Did you know that it is possible to take a thyroid test at home?
Thyroid issues often present with symptoms that can be attributed to everyday lifestyle factors such as occupational stress, not getting enough sleep and over-indulging. 60% of those who suffer with thyroid issues are unaware of their condition as symptoms are often masked by commonplace physical and emotional responses to everyday life.
This week, LetsGetChecked tell you everything you need to know about the signs and symptoms of suffering from thyroid issues, joined by Andreea Opris, we hear about what it’s like to suffer from an underactive thyroid and Dr. Dominic Rowley demonstrates how to take a thyroid test at home and why it it offers the same accuracy as taking a test in a physician's clinic, while offering a cost effective solution and greater convenience.
- What Is The Difference Between Taking A Thyroid Test At Home And A Thyroid Test At A Physician's Clinic?
- What Are The Signs That You Should Take A Thyroid Test?
- Living With An Underactive Thyroid
- Thyroid Test At Home: Should You Take A Thyroid Test At Home?
What Is The Difference Between Taking A Thyroid Test At Home And A Thyroid Test At A Physician's Clinic?
LetsGetChecked is revolutionizing the way people experience healthcare.
Dr. Dominic Rowley says: “The main difference is the amount of blood you need to take, with the LetsGetChecked thyroid test, you only require 6-10 drops of blood from the tip of your finger, if you go to the hospital or the doctor, they will be taking a blood sample from your arm, and they will require a vial of blood to be analyzed.”
LetsGetChecked's tests are certified to be as accurate as full venous blood draws. Patients no longer need to make appointments or sit in waiting rooms. Those who wish to understand their thyroid function now have the option to take a test while on the go without needing to take time away from their busy schedule.
He adds: “It’s obviously much more convenient at home but the end result between taking a thyroid test at home and a thyroid test at the doctors is the same."
You will receive the same accurate result as you would in a physician's office, that will indicate how your thyroid is functioning.
Watch the video below to get a better understanding of at home thyroid testing:
What Are The Signs That You Should Take A Thyroid Test?
Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism have common and contrasting symptoms. Dr. Dominic Rowley says:
“You may feel cold and you may feel tired all the time. Your skin may be dry, your hair might thin out, become fragile or break, very commonly, you may find yourself putting on weight or find it difficult to lose weight. The thyroid gland affects every part of the body.”
As mentioned, the signs that you should take a thyroid test at home may be masked by responses to everyday life such as feeling tired all the time, brain fog, weight gain or loss and changes in bowel movements. You should take a thyroid test at home if you experience symptoms associated with an under or overactive thyroid, and they become persistent or last for six weeks.
Dr. Dominic Rowley says “feeling the cold, weight gain, hair thinning and constipation are the most common signs and symptoms associated with thyroid issues.”
You should take a thyroid test at home if:
- You have inexplicably gained weight
- You feel tired all of the time
- Your heart rate is lower than it once was
- You feel cold all of the time
- You are experiencing slow-moving bowel movements, bloating and/or intestinal discomfort
- You find it difficult to concentrate on daily tasks that you used to be able to complete with ease
- You find it difficult to remember small details or focus, also known as brain fog
- You have unexplained muscular stiffness and joint pain
- You are developing dry skin and/or have a dry mouth and throat
- You are developing a hoarse voice
- You are experiencing swelling in the neck and snore at night
- You feel depressed, anxious or are experiencing mood-swings on a regular basis
- You have issues with hearing
- You are experiencing thinning of the hair or hair loss
- Your periods are irregular
- You have a low sex drive
Hypothyroidism is more common than hyperthyroidism. Concrete numbers on global prevalence of both disorders are not well known due to the large number of cases that are undiagnosed. 12% of those living in the U.S will be diagnosed with thyroid issues in their lifetime.
You should a thyroid test at home if you are suffering from the following signs associated with hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid for up to six weeks or more:
- You have inexplicably lost up to 10 pounds, or are finding it difficult to put on weight
- You feel tired all the time regardless of how much you sleep
- You have no appetite
- You feel too warm all the time and/or experience excessive sweating on a regular basis
- You are experiencing diarrhea or more frequent bowel movements
- You are experiencing shaking or tremors on a regular basis
- You feel anxious or are experiencing mood-swings on a regular basis
- Your periods are irregular and lighter than usual
- You have a low sex drive
You should take the thyroid test at home if you experience one 1-3 of these signs and symptoms for up to six weeks.
Living With An Underactive Thyroid
LetsGetChecked is joined by Andreea Opris, who says that her battle with hypothyroidism began with chronic fatigue, anxiety and hair-loss. Andreea is the founder of yourbeauty.ie and has dealt with hypothyroidism for seven years now. She shares her experience as well as her hints and tips for dealing with the condition.
Women are 5-8 times more likely to suffer from thyroid issues than men. Dr. Dominic Rowley says “quite simply an autoimmune disease is a condition in which the body attacks itself, women get more autoimmune diseases like diabetes, and lupus, so if you have one autoimmune disease, you’re more likely to get another one. The reason women suffer from autoimmune diseases more than men is unknown.”
When did you first experience symptoms associated with hypothyroidism?
A bit over seven years ago I started to feel very fatigued without reason. I had bouts of anxiety and tiredness no matter how much I slept. I also suffered with hair and eyebrow loss.
The symptoms were coming and going, my blood results seemed normal and my doctor didn’t have any answer for me, other than maybe I was stressed and I should just look after myself better with diet and exercise. Of course, unsatisfied with the answer I started researching my symptoms online and the underactive thyroid seemed to be the culprit.
In your writings about thyroid health, you say that you were repeatedly told that your results were not far enough out of range to warrant action. Did you feel let down by your medical team?
To be completely honest, yes I did. I was left untreated for two long years, while I struggled with very unpleasant symptoms. When I requested my blood results after a couple of ‘normal’ tests, it transpired that my levels were actually borderline underactive and I had a very high antibody count, which explained my symptoms.
I was also deficient in vitamin D and although highlighted on my results, I was never treated for it.
Why do you think it took so long to be put on medication?
In theory, I was a healthy 27 year old (at the time) that didn’t smoke or drink and looked overall healthy. Somehow I understand the reticence of a doctor to put a healthy patient on lifelong thyroid medication if its not necessary. Eventually I hit rock bottom and I started losing my hair in clumps, having developed alopecia areata so I started looking for another opinion. I changed doctor and started my thyroid treatment in 2013.
Always trust your gut instinct and look out for second opinions, make sure you request your blood results to keep for future reference.
How do you manage your thyroid issues now?
Now I have a great doctor who seems to understand hypothyroidism very well and monitors my levels closely . I am of course under medication and I am getting my levels checked every four-six months for dosage adjustment.
I have found that a gluten free diet has made a huge difference to my whole wellbeing and its helping to keep my antibodies at a normal level. I have autoimmune underactive thyroid (Hashimoto's thyroiditis) and it seems that my body sees gluten as an antibody and has a negative physical response to this.
I’m also supplementing with vitamin D, selenium, fish oils and probiotics which are helping to manage my symptoms much better. Before beginning to take supplements, always check with your physician.
Do you think it's important to use your platform, yourbeauty.ie, so people who suffer from an underactive thyroid can feel less alone in their condition?
Its hugely important. I had a health scare earlier this year, my physician felt a lump in my thyroid and I was sent for a scan. I have talked publicly on my social media about my concerns and was overwhelmed by the response I got: so many women seemed to have an underactive thyroid condition. Luckily, I managed to get a private scan quick enough and my results were ok, but getting the chance to speak to other people in the same position made me feel better and more positive about the outcomes.
What are the best three things you can do to help yourself live with an underactive thyroid?
- Find a healthcare provider that you trust and that will take your symptoms seriously.
- Try to make lifestyle changes, stress management and an improved healthy diet will do wonders for your overall well-being.
- Research good quality supplements that will help manage the underactive thyroid.
Thyroid Test At Home: Should You Take A Test?
You should take the thyroid test at home proactively. Early detection is the best prevention for further damage to the thyroid gland and health complications later in life. Thyroid hormones affect all aspects of physiological function and affect all cells.
Dr. Rowley emphasizes:
"Thyroxine acts on every cell in the body, that is why it is known as the powerhouse of all cell functions."
Over and underactive thyroid issues can be triggered by other medical conditions such Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves and Plummer’s disease. You should take the test if you have a family history of autoimmune diseases, if you have a history of taking performance enhancing drugs or if you have suffered from genetic birth defects. If you are suffering from symptoms associated with thyroid issues, you should take a thyroid test.
LetsGetChecked provide a thyroid test at home that examines the main thyroid hormones thyroxine 3 and thyroxine 4 as well as thyroid stimulating hormone which offers a broad view of hormone function. LetsGetChecked also provides a thyroid antibody test which offers a more comprehensive view of thyroid function by measuring levels of antibodies associated with thyroid damage known as thyroglobulin antibodies and thyroid peroxidase antibodies.
LetsGetChecked offer their patients personalized support at every step of the way to rule out potential thyroid function issues. Track, monitor and improve your health by taking an at home thyroid test today.
Written by Hannah Kingston | Approved by Medical Director Dr. Dominic Rowley