I’m Gaining Weight and I’m Worried That I Have a Thyroid Problem…

This is something that I hear a lot among new people who come to see me.  They then say “Well I had my thyroid checked and it was normal”.  Well what exactly did you have checked?  The tests of thyroid function that you have run can make all the difference.

In our office when we test thyroid function, we run a panel that consists of four tests.  What are they and why do you need four?

TSH

The first test is a TSH test.  TSH stands for thyroid stimulating hormone.  This is a hormone produced by your pituitary gland.  This hormone stimulates the thyroid to produce thyroid hormone.   When your thyroid gland is not working well your thyroid hormone level goes down.  Your pituitary will detect this and start to release more TSH hormone to stimulate your thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormone.  Therefore as thyroid function goes down, TSH goes up.  TSH is the standard thyroid screening test BUT not the only one for us.

Total T4

Your thyroid gland produces a thyroid hormone called T4.  T4 then goes into the blood stream and is converted to….

Free T3

This is the active thyroid hormone in your blood stream.  This hormone affects energy, weight, metabolism, hair, nails, skin, body temperature, periods, digestive issues and many other bodily functions.

TPO Antibody

This test checks for Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies.  What are those?  Antibodies are made by the immune system to fight off infections.  Antibodies are normal.  Unfortunately, there are some folks who make antibodies again their thyroid glands.  This is a condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  Unless you specifically test for this, there is no way to know whether or not you have it.  So as part of my thyroid screen, I test this on everyone.

Now there are many other thyroid tests out there that I run but as a standard “this is what I check on every one” thyroid tests – the above four are my panel.

So if you think that you may have a thyroid problem, ask for the four above mentioned tests.  If you come to our office we would be happy to check them for you and let you know where you stand with regards to your thyroid function and what you options are.

Author
Olga Cortez

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