Has your doctor recommended that you to perform a full thyroid panel? If you are reading this article, chances are that the answer is yes, and we congratulate you on the patience and time it took you to find the right kind of article containing all information you need to get ready for your full thyroid panel! Luckily, you are in the right place! We are here to explain everything you need to know about the full thyroid panel, starting with what it is and why it is used, and moving to how it is performed and how to get ready for it. You don’t need to worry, you are going to get all the information you need to be prepared for your next doctor’s appointment, and you can discuss what you read here with them, and let them answer any other questions you might have. Let’s not keep you waiting any longer. We’ll start by explaining what a full thyroid panel is.
What is a full thyroid panel?
A full thyroid panel is a specific test that is used in order to evaluate the function of your thyroid gland and also to help diagnose hypo/hyperthyroidism as a result of various thyroid conditions. A full thyroid panel includes tests that help evaluate Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), free and total triiodothyronine (total or free T3), free and total thyroxine (free and total T4), and thyroid antibody test.
•The Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland which function is to stimulate the production and release of the T3 and T4 hormones, which are normally produced in the thyroid gland
•Free and total triiodothyronine (free and total T3)
•Free and total thyroxine (free and total T4)
•Thyroid antibody test – In many cases of hypo/hyperthyroidism, the lymphocytes, which are the blood cells created by our immune system and released in the blood circulation with the function to protect our body from any viruses and bacteria by creating their antibodies, now create antibodies against their own thyroid. These antibodies will either stimulate or harm the thyroid gland and its function. Two main thyroid antibodies are usually found in a case of hypo/hyperthyroidism are thyroid peroxidase and thyroglobulin.
So you would understand how a condition such as a hypo/hyperthyroidism would affect your thyroid function by either reducing or increasing the production of the T3 and T4 hormones to abnormal levels. Usually, the thyroid panel starts by evaluating the TSH. If in any case the TSH is abnormal (usually in a case of hypo/hyperthyroidism), then tests to evaluate the levels of T4 and T3 are also performed. The full thyroid panel will help your doctor diagnose any abnormalities, and determine the proper course of treatment so that you can go back to your life feeling healthy with no trace of the symptoms that you have been experiencing before.
In which cases is a full thyroid panel performed?
As we mentioned previously, the levels of these hormones – TSH, T3, and T4 can be affected by a number of various conditions. Let’s list some of the most common conditions that cause an abnormality in the levels of TSH, T3, and T4 to occur.
• Hyperthyroidism – As you may know, hyperthyroidism is a term that is used to describe the over activity of the thyroid gland and the excessive production of the thyroid hormones due to which all the functions of the body increase their speed. The usual symptoms are increased heart rate, weight loss, diarrhea, anxiety, weakness, trouble sleeping, and tremors in the hands. What a full thyroid panel in a case of hyperthyroidism would show is low levels of TSH, and high or normal levels of T3 and T4 hormones.
• Hypothyroidism – Contrary to hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism is a term that is used to define the condition in which your thyroid is not able to produce the needed levels of hormones in order to let your body function properly. It is also known as underactive thyroid disease, and surprisingly it is a very common condition. The usual symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, constipation, fatigue, dry skin and menstrual irregularity. In a case of hypothyroidism, what the thyroid panel would show is high levels of TSH, and normal to low levels of T3 and T4 hormones.
• Pregnancy – During pregnancy, you may experience hypo or hyperthyroidism caused by various causes including Hashimoto’s disease (hypothyroidism) and Graves’ disease (hyperthyroidism) being the most common causes of hypo and hyperthyroidism.Both conditions are systematic, autoimmune diseases which cause the body to attack its own thyroid gland and cause abnormalities in its function to occur.
• Liver disease – Since the thyroid and the liver are closely connected with their functions, helping each other, it is only natural to expect that when a liver disease is present, there are going to be certain changes in your thyroid function.
• Menopause – Since many of the usual symptoms that occur as a result of thyroid problems, including dry skin, fatigue, weight loss/gain etc. are the same symptoms that are usually expected for women to experience when they enter menopause, it is strongly recommended to get a full thyroid panel just to eliminate any thyroid problem that a woman might experience during that period.
Should you get a full thyroid panel performed?
We strongly recommend consulting your doctor about a full thyroid panel, especially if you have noticed any of the previously mentioned symptoms – fatigue, unexplained weight gain or loss, trouble sleeping, tremors, dry skin etc. A full thyroid panel is also strongly recommended to all of you who have a family history of thyroid problems, especially thyroid cancer, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism. Women in or near menopause, pregnant women, and women after birth should also get a full thyroid panel performed because of the risk of thyroid problems that we mentioned before. Do not hesitate to consult your doctor if you are experiencing any of the previously mentioned symptoms or if you belong to any of the previously mentioned groups.
How is a full thyroid panel performed?
A full thyroid panel is easily performed by a healthcare professional, at the hospital and all that it requires is a blood test. The doctor will collect blood from a vein in your arm using a needle and then perform the needed laboratory tests as part of the full thyroid panel. Since it is a full thyroid panel that we are talking about, all of the followings will be evaluated:
• Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH);
• Free T3
• Total T3
• Free T4
• Total T4
• Thyroid antibodies
How to get prepared for a full thyroid panel?
Since the technique of getting the blood sample for a full thyroid panel is quite easy and simple, no preparations are needed beforehand. You and your doctor will discuss all the important facts that you need to know about a full thyroid panel. However, because certain medications can interfere with the function of your thyroid gland, it is essential to inform your doctor or other healthcare professional of your use of any medications. No medications or any kind of chemicals should be taken before a full thyroid panel is performed without the permission of your doctor. Please be sure to follow these simple steps when you’re getting prepared for your full thyroid panel to be performed.
A full thyroid panel, although a simple and quite easy to perform the test, can reveal a lot about your thyroid and its function. It is strongly recommended for anybody with a family history involving any thyroid problems such as hypo and hyperthyroidism. Also, those who might have been experiencing any symptoms such as unexplained weight loss/gain, fatigue, weakness, trouble sleeping, tremor in the hands etc., in addition to all women who have just recently entered the period of menopause may want to discuss this test with their doctor in order to determine if their thyroid is functioning properly. Do not hesitate if you belong to any of the previously mentioned groups, and let your doctor determine if your body is functioning in the right way! In any case, there is no need to worry, hypo/hyperthyroidism is not a problem that cannot be easily solved with the right course of treatment. And for those of you who are gathering information and waiting for your full thyroid panel to be performed, we hope that we have answered all of your questions and that you are now feeling secure and prepared for what is ahead of you.