What Blood Tests Are Used to Screen and Diagnose Hyperthyroidism?
In 2019, 90's pop star Denise Richards received an email from a fan telling her they noticed a goiter on her neck.
No Hollywood starlet wants to be told she has a lumpy neck, but Richards expressed gratitude for her fan's keen eyes and quickly had her thyroid tested.
Rarely do we have such a gift of a bump or adoring fan to tell us about thyroid problems. But we do have blood tests that can indicate a problem with certainty.
Keep reading to learn about the common problem of hyperthyroidism, its symptoms, and the tests that indicate whether or not you have it.
What Is the Thyroid's Job?
The thyroid is a sort of general in the army of organs in your body. When it malfunctions, many things malfunction. So you might think you just have poor circulation and difficulty staying warm, but you actually may have a misbehaving thyroid.
Thyroids play a major role in your metabolism, affect your growth and development.
Your thyroid sits in front of your throat with two different lobes on either side of the windpipe. It has a right lobe and left lobe with a small strip of tissue connecting it over the windpipe.
The thyroid does its job by producing three different hormones:
- Tetraiodothyronine, commonly known as T4 or thyroxine
- Triiodothyronine referred to as called T3
The thyroid gland works in conjunction with the pituitary gland to produce the right amount of each hormone at the right time since we don't need the same type and amount of hormones all the time.
T3 and T4 are responsible for the body's basal metabolic rate. These hormones make cells work harder so that the cells need more energy. As a result, your body temperature rises, your heart rate increases, you use food more quickly, children's brains mature, children grow, and you have an activated nervous system which allows you to concentrate and react more quickly.
The thyroid does so much. So when it malfunctions, it affects many different processes.
What is Hyperthyroidism?
One of the major problems that commonly occur in the thyroid is hyperthyroidism. In the United States, around 1.2 percent of people have hyperthyroidism. This means at least one of one-hundred people suffer from this problem.
Hyperthyroidism is also known as an overactive thyroid. So instead of producing just enough hormones, your thyroid begins to produce too many thyroid hormones, more than than you need.
Untreated, hyperthyroidism leads to serious problems with muscles, bones, fertility, the heart, and the menstrual cycle. If a mother is suffering from hyperthyroidism during pregnancy, the disorder can affect her and her baby.
A Hyperthyroidism Guide
These are common signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism. You do not have to have all of the symptoms to have the disorder, but the more you have, the more likely you are to have hyperthyroidism.
- Weight loss: If you find yourself losing weight with no logical reason, take note. Pay attention to if your intake has changed at all, be it the quality or quantity of food. Unintentional weight loss is a red flag for hyperthyroidism.
- Increased appetite: Your thyroid is in overdrive when you have hyperthyroidism. Since your thyroid controls your metabolism, your metabolism is in overdrive, and your body will be metabolizing what you eat at a rapid rate. Thus you will find yourself with an increased appetite, hungry all the time, but not gaining weight.
- Pounding heart: Pounding heartbeats make sense when you're in trouble, but if you experience palpitations when you're resting or not doing something stressful, take note. Anything from stress to exercise to medication can trigger them, but so can hyperthyroidism.
- Rapid heart rate: Have you experienced a rapid heartbeat of more than 100 beats a minute? This is also a symptom of an overactive thyroid. A healthy resting heart rate should be between 60 and 100 beats a minute, so if you find yourself resting with a rapid heartbeat, take note.
- Irregular heartbeat: An irregular heartbeat is also known as an arrhythmia. This occurs when your heart skips a beat or adds a beat at random intervals.
- Nervousness, anxiety, and irritability: Your thyroid hormone speeds up your body, so this means it speeds up your metabolism and makes your entire sympathetic nervous system more active. You'll end up with the signs of anxiety such as nervous tremors or shaking, sweating, irritability, sleeplessness, and the aforementioned heart palpitations. You'll wonder if you've developed anxiety when in fact you might just need mediation for your overactive thyroid.
- Sweating: That thyroid controls so much. When it messes with your central nervous system, you'll find yourself warm all the time and sweating for no reason. Your entire system is in overdrive.
- Tremors: Because the thyroid speeds up your nervous system, you may find yourself with unexplained hand tremors if you have hyperthyroidism.
- Changes in menstrual patterns: The hormones the thyroid produces regulate many of the body's functions, including menstrual cycles. So if your thyroid is overproducing, you end up with changes in menstrual patterns such as more frequent cycles.
- Increased sensitivity to heat: Because your metabolism is running at 110 percent, you will find yourself more sensitive to heat if you have hyperthyroidism. You will be warmer more often at lower temperatures than normal. So if you find yourself constantly checking to make sure the AC is low enough, beware.
- Changes in bowel patterns: Imagine that everything is moving faster in your body with hyperthyroidism. Your metabolism is supercharged, you're eating more, so it's only logical that you have more frequent bowel movements. Your bowels themselves are stimulated to work more efficiently, and, you're taking in more food, so there's more waste to get rid of.
- An enlarged thyroid gland: Extra hormones can cause your thyroid to swell visibly. You may develop a knob also known as a goiter at the base of your neck. This is the most visible sign of hyperthyroidism.
- Fatigue and muscle weakness: Initially when you develop hyperthyroidism, you feel a burst of energy, which makes sense since your thyroid is overproducing hormones. But eventually, hyperthyroidism will wear you down, making you feel zapped and weak.
- Difficulty sleeping: Because your thyroid is in overdrive, you will feel anxious, jumpy, and jittery. This feeling will make sleeping difficult, and the cycle of anxiety will continue into the next day.
- Skin thinning: As the hyperthyroidism develops, you'll see your skin begin to thin to the point that you develop bruises and sores easily. A small bump against a counter can lead to a bruise or blood-producing scratch.
- Fine, brittle hair: Yes, your thyroid even affects your hair production. You may begin to lose hair. What hair you have left will break easily because of its fine, brittle nature.
These are common signs in younger adults. Older adults are more likely to have either no signs or symptoms or subtle ones, such as an increased heart rate, heat intolerance, and a tendency to become tired during ordinary activities.
While hyperthyroidism may seem somewhat random, there are risk factors that make you a more or less likely candidate for the disorder. Risk factors for hyperthyroidism, include the following elements:
- A family history of hyperthyroidism or Graves' disease: Graves' disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to produce antibodies that overstimulate your thyroid. As a result, the thyroid produces too much T4.
- Female sex: For some reason, women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems, including hyperthyroidism.
- A personal history of specific chronic illnesses: If you have a family history of pernicious anemia, type 1 diabetes, and primary adrenal insufficiency, in particular, you have a higher risk of developing hyperthyroidism.
Even if you do not have these risk factors in your history, you can develop hyperthyroidism. Be aware of the symptoms and signs mentioned before.
Serum and BloodTests for Hyperthyroidism
There is good news about hyperthyroidism. You can detect it pretty easily with a simple test.
Basic hyperthyroid tests will require a blood sample. With our company, you order the test online, get your blood drawn at an approved patient center, and wait for results. You receive results via email, but you can also see them on your private and secure healthcare dashboard.
These are the tests that we provide which test for hyperthyroidism.
- TSH: This test looks for two biomarkers and is a serum specimen type test. It takes one to two days on average to process and costs $21.
- T3 Reverse, LC/MS/MS: This test checks one biomarker and uses a serum specimen type. It takes an average of four to five days to process and costs $34.
- T3 Total: This test takes one to two days to process. It tests 1 biomarker and costs $23. It is essential for recognizing T3 toxicosis.
- T3, Free: This test diagnoses hyperthyroidism and also clarifies thyroid status if you have a protein binding abnormality. It tests one biomarker and costs $25.
- T4 (Thyroxine), Total: This test diagnoses both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. You have to order the T3 Uptake test as well for this test to be calculated and reported. It tests two biomarkers and costs $19.
- T4 Free (FT4): The T4 Free evaluates thyroid function, helping you see both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Typically you need to order this test with the TSH test to help you see if your thyroid is functioning as it should. The test uses one biomarker, takes one to two days to process, and costs $24.
- Thyroglobulin Antibodies: This test measures thyroglobulin antibodies and can help detect thyroid disorders including types of goiters, Graves Disease, and Hashimoto's thyroiditis. It uses one biomarker, takes two to three days to process, and costs $34.
- Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPO): This test helps diagnose endemic goiter, Graves Disease, autoimmune thyroiditis, Addison's Disease, Insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, Hashimoto's Disease, and polyendocrine autoimmunopathies. It uses one biomarker, takes two to three days to process, and costs $31.
- TRAb (TSH Receptor Binding Antibody): This test uses one biomarker to measure Thyrotropin Binding Inhibit Immunoglobulin, or TBII, to diagnose and manage Graves' Disease, Neonatal Hypothyroidism, and Postpartum Thyroid Dysfunction. It costs $128.
- TSI (Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulin): This test uses one biomarker and takes an average of four to five days to process. It costs $!29. It tests the level of thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin needed to determine thyroid problems.
- CBC (includes Differential and Platelets): This test uses ten biomarkers to determine problems. It costs $12.95 and takes one to two days to process.
- Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP): True to its name, this test comprehensively tests twenty biomarkers to determine problems. It costs $19.95 and takes one to two days to process.
- Hemoglobin A1c (HgbA1C): This test assists diabetic patients with their blood glucose levels. It costs $22 and takes four to five days to process.
- Iron and Total Iron Binding Capacity (TIBC): Doctors use this test to check three biomarkers and determine if you're suffering from iron-deficiency anemia or hemochromatosis. The test takes one to two days to process and costs $22.
- Lipid Panel with Ratios: This $21 test uses seven biomarkers to determine total cholesterol. It measures all the lipoprotein particles.
- Vitamin D 25-Hydroxyvitamin D (D2, D3): This test has four biomarkers, costs $39, and takes three to four days to process. It measures the serum 25-OH Vitamine D concentrations. If a patient has a good circulation of vitamin D activity, they are not suffering from renal disease.
- Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): This test uses two biomarkers and costs $38. It tests levels of B12 (Cobalamin) and Folate, and it takes one to two days to process.
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxal Phosphate): This test will detect a vitamin B6 deficiency, indicating a metabolic disorder. B6 deficiency negatively affects the immune system. This test uses two biomarkers, costs $59, and takes four to five days to process.
Each of these tests determines a different element of hyperthyroidism. Best of all, you do not need a doctor to order a thyroid test. You can order your test, have your blood drawn, and receive the results all on your own.
Fast Results For a Fast Thyroid
For all of your testing needs, hyperthyroidism and others, contact us. We'd love to help you save some money and receive fast results.