There are a number of factors that might indicate you suffer from thyroid disease. Take a few minutes to think about these questions and see if you might have an issue.
have thick or brittle fingernails?
have dry skin or frequently irritated eyes?
have a hoarse voice?
have thinning hair, hair loss, or coarse hair?
have thinning of the outer third of your eyebrows?
have cold hands and feet?
have excess fatigue?
have irregularities in your menstral cycle?
have a low sex drive?
have severe menopausal or PMS symptoms?
have frequently swollen hands and feet?
have blood pressure or heart-rate problems?
have high cholesterol?
have trouble remembering or concentrating?
have changes in weight for no apparent reason?
have depression, moodiness, anxiety, or irritability?
have muscle fatigue, pain, or weakness?
have a diagnosed autoimmune disease?
have a history of radiation treatments?
have a history of exposure to toxins?
have a family history of thyroid problems?
If you answered “yes” to fewer than two questions, you are probably healthy.
If you answered “yes” to 2 to 4 questions, you’re at mild risk.
If you answered “yes” to 4 or more questions, you have a significant risk of problems.
If you responded yes to four or more questions you may want to discuss the possibility of having thyroid disease with your health care provider. Testing is simple.
What to ask for and when to seek your own thyroid results
If you suspect a thyroid problem, the first thing your doctor will probably do is order a thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) blood test. The higher your score, the more likely you are to be hypothyroid. But this test is a big reason why so many people with thyroid problems remain undiagnosed. Most doctors consider normal TSH levels to be from 0.5 to 5 mIU/L, but the American Academy of Clinical Endocrinologists believes this range doesn’t account for mild thyroid disorders and recommends levels between 0.3 and 3. Some alternative-medicine practitioners think any score higher than 2 indicates hypothyroidism.
If your TSH levels come back “normal” and you still believe you have a thyroid problem, Mark Hyman, MD, recommends asking your doctor to perform the following tests.
Free T4 and Free T3. This test measures the levels of each specific thyroid hormone; if one is out of whack, it may not show up on the TSH test. Hyman says the normal T4 level is between 0.9 and 1.8 nanograms per deciliter; T3 should be between 240 and 450 picograms per deciliter.
Thyroid peroxidase antibodies or antithyroglobulin antibodies. Elevated thyroid antibodies in the blood may indicate thyroid disease.
Thyroid-releasing hormone (TRH) stimulation test. Best for subtle cases, this test measures hypothyroidism caused by a poorly functioning pituitary gland.
Test yourself. Buy a basal body thermometer at a drug store and take your temperature first thing in the morning. If it’s lower than 97.6 degrees three days in a row, you may be hypothyroid.