What Is a Thyroid Blood Test and When Should You Take It? 

Even though we don’t always think about it, there are times when taking care of our health means getting tested for various disorders. This can be uncomfortable and time-consuming, but it is a necessary part of staying healthy. One organ that often gets overlooked, even though it is crucial to maintaining a healthy weight and various other functions in the body, is the thyroid. A thyroid blood test is one of those important tests that makes sure your body is functioning properly.

What does the thyroid do?

The thyroid gland is an organ in the throat with one lobe on either side of the windpipe connected by a small strand of tissue known as an isthmus.

This tiny organ is essentially responsible for regulating the way energy is used in the body. It controls the metabolism as well as how much energy cells use on tasks. As such, it has a great effect on the body, and if not functioning properly, it can cause a number of problems.

The thyroid regulates energy in the body by producing a pair of hormones: thyroxine and triiodothyronine. When these hormones are produced at regular intervals, the body’s energy production and energy usage are in sync. The body can control how much energy is burned and at what rate (your metabolism). The pituitary gland regulates the thyroid in the base of the skull beneath the brain. When the thyroid is off-balance, the pituitary gland submits a hormone of its own to try and reregulate the thyroid.

What is thyroid disease?

Thyroid disease is a generic term for any type of dysfunction in the thyroid gland. A dysfunction in the gland occurs when the gland starts producing too little or too much of one of the metabolism-regulating

In some cases, the thyroid may produce too little of the necessary hormones, which can result in symptoms like fatigue and weight gain from low metabolism, as well as increased decreased heart rate and slowed breathing.

In other cases, the opposite is true. The metabolism increases, blood pressure, respiration, and heart rate may increase, and weight loss occurs. In either case, it can be incredibly detrimental to a person’s health if left untreated and can lead to a host of other medical conditions.

What is a thyroid blood test?

A thyroid blood test or blood panel is a specialized lab test that is used to determine thyroid disease by measuring the levels of the two thyroid hormones in the blood. If these levels are shown to be out of balance, then that represents an issue in the thyroid that needs to be corrected.

The test is done by drawing blood from a vein and testing it for specific hormone levels. The test may check for individual thyroid hormones, free-floating hormones in the blood, or even thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) that is produced by the pituitary gland.

When do you need the test?

While there are many disease-specific symptoms, the most common symptoms that may indicate thyroid irregularities include changes in weight and increases or decreases that are sudden and unexplained. This is also the case for increases or decreases in heart rate, intense fatigue, and sensitivity to heat or cold.

Benefits of in-home lab tests

Getting lab tests doesn’t have to be a hassle. You can order at-home tests that let you avoid the lines, the waiting rooms, and the potential exposure to other illnesses. A nurse simply comes to your home, administers the test, and sends it off for results.

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