Can I Buy a Thyroid Test?
While you should still visit a doctor if you have undiagnosed symptoms of a thyroid condition, you can buy a thyroid test online or in a pharmacy so you can test your own TSH levels from home.
Thyroid tests assist in the diagnosis of thyroid conditions, which can have a significant impact on our health, but doctors might need to perform other tests and discuss your medical history to know with 100% certainty if you have an underactive or overactive thyroid, so self-diagnosis should be avoided.
Instant thyroid tests can, however, be a very convenient tool for monitoring thyroid conditions and make the lives of people living with thyroid disorders much easier.
What Are Thyroid Tests?
Thyroid tests aim to see how well the thyroid gland, located in the throat in front of the trachea, is doing its job of producing thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones control the metabolism, so when there is too much T3 and T4 in the blood, the body’s energy production process is sped up, and when there is too little, it’s slowed down. This is known as an overactive thyroid and underactive thyroid respectively, and can cause a range of symptoms.
The thyroid gland produces these hormones when the pituitary gland, at the bottom of the brain, produces thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), so a person with hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) would have high TSH and low T3 and T4 in their blood, and a person with hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) would have low TSH and high T3 and T4.
Thyroid tests can diagnose an underactive or overactive thyroid by detecting the TSH, T3 and T4 levels in the blood after a simple painless blood test.
When Should You See a Doctor?
The symptoms of thyroid disorders can easily be confused with other health conditions so they often go unnoticed. However, if you experience more than one of these symptoms or your doctor has been testing for other conditions, you should ask your doctor for a thyroid function test.
Symptoms of an underactive thyroid include:
- Weight gain
- Sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin
- Muscle cramps
- Low sex drive
- Slow movements and thoughts
- Brittle hair and nails
- Numbness or tingling in the hands
- Irregular periods or heavy periods
Many of these symptoms overlap with depressive illnesses as well as mere signs of ageing, so if you suspect that there’s something more at play, you should visit your doctor to have a thyroid test.
Symptoms of an overactive thyroid include:
- Mood swings
- Weight loss
- Sensitivity to heat
- Swollen neck
- Heart palpitations
Overactive thyroid symptoms can also be confused with anxiety or behavioural disorders, so if there are no reasons for you to be experiencing anxiety, you should also push your doctor for a thyroid test.
With an overactive thyroid, you can also feel your own neck to check for any swelling in the butterfly-shaped gland, however, since you may not be sure what exactly you’re feeling for, it’s best to let a doctor examine your neck for you. If they see fit, they can also recommend an ultrasound scan to look at your thyroid gland.
It’s easy for some of us to bury our heads in the sand when it comes to our health, but ultimately, if you have a negative test result, you can be relieved you don’t have the condition, or if you have a positive result, you can start the appropriate treatment to ease symptoms or prevent the condition from worsening.
Do You Need to Fast Before a Thyroid Test?
For simple thyroid function tests or at-home thyroid tests, you don’t need to fast beforehand, however, if your doctor is performing other tests at the same time to rule out other conditions, they may require you to fast before. Check with your doctor at least 24 hours before your appointment if you’re not sure.
For consistency, it is better to take your thyroid tests first thing in the morning, though, as TSH levels follow a circadian rhythm, with higher levels seen in the morning than in the afternoon. Since the normal range of TSH is considered to be between 0.45 and 4.5 milli-international units per litre of blood, if you’re experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidism and your tests taken in the afternoon are just below 4.5, it’s worth taking another test in the morning to make sure your TSH levels aren’t abnormal.
At-Home Thyroid Tests
While doctors will test TSH, T3 and T4 levels when diagnosing a patient with thyroid disease, thyroid tests that you can buy over the counter or online from registered medical laboratories will usually only measure TSH levels in the blood. For diagnosis it’s important that all factors are considered to rule out any other medical conditions, however, once a diagnosis has been reached, only TSH levels need to be monitored in most cases.
Not measuring T3 or T4 levels doesn’t make at-home thyroid tests inaccurate, it just speeds up the testing process, so you can receive reliable results on your TSH levels faster.
Once you’ve purchased the best instant thyroid test, you can follow the instructions in the box or the company’s email or app. You don’t need a prescription to buy a thyroid test, just ask at your nearest pharmacy or have a look online.
When you press the lancet against your finger, a small needle will spring out and prick the end of your finger so you can collect a few blood drops in the small plastic tube. Send the sample back to the lab according to the instructions and you’ll receive your thyroid test result back within a few days, accompanied by some advice on how to interpret your results.
How Much Do Thyroid Tests Cost?
At-home thyroid tests can cost anywhere between £5 and £150, with many around the £60 mark, however, if you intend to see a private GP in the UK for a thyroid function test you can expect to pay a lot more, with fees for initial consultations, tests and email correspondence.
The thyroid tests that also include T3 and T4 testing, as well as TSH, cost £80 - 120 on average, while most simple yet effective thyroid tests for monitoring underactive thyroids will cost around £30 - 60.
There are even more affordable and 99% accurate rapid thyroid tests on the market too.
Best Instant Thyroid Test
Official Rapid Tests’ Instant Thyroid Test costs just £19.99 and accurately tests TSH levels in your blood through a quick finger prick blood test. We send our results back in a secure email link to our app in 2 working days, proving we don’t just provide one of the most affordable and accurate thyroid tests out there, but also one of the fastest thyroid tests.
Starting out as a Covid-19 testing company with the aim of providing affordable covid tests to people from our test centres across the country, and handling their data swiftly and securely to get their results back in time to isolate before spreading the virus further, Official Rapid Testing has developed even more rapid health tests to help people have quick and easy health checks.
Our medical laboratory management software allows us to stay on top of everyone’s test samples and deliver results faster than our competitors, in a secure and easy-to-understand way.
Buy Official Rapid Tests Instant Thyroid Test
If you need to monitor your TSH levels for an underactive thyroid, buy an instant thyroid test kit today.