized as a tumor marker or to track a person's thyroid cancer progression. The presence of thyroglobulin antibodies has little effect on some testing procedures, including mass spectrometry. The thyroglobulin test can be utilized as a tumor marker when tested in these methods, regardless of whether or not thyroglobulin antibodies are present. If a method is utilized that is impacted by thyroglobulin antibodies, the antibodies' levels can be used as a tumor marker to monitor thyroid cancer. If they first remain high or fall low but then rise over time, the treatment was ineffective and the malignancy is likely to continue or recur. If the levels are dropping and/or have dropped to low or undetectable levels, the therapy is more likely to have been successful in eradicating the malignancy.

Thyroid antibodies can be found in a small percentage of patients who are otherwise healthy. The incidence of these antibodies is higher in women, increases with age, and implies an increased risk of developing thyroid illness in the future for thyroid peroxidase antibodies. If a person has a thyroid antibody but no obvious thyroid disease, the healthcare professional will monitor the person's health over time. While the majority of people will never have thyroid problems, a small percentage will.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


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Description: A TSH test is a blood test that measures thyroid stimulating hormone levels in your blood’s serum and is used to screen for and monitor treatment of thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

Also Known As: Thyroid Stimulating Hormone Test, Thyrotropin Test, TSH test, Thyroid Test, TSH Screen Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a TSH test ordered?

When a person has symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, or an enlarged thyroid gland, a doctor may order a TSH test.

Hyperthyroidism can cause the following signs and symptoms:

  • Heart rate has increased.
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of weight
  • Sleeping problems
  • Hand tremors.
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Visual disturbances, light sensitivity
  • Puffiness around the eyes, dryness, discomfort, and, in some cases, bulging of the eyes are all possible side effects.

Hypothyroidism can cause the following signs and symptoms:

  • gaining weight
  • Skin that is dry
  • Constipation
  • Intolerance to the cold
  • Skin that is puffy
  • Hair loss is a common problem.
  • Fatigue
  • Women's menstrual irregularities

When a person is being treated for a thyroid disease, TSH may be ordered at regular intervals. The American Thyroid Association suggests waiting 6-8 weeks after changing a person's thyroid medication dose before testing their TSH level again.

In the United States, TSH screening is routinely performed on newborns shortly after birth as part of each state's newborn screening program.

What does a TSH blood test check for?

The pituitary gland, a small structure beneath the brain and beyond the sinus cavities, produces thyroid-stimulating hormone. TSH causes thyroxine and triiodothyronine to be released into the bloodstream by the thyroid gland. These thyroid hormones aid in the regulation of the body's energy usage. This test determines how much TSH is present in the blood.

The feedback mechanism that the body utilizes to maintain consistent quantities of thyroid hormones in the blood includes TSH and its regulatory hormone, thyrotropin releasing hormone, which comes from the hypothalamus. TSH synthesis by the pituitary gland increases as thyroid hormone concentrations fall. TSH stimulates the thyroid gland, a small butterfly-shaped gland that lays flat against the windpipe at the base of the throat, to produce and release T4 and T3. Thyroid production turns on and off to maintain generally steady levels of thyroid hormones in the blood when all three organs are operating regularly.

When the thyroid produces excessive amounts of T4 and T3, the affected person may have hyperthyroidism symptoms such as high heart rate, weight loss, agitation, hand tremors, itchy eyes, and difficulty sleeping. The most prevalent cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves disease. It is a chronic autoimmune condition in which the immune system creates antibodies that mimic TSH, causing the thyroid hormone to be produced in excessive levels. As a result, the pituitary gland may produce less TSH, resulting in a low blood level.

Weight gain, dry skin, constipation, cold intolerance, and weariness are all symptoms of hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid produces fewer thyroid hormones. In the United States, Hashimoto thyroiditis is the most prevalent cause of hypothyroidism. It's an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the thyroid, causing inflammation and destruction as well as the generation of autoantibodies. The thyroid generates low levels of thyroid hormone in Hashimoto thyroiditis. The pituitary gland may create more TSH, resulting in a high blood level.

TSH values, on the other hand, do not necessarily indicate or predict thyroid hormone levels. TSH is produced abnormally in some persons and does not work properly. Despite having normal or modestly increased TSH values, they frequently develop hypothyroidism. Thyroid hormone levels can be high or low in a variety of thyroid illnesses, regardless of the amount of TSH in the blood.

TSH levels may be elevated or lowered in rare cases due to pituitary dysfunction. In addition to pituitary dysfunction, an issue with the hypothalamus can cause hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

Lab tests often ordered with a TSH test:

  • T3 Free
  • T3 Total
  • T4 Free
  • T4 Total
  • T3 Reverse
  • T3 Uptake
  • Thyroid Peroxidase
  • Thyroglobulin Antibodies
  • Thyroid Panel

Conditions where a test TSH is recommended:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hashimotos
  • Graves’ Disease
  • Autoimmune Diseases
  • Thyroid Cancer

Commonly Asked Questions:

How does my health care provider use a TSH test?

Thyroid function and/or symptoms of a thyroid problem, such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, are frequently assessed with the thyroid-stimulating hormone test.

The pituitary gland, a small structure beneath the brain and beyond the sinus cavities, produces TSH. It's a part of the body's feedback system that keeps the thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine in check and helps regulate the pace at which the body burns calories.

TSH tests are typically ordered in conjunction with or before a free T4 test. A free T3 test and thyroid antibodies are two further thyroid tests that can be ordered. TSH, free T4, and free T3 are sometimes ordered as part of a thyroid panel.

TSH is used to:

  • Diagnose a thyroid issue in a patient who is experiencing symptoms.
  • Check newborns for an underactive thyroid.
  • Monitor thyroid replacement therapy.
  • Monitor treatment of hyperthyroidism that involves medication.
  • Assist women in diagnosing and monitoring infertility issues.
  • Assist in determining the pituitary gland's function
  • Screen adults for thyroid issues and diseases.

What does my TSH blood test result mean?

A high TSH level could indicate that:

  • The person being examined has an underactive thyroid gland that isn't responding well to TSH stimulation owing to acute or chronic thyroid dysfunction.
  • If a person has hypothyroidism or has had their thyroid gland removed, the dose of thyroid hormone replacement medicine may need to be changed.
  • A patient with hyperthyroidism is taking too much anti-thyroid medication, and the dosage needs to be reduced.
  • There is a problem with the pituitary gland, such as a tumor that causes TSH levels to be out of control.

A low TSH level could imply the following:

  • An overactive thyroid gland
  • Thyroid hormone prescription taken in excess by patients being treated for an underactive thyroid gland.
  • Inadequate medication in an individual being treated for hyperthyroidism; nevertheless, after successful anti-thyroid treatment, TSH production may take a time to recover. This is why the American Thyroid Association recommends testing for thyroid hormones as well as TSH levels throughout treatment.
  • The pituitary gland has been damaged, preventing it from releasing enough TSH.

An abnormal TSH result, whether high or low, suggests an excess or deficiency in the quantity of thyroid hormone available to the body, but does not pinpoint the cause for the abnormal result. Additional testing is frequently performed after an abnormal TSH test result to determine the reason of the increase or decrease.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


TSI stands for thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin. TSI tells the thyroid gland to swell and release excess amounts of thyroid hormone into the blood.

Description: Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity is a blood panel used to determine iron levels in your blood, your body’s ability to transport iron, and help diagnose iron-deficiency and iron overload.

Also Known As: Serum Iron Test, Serum Fe Test, Iron Binding Capacity Test, IBC Test, Serum Iron-Binding Capacity Siderophilin Test, TIBC Test, UIBC Test, Iron Lab Test, TIBC Blood test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity test ordered?

When a doctor feels that a person's symptoms are caused by iron overload or poisoning, an iron and TIBC test, as well ferritin assays, may be done. These may include the following:

  • Joint discomfort
  • Weakness and exhaustion
  • Energy deficiency
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Suffering from a lack of sexual desire
  • Problems with the heart

When a child is suspected of ingesting too many iron tablets, a serum iron test is required to detect the poisoning and to determine its severity.

A doctor may also request iron and TIBC when the results of a standard CBC test are abnormal, such as a low hematocrit or hemoglobin, or when a doctor suspects iron deficiency based on signs and symptoms such as:

  • Chronic tiredness/fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Headaches
  • Skin that is pale

What does a Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity blood test check for?

Iron is a necessary ingredient for survival. It is a vital component of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that binds and releases oxygen in the lungs and throughout the body. It is required in small amounts to help form normal red blood cells and is a critical part of hemoglobin, the protein in RBCs that binds oxygen in the lungs and releases it as blood circulates to other parts of the body.

By detecting numerous components in the blood, iron tests are ordered to determine the quantity of iron in the body. These tests are frequently ordered at the same time, and the data are analyzed together to determine the diagnosis and/or monitor iron deficiency or overload.

The level of iron in the liquid component of the blood is measured by serum iron.

Total iron-binding capacity is a measurement of all the proteins in the blood that may bind to iron, including transferrin.

The percentage of transferrin that has not yet been saturated is measured by the UIBC. Transferrin levels are also reflected in the UIBC.

Low iron levels can cause anemia, resulting in a decrease in the production of microcytic and hypochromic RBCs. Large amounts of iron, on the other hand, might be hazardous to the body. When too much iron is absorbed over time, iron compounds build up in tissues, particularly the liver, heart, and pancreas.

Normally, iron is absorbed from food and distributed throughout the body by binding to transferrin, a liver protein. About 70% of the iron delivered is used in the synthesis of hemoglobin in red blood cells. The rest is stored as ferritin or hemosiderin in the tissues, with minor amounts being utilized to make other proteins like myoglobin and enzymes.

Insufficient intake, limited absorption, or increased dietary requirements, as observed during pregnancy or with acute or chronic blood loss, are all signs of iron deficiency. Excessive intake of iron pills can cause acute iron overload, especially in children. Excessive iron intake, genetic hemochromatosis, multiple blood transfusions, and a few other disorders can cause chronic iron overload.

Lab tests often ordered with a Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity test:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • Ferritin
  • Transferrin
  • Zinc Protoporphyrin

Conditions where a Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity test is recommended:

  • Anemia
  • Hemochromatosis

How does my health care provider use a Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity test?

The amount of circulating iron in the blood, the capacity of the blood to carry iron, and the amount of stored iron in tissues can all be determined by ordering one or more tests. Testing can also assist distinguish between different types of anemia

The level of iron in the blood is measured by serum iron.

Total iron-binding capacity is a measurement of all the proteins in the blood that may bind to iron, including transferrin. The TIBC test is a useful indirect assessment of transferrin because it is the predominant iron-binding protein. In response to the requirement for iron, the body generates transferrin. Transferrin levels rise when iron levels are low, and vice versa. About one-third of the binding sites on transferrin are used to transport iron in healthy humans.

The reserve capacity of transferrin, or the part of transferrin that has not yet been saturated, is measured by UIBC. Transferrin levels are also reflected in the UIBC.

The iron test result, as well as TIBC or UIBC, are used to calculate transferrin saturation. It represents the proportion of transferrin that is iron-saturated.

Ferritin is the major storage protein for iron inside cells, and serum ferritin represents the quantity of stored iron in the body.

These tests are frequently ordered together, and the results can assist the doctor figure out what's causing the iron deficit or overload.

Additional information about iron

A balance between the quantity of iron received into the body and the amount of iron lost is required to maintain normal iron levels. Because a tiny quantity of iron is lost each day, a deficiency will develop if too little iron is consumed. In healthy persons, there is usually enough iron to prevent iron deficiency and/or iron deficiency anemia, unless they eat a bad diet. There is a greater need for iron in some circumstances. People who have persistent gut bleeding or women who have heavy menstrual periods lose more iron than they should and can develop iron deficiency. Females who are pregnant or breastfeeding lose iron to their babies and may develop an iron shortage if they do not consume enough supplemental iron. Children may require additional iron, especially during periods of rapid growth, and may suffer iron shortage.

Low serum iron can also arise when the body is unable to adequately utilize iron. The body cannot correctly utilize iron to generate additional red cells in many chronic disorders, particularly malignancies, autoimmune diseases, and chronic infections. As a result, transferrin production slows, serum iron levels drop because little iron is absorbed from the stomach, and ferritin levels rise. Malabsorption illnesses like sprue syndrome can cause iron deficiency.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


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Description: Iron is a blood test used to determine iron levels in your blood, your body’s ability to transport iron, and help diagnose iron-deficiency and iron overload.

Also Known As: Serum Iron Test, Serum Fe Test, Iron Total Test, IBC Test, Iron Lab Test, Iron Blood test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: The patient should be fasting 9-12 hours prior to collection and collection should be done in the morning.

When is an Iron Total test ordered?

When a doctor feels that a person's symptoms are caused by iron overload or poisoning, an iron test, as well ferritin assays, may be done. These may include the following:

  • Joint discomfort
  • Weakness and exhaustion
  • Energy deficiency
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Suffering from a lack of sexual desire
  • Problems with the heart

When a child is suspected of ingesting too many iron tablets, a serum iron test is required to detect the poisoning and to determine its severity.

A doctor may also request iron testing when the results of a standard CBC test are abnormal, such as a low hematocrit or hemoglobin, or when a doctor suspects iron deficiency based on signs and symptoms such as:

  • Chronic tiredness/fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Headaches
  • Skin that is pale

What does an Iron Total blood test check for?

Iron is a necessary ingredient for survival and is a critical component of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that binds oxygen in the lungs and releases it to other parts of the body. It is required in small amounts to help form normal red blood cells and is a critical part of hemoglobin, the protein in RBCs that binds oxygen in the lungs and releases it as blood circulates to other parts of the body.

By detecting numerous components in the blood, iron tests are ordered to determine the quantity of iron in the body. These tests are frequently ordered at the same time, and the data are analyzed together to determine the diagnosis and/or monitor iron deficiency or overload.

The level of iron in the liquid component of the blood is measured by serum iron.

Low iron levels can cause anemia, resulting in a decrease in the production of microcytic and hypochromic RBCs. Large amounts of iron, on the other hand, might be hazardous to the body. When too much iron is absorbed over time, iron compounds build up in tissues, particularly the liver, heart, and pancreas.

Normally, iron is absorbed from food and distributed throughout the body by binding to transferrin, a liver protein. About 70% of the iron delivered is used in the synthesis of hemoglobin in red blood cells. The rest is stored as ferritin or hemosiderin in the tissues, with minor amounts being utilized to make other proteins like myoglobin and enzymes.

Insufficient intake, limited absorption, or increased dietary requirements, as observed during pregnancy or with acute or chronic blood loss, are all signs of iron deficiency. Excessive intake of iron pills can cause acute iron overload, especially in children. Excessive iron intake, genetic hemochromatosis, multiple blood transfusions, and a few other disorders can cause chronic iron overload.

Lab tests often ordered with an Iron Total test:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • Ferritin
  • Transferrin
  • Zinc Protoporphyrin

Conditions where an Iron Total test is recommended:

  • Anemia
  • Hemochromatosis

How does my health care provider use an Iron Total test?

The amount of circulating iron in the blood, the capacity of the blood to carry iron, and the amount of stored iron in tissues can all be determined by ordering one or more tests. Testing can also assist distinguish between different types of anemia

The level of iron in the blood is measured by serum iron.

Total iron-binding capacity is a measurement of all the proteins in the blood that may bind to iron, including transferrin. The TIBC test is a useful indirect assessment of transferrin because it is the predominant iron-binding protein. In response to the requirement for iron, the body generates transferrin. Transferrin levels rise when iron levels are low, and vice versa. About one-third of the binding sites on transferrin are used to transport iron in healthy humans.

The reserve capacity of transferrin, or the part of transferrin that has not yet been saturated, is measured by UIBC. Transferrin levels are also reflected in the UIBC.

The iron test result, as well as TIBC or UIBC, are used to calculate transferrin saturation. It represents the proportion of transferrin that is iron-saturated.

Ferritin is the major storage protein for iron inside cells, and serum ferritin represents the quantity of stored iron in the body.

These tests are frequently ordered together, and the results can assist the doctor figure out what's causing the iron deficit or overload.

Additional information about iron

A balance between the quantity of iron received into the body and the amount of iron lost is required to maintain normal iron levels. Because a tiny quantity of iron is lost each day, a deficiency will develop if too little iron is consumed. In healthy persons, there is usually enough iron to prevent iron deficiency and/or iron deficiency anemia, unless they eat a bad diet. There is a greater need for iron in some circumstances. People who have persistent gut bleeding or women who have heavy menstrual periods lose more iron than they should and can develop iron deficiency. Females who are pregnant or breastfeeding lose iron to their babies and may develop an iron shortage if they do not consume enough supplemental iron. Children may require additional iron, especially during periods of rapid growth, and may suffer iron shortage.

Low serum iron can also arise when the body is unable to adequately utilize iron. The body cannot correctly utilize iron to generate additional red cells in many chronic disorders, particularly malignancies, autoimmune diseases, and chronic infections. As a result, transferrin production slows, serum iron levels drop because little iron is absorbed from the stomach, and ferritin levels rise. Malabsorption illnesses like sprue syndrome can cause iron deficiency.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


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Description: A Ferritin test is a blood test that measures Ferritin levels in your blood’s serum to evaluate the level of iron stored in your body.

Also Known As: Ferritin Serum Test, Ferritin Test, Ferritin Blood Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Ferritin test ordered?

When a CBC test’s implies iron deficiency anemia due to small red blood cells or low hematocrit and hemoglobin levels, the ferritin test, and other iron tests, may be requested, even if other clinical symptoms have not yet arisen.

There are frequently no physical symptoms in the early stages of iron insufficiency. Symptoms rarely develop before hemoglobin falls below dangerous levels. However, when the iron deficit continues, symptoms emerge, prompting a doctor to order ferritin and other iron-related testing. The following are the most prevalent symptoms of iron deficiency anemia:

  • Chronic tiredness/fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Skin that is pale

Shortness of breath, ringing in the ears, sleepiness, and irritability may occur as iron levels are reduced. Chest pain, headaches, limb pains, shock, and even heart failure may occur as the anemia worsens. Learning impairments can occur in children. There are some symptoms that are specific to iron deficiency, in addition to the usual signs of anemia. Pica, a burning feeling in the tongue or a smooth tongue, ulcers at the corners of the mouth, and spoon-shaped finger- and toe-nails are only a few of the symptoms.

When iron overload is suspected, a ferritin level may be requested. Iron overload symptoms differ from person to person and tend to worsen over time. They are caused by an excess of iron in the blood and tissues. Among the signs and symptoms are:

  • Joint discomfort
  • Weakness and exhaustion
  • Loss of weight
  • Energy deficiency
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Suffering from a lack of sexual desire
  • Hair loss on the body
  • Congestive heart failure is an example of a cardiac issue

Other iron tests including a genetic test for hereditary hemochromatosis may be conducted to confirm the existence of iron excess.

What does a Ferritin blood test check for?

Ferritin is an iron-containing protein that stores iron in cells in its most basic form. The amount of total iron stored in the body is reflected in the little amount of ferritin released into the blood. This test determines how much ferritin is present in the blood.

About 70% of the iron consumed by the body is integrated into the hemoglobin of red blood cells in healthy humans. The remaining 30% is stored primarily as ferritin or hemosiderin, which is a combination of iron, proteins, and other elements. Hemosiderin and ferritin are typically found in the liver, although they can also be found in the bone marrow, spleen, and skeletal muscles.

Iron stores are depleted and ferritin levels fall when available iron is insufficient to meet the body's needs. This can happen owing to a lack of iron, poor absorption, or an increased need for iron, such as during pregnancy or if you have a condition that causes persistent blood loss. Before any indicators of iron shortage appear, significant loss of iron reserves may occur.

When the body absorbs more iron than it needs, iron storage and ferritin levels rise. Chronic iron absorption causes a gradual buildup of iron compounds in organs, which can eventually lead to organ malfunction and failure. Even on a typical diet, this happens in hemochromatosis, a hereditary disorder in which the body absorbs too much iron.

Lab tests often ordered with a Ferritin test:

  • Complete Blood Count
  • Iron Total
  • Iron Total and Total Iron binding capacity
  • Transferrin
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • Lipid Panel
  • Zinc Protoporphyrin

Conditions where a Ferritin test is recommended:

  • Anemia
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Lead poisoning
  • Pregnancy
  • Restless Leg Syndrome

How does my health care provider use a Ferritin test?

The ferritin test is used to determine the amount of iron a person has in their body. To determine the existence and severity of iron shortage or iron overload, the test is sometimes ordered in conjunction with an iron test and a TIBC test.

One source of iron overload can be the use of iron supplements.

What does my ferritin lab test result mean?

Ferritin levels are frequently measured alongside other iron tests.

Ferritin levels are low in iron deficient people and high in people who have hemochromatosis or have had several blood transfusions.

Ferritin is an acute phase reactant that can be elevated in persons who have inflammation, liver illness, chronic infection, autoimmune disorders, or cancer. Ferritin isn't commonly utilized to detect or monitor these problems.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


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Description: Transferrin is a blood test used to measure the amount of transferrin in the blood's serum. It is used to evaluate if there is a proper amount of iron being transport throughout the body. A test called Total Iron Binding Capacity, or TIBC, will tell you how much of that transferrin is capable of transporting, or binding to the iron in the blood.

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: Fasting for at least 12 hours is required

When is a Transferrin test ordered?

When a doctor wants to analyze or monitor a person's nutritional health, a transferrin test may be ordered along with additional tests like prealbumin.

What does a Transferrin blood test check for?

The primary protein in the blood that bonds to iron and transfers it across the body is transferrin. Total iron binding capacity, unsaturated iron binding capacity, and transferrin saturation are all measures of how much transferrin is available to bind to and transport iron.

The transferrin serum test, along with TIBC, UIBC, and transferrin saturation, measures the blood's ability to bind and transport iron, and is an indicator of iron storage.

Lab tests often ordered with a Transferrin test:

  • Iron Total
  • Iron Total and Total Iron Binding Capacity
  • Ferritin
  • Complete Blood Count (CBC)
  • Hemoglobin
  • Hematocrit
  • Reticulocyte Count

Conditions where a Transferrin test is recommended:

  • Iron Deficiency Anemia
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Liver Disease
  • Malnutrition

How does my health care provider use a Transferrin test?

When assessing a person's nutritional state or liver function, a transferrin test is commonly performed. Transferrin will be low in people with liver disease because it is produced in the liver. Transferrin levels fall when there isn't enough protein in the diet, so this test is used to keep track of your diet.

What do my transferrin test results mean?

The findings of transferrin testing are frequently compared to the results of other iron tests.

If you have the following conditions, you may have a low transferrin level:

  • Hemochromatosis
  • Anemia caused by a build-up of iron in the body can cause a variety of symptoms.
  • Malnutrition
  • Inflammation
  • Hepatitis
  • A kidney ailment that causes protein loss in the urine such as nephrotic syndrome

When there is an iron deficit, transferrin saturation decreases, and when there is an overabundance of iron, such as in iron overload or poisoning, it increases.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.


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Description: A Calcium test is a blood test that is used to screen for, diagnose, and monitor a wide range of medical conditions.

Also Known As: Ca Test, Serum Calcium Test, Calcium Blood Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: No preparation required

When is a Calcium test ordered?

A blood calcium test is frequently requested during a general medical evaluation. It's usually part of the comprehensive metabolic panel or the basic metabolic panel, two sets of tests that can be done during an initial evaluation or as part of a routine medical checks.

Many people do not experience symptoms of high or low calcium until their levels are dangerously high or low.

When a person has certain types of cancer, kidney illness, or has had a kidney transplant, calcium monitoring may be required. When someone is being treated for abnormal calcium levels, monitoring may be required to determine the effectiveness of medications such as calcium or vitamin D supplements.

What does a Calcium blood test check for?

Calcium is one of the most plentiful and vital minerals in the human body. It is required for cell signaling as well as the proper operation of muscles, nerves, and the heart. Calcium is essential for blood clotting as well as bone growth, density, and maintenance. This test determines how much calcium is present in the blood.

Calcium is found complexed in the bones for 99 percent of the time, while the remaining 1% circulates in the blood. Calcium levels are closely monitored; if too little is absorbed or consumed, or if too much is lost through the kidney or stomach, calcium is removed from bone to keep blood concentrations stable. Approximately half of the calcium in the blood is metabolically active and "free." The other half is "bound" to albumin, with a minor proportion complexed to anions like phosphate, and both of these forms are metabolically inactive.

Blood calcium can be measured using two different tests. The free and bound forms of calcium are measured in the total calcium test. Only the free, physiologically active form of calcium is measured in the ionized calcium test.

Lab tests often ordered with a Calcium test:

  • Phosphorus
  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium
  • PTH
  • Albumin
  • Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)

Conditions where a Calcium test is recommended:

  • Kidney Disease
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Alcoholism
  • Malnutrition
  • Parathyroid Diseases
  • Breast Cancer
  • Multiple Myeloma

How does my health care provider use a Calcium test?

A blood calcium test is used to screen for, diagnose, and monitor a variety of bone, heart, nerve, kidney, and tooth disorders. If a person has signs of a parathyroid disease, malabsorption, or an overactive thyroid, the test may be ordered.

A total calcium level is frequently checked as part of a standard health check. It's part of the comprehensive metabolic panel and the basic metabolic panel, which are both collections of tests used to diagnose or monitor a range of ailments.

When a total calcium result is abnormal, it is interpreted as a sign of an underlying disease. Additional tests to assess ionized calcium, urine calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin D, parathyroid hormone, and PTH-related peptide are frequently performed to assist determine the underlying problem. PTH and vitamin D are in charge of keeping calcium levels in the blood within a narrow range of values.

Measuring calcium and PTH combined can assist identify whether the parathyroid glands are functioning normally if the calcium is abnormal. Testing for vitamin D, phosphorus, and/or magnesium can assist evaluate whether the kidneys are excreting the right amount of calcium, and measuring urine calcium can help detect whether additional deficits or excesses exist. The balance of these many compounds is frequently just as critical as their concentrations.

The total calcium test is the most common test used to determine calcium status. Because the balance between free and bound calcium is usually constant and predictable, it is a reliable reflection of the quantity of free calcium present in the blood in most cases. However, the balance between bound and free calcium is altered in some persons, and total calcium is not a good indicator of calcium status. Ionized calcium measurement may be required in certain cases. Critically sick patients, those receiving blood transfusions or intravenous fluids, patients undergoing major surgery, and persons with blood protein disorders such low albumin are all candidates for ionized calcium testing.

What do my Calcium test results mean?

The amount of calcium circulating in the blood is not the same as the amount of calcium in the bones.

A feedback loop including PTH and vitamin D regulates and stabilizes calcium uptake, utilization, and excretion. Conditions and disorders that disturb calcium control can induce abnormal acute or chronic calcium elevations or declines, resulting in hypercalcemia or hypocalcemia symptoms.

Total calcium is usually tested instead of ionized calcium since it is easier to do and requires no additional treatment of the blood sample. Because the free and bound forms of calcium make up about half of the total, total calcium is usually a decent depiction of free calcium. Because nearly half of the calcium in blood is bonded to protein, high or low protein levels might alter total calcium test findings. In these circumstances, an ionized calcium test is more appropriate for measuring free calcium.

A normal total or ionized calcium test, when combined with other normal laboratory findings, indicates that a person's calcium metabolism is normal and blood levels are properly managed.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.



Early Intervention can Slow Osteoporosis. Get the Information you Need With an Osteoporosis Test.

Osteoporosis is a common condition that afflicts millions of Americans each year. If undetected, osteoporosis can make sufferers more susceptible to debilitating bone fractures. Early diagnostic testing can enable individuals to take steps to manage their osteoporosis, potentially reducing the rate of decline. 

Here we look at what osteoporosis is, alongside consideration of the lab tests that can be used to diagnose it.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is the process of reducing bone density. Osteoporosis can occur in any bone in the body. For a variety of reasons (some of which are discussed below), the normal reabsorption of bone cells by osteoclasts (specialist cells) isn't matched by the production of fresh bone cells from osteoblasts. The result is a net reduction in bone density.

About Osteoporosis

Osteopenia, or bone density, is the pre-cursor to osteoporosis.  Osteopenia is diagnosed when bone density tests show an individual has a lower bone density than average for their age, but not so low that they are suffering from osteoporosis. Osteopenia doesn't invariably lead to osteoporosis. If caught and treated, osteopenia can be slowed.

The loss of bone density is a natural process, which can be accelerated by various pathologies. Bone density starts to naturally decline from the 30s onward. It occurs in both genders but is usually more pronounced in post-menopausal women. The fact that there are no symptoms of osteoporosis in the early stages makes it difficult to spot.

Risk Factors for Osteoporosis

Several natural and pathological risk factors increase the chances of developing osteoporosis. Some of these include:

  • Being post-menopausal. Estrogen regulates bone development and keeps bone health high. As estrogen levels decline during menopause, osteoporotic processes are accelerated.
  • Having a low BMI
  • Not exercising regularly.
  • Some medical conditions (including absorption, hormonal and inflammatory conditions).
  • Long-term steroid use.
  • The long-term use of some medicines.
  • A family history of osteoporosis.
  • Heavy drinking or substance misuse.
  • Having suffered from anorexia or bulimia.

Causes of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is primarily caused by a lack of calcium. This may be due to individuals not ingesting sufficient calcium, or it may be due to physiological factors that prevent the calcium from being absorbed and utilized by the body.

Signs and Symptoms of Osteoporosis

There are no outward signs of osteopenia, which is the less severe loss of bone density that can precede osteoporosis. Without diagnostic testing, the first sign that many people have that they have developed osteoporosis is when they fracture a bone. 

Some sufferers from osteoporosis develop a pronounced hump on their back (a kyphosis). This is due to multiple mini fractures of the spinal vertebrae, meaning they're no longer able to hold the head and neck erect.

Testing for osteoporosis is the only way of reliably determining whether you have the condition.

Lab Tests for Osteoporosis

Lab testing aims to try to identify the processes that are contributing to the loss of bone density. Whilst bone density loss can be measured using imaging techniques, lab testing is needed to provide answers to the question of why bone density loss is occurring.

Lab Tests Include:

Osteoporosis FAQs

What to eat to beat osteoporosis?

Generally, nutritionists recommend eating a healthy, balanced diet that's rich in calcium and Vitamin D. Calcium is found in dairy foods, green, leafy vegetables, soy products, nuts, tofu, and oily fish. Vitamin D is normally obtained by getting sufficient sunlight. It's also found in oily fish, eggs (the yolk), and fortified foods.

What exercise should I do to manage my osteoporosis?

Weight-bearing and strength training are the go-to exercises to help maintain bone density. It's also worth exercising to improve balance and flexibility - exercises such as tai chi, yoga, and Pilates can improve balance, making a fall (which could result in a fracture in those with low bone density) less likely.

Can I take medications for osteoporosis?

Some medications can improve bone density and/or prevent further decline. They may include:

  • Bisphosphonates
  • Selective estrogen receptor modulators.
  • Testosterone treatment
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
  • Parathyroid hormone
  • Vitamin D and Calcium supplements

Your primary care provider will be able to discuss drug options with you as part of your osteoporosis care plan.

Can osteoporosis be reversed?

With appropriate lifestyle changes alongside drug therapy, it's often possible to prevent further bone density loss or significantly slow the loss rate.

Unfortunately, it's not usually possible to reverse any osteoporotic changes that have already occurred. Therefore, prompt testing is recommended so that changes can be caught early on before the condition becomes too severe. 

Lab Testing for Osteoporosis FAQs

What's tested at a lab?

A blood sample is required for lab tests that assist in determining potential causes or risk factors for osteoporosis.

Is a lab test all that's needed to diagnose osteoporosis?

No - if your lab test results suggest you have a condition that predisposes you to osteoporosis, we recommend that you get an imaging test (such as a central DXA (Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) to get a bone density score. The bone density score will determine the degree of osteopenia or osteoporosis you're suffering from.

Benefits of Osteoporosis Lab Testing With Ulta Lab Tests

Blood testing is one of the best ways to find out if you have Osteoporosis. Ulta Lab Tests provides a platform for you to order highly accurate and reliable lab tests directly from Quest Diagnostics. Our Osteoporosis lab panels are structured to include a group of tests to detect, monitor, and track your bone health.

By getting tested with Ulta Lab Tests, you can take control of your health and make informed decisions while monitoring the changes in your health.

Our testing is secure and includes confidential results available without insurance or referrals and is very affordable. They're also 100% guaranteed to satisfy. Order your blood tests today, and your results will be provided to you securely and confidentially online in 24 to 48 hours for most tests.

Take charge of your health and track your progress with Ulta Lab Tests!