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THYROID PANEL WITH TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)

Also Known As: Thyroid Test, Thyroid Function Test

What Is A Thyroid Panel With TSH Test?

A Thyroid Panel with a TSH test uses your blood sample to analyze the functioning thyroid gland. This thyroid panel is also essential in diagnosing and monitoring the treatment of thyroid-related disorders. Since it is a panel test, the procedure involves multiple measurements to obtain a detailed understanding of how well your thyroid gland is working.

TSH stands for thyroid-stimulating hormone. Therefore this test is a blood test that helps measure this hormone in your body. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland present near your throat. Your thyroid makes hormones responsible for controlling the way your body utilizes energy. It also plays a crucial role in maintaining your weight, body temperature, mood, and even muscle strength. Thyroid-stimulating hormone is produced in a gland of your brain called the pituitary gland. If the thyroid levels in your body are low, your pituitary gland will start to make more thyroid-stimulating hormones. However, if the thyroid levels are high, the pituitary gland will synthesize less TSH.

It is important to note that both high or low TSH levels can indicate an underlying medical condition and that your thyroid is not working properly.

What Is The Test Used For?

The Thyroid Panel with TSH test is basically used to see how your thyroid gland is functioning/ it is a series of blood tests that helps measure the severity of thyroid-related disorders and the amount of thyroid hormone in the blood. Thyroid hormones are chemical substances responsible for regulating metabolism and energy utilization. This test usually involves the following:

  • T4 or Thyroxine, i.e., the total amount of T4 hormone produced by the thyroid in the blood
  • T3 uptake, i.e., triiodothyronine or T3 hormone produced by the thyroid gland
  • T7 or free Thyroxine index used to estimate free T4 in the blood
  • TSH or thyroid-stimulating hormone, i.e., a hormone generated by the pituitary gland to regulate the release of thyroid hormones where T3 and T4 levels are high or low

Why And When Do You Need A Thyroid Panel With TSH Test?

The testing can be ordered by your doctor or health care professional if you are experiencing symptoms of thyroid disease. Too much thyroid hormone or hyperthyroidism can speed up your metabolism, the symptoms of which include:

  • Changes in your menstrual cycle
  • Sudden or unexplained weight loss
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Weakness, tiredness, or constant fatigue
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • Regular or rapid heartbeat/heart palpitations
  • Sleep problems
  • Enlarged thyroid gland or goiter in the neck
  • Thin and brittle hair
  • Skin thinning
  • Tremors or shaky hands

When there is too little thyroid hormone, it can lead to hypothyroidism. This condition can slow down your metabolism, so look for the following symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Constant tiredness
  • Weight gain
  • Slow heart rate
  • Muscle weakness
  • Enlarged thyroid gland or goiter
  • Feeling cold
  • Forgetfulness
  • Constipation
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Dry skin
  • Irregular or heavier than normal periods

You are at an increased risk for thyroid disorders if you are:

  • A female
  • Older than 60 years
  • Have an autoimmune condition like Type 1 Diabetes
  • Have a family history of thyroid disorder autoimmune disorder
  • Pregnant
  • Consume certain medications
  • Have received radiation on the neck or upper chest

What Kind Of Sample Is Required For The Test?

For a thyroid panel test, you are required to give your blood sample. Lab testing includes using a needle to pull a small amount of blood from a vein in your arm. This procedure can occur in your doctor's office, hospital, or other lab settings. In most cases, a doctor orders this test, but sometimes it is automatically done by the lab on the blood sample if the initial evaluation shows abnormal levels of TSH.

Do You Need To Prepare For The Test?

You don't need any special preparations before going for a thyroid panel with a TSH test. However, if your doctor or health caregiver has ordered some other tests, you need to fast for several hours and stop taking certain medications as per the special instructions.

Are There Any Risks To This Test?

A blood draw is a routine procedure with minimal risks involved. Immediately after the blood draw, you might notice slight soreness or bruising at the area where the needle was inserted. Putting on an ice pack or using an over-the-counter pain reliever is better to ease the discomfort.

What Do The Test Results Mean?

More than a normal range of thyroid hormone levels can indicate hyperthyroidism, where your thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone. These test results below the normal level demonstrate hypothyroidism or decreased thyroid hormone production in the body. Compared to TSH levels, thyroid hormone levels can help understand if this imbalance is due to your pituitary gland or a diseased thyroid.

Your thyroid hormone levels can differ and fluctuate due to many reasons. Your test results can also be out of normal range for several purposes, including an ongoing medical condition, age, pregnancy, or constant use of any specific medication. It is crucial that you talk to your doctor and even with an endocrinologist regarding the interpretation of your results.

Related Tests: Free T4 (Thyroxine) Test, Free T3 or Total T3 (Triiodothyronine) Test, Thyroid Antibodies Test