Can You Self-Test For Hypothyroidism?

Many people would love to know how to perform certain tests on their own without having to visit the doctors. Today, one can easily order a test kit for HIV, for instance, and carry out the test on their own and get results. But, is this possible when testing for hypothyroidism?

Usually, hypothyroidism is evaluated and diagnosed by an endocrinologist or a qualified healthcare doctor. The presence of this condition in some cases is so slight that it makes it difficult for to recognize that something is amiss. On the other hand, the symptoms can be simply undeniable including intolerance to cold, fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, and anxiety among others. Whichever the case, all you need is getting the right test that will confirm your worries or otherwise.

Visiting your doctor for a comprehensive and accurate blood test is recommendable so that you can access treatment sooner than later. This will significantly impact on the quality of your life despite the condition.

TSH Testing

This is a comprehensive hypothyroidism test where your health care provider will closely look into the visible symptoms as well as undertake a thyroid stimulating hormone test. In this test, the doctor will be trying to find out the extent to which thyroid hormones- T3 and T4- have diminished. THS is produced in the pituitary glands in the brain then used to stimulate the release of the thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. In this case, the levels of THS in the body will play a crucial role in determining if you have hypothyroidism or not. Based on the set ranges, you can quickly tell if your THS levels are okay. According to the American Thyroid Association, the ranges are set as below.

  • 0.4 mU/L- Normal
  • 2.5 mU/L- At the risk
  • 4.0 mU/L- Mild hypothyroidism
  • 10.0 mU/L- Hypothyroidism

T4 testing

Another test for hypothyroidism is measuring the level of free T4 in the bloodstream. In case of higher TSH levels and low T4 levels, it indicates primary hypothyroidism since the pituitary gland is responding to the deficit and producing more TSH in the effort to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce more hormones. However because the thyroid is either malfunctioned or not working correctly, it is not responding to the signals by the pituitary gland hence the higher levels in TSH and low levels in free T4.

Hypothyroidism self-test

Other than checking out for the symptoms of this condition, taking a T4 or TSH tests, one should consider a basal body temperature test as a simple, yet accurate in testing for potential hypothyroidism. This is what was initially used before blood tests were invented.

Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Test

This involves evaluating the basal body temperature using a basal thermometer which you can purchase at a local drug store or online. In this case, do not confuse a basal thermometer with the regular one as you are likely to get different results.

It is recommended to undertake this test at least once a day for three days. The test should be carried out immediately you wake up, even before moving around or visiting the washrooms. Place the basal thermometer below the armpit for 15 minutes while in a still position then get the readings. Repeat the same for three days and calculate the average temperature. In case the average temperature comes below 97.8 degrees F, chances are there that you may have hypothyroidism. For women still on their periods, it would be ideal to start the BBT test on the second day of menstruation because it is believed that natural temperatures rise during mid-cycle and this could result in wrong readings. This method of diagnosing hypothyroidism is, however not used by many as a reliable option due to their inaccuracy. However, it will be a perfect self-test to inform you of when you should seek more accurate T4 and TSH tests.

References:

https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/hypothyroidism/how-doctors-diagnose-hypothyroidism-0

https://www.healthfulelements.com/blog/2011/06/thyroid-self-test

https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/hypothyroidism/how-doctors-diagnose-hypothyroidism-0

http://drchristianson.com/basal-body-temperature-for-thyroid-function-a-comprehensive-guide/

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