Can I Test My Own TSH Levels for Thyroid?
Thyroid conditions can be missed by doctors due to most of the symptoms of thyroid disease appearing similar to those of other conditions. However, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can both have serious consequences for our health, so it's imperative we get our thyroids checked whenever we suspect that something is wrong.
Now, thanks to instant thyroid tests, you can test your own TSH levels for your thyroid at home, send off the test and receive an email back to you within a few days so you can log into your test provider’s app to see your results. It’s never been more simple to monitor your underactive thyroid.
How Thyroid Testing Works
In order to test how well your thyroid is working, you have to undergo some kind of thyroid test. In most cases, doctors will discuss your symptoms and feel the front of your throat where your thyroid gland sits, and to be sure you have an underactive or overactive thyroid, they’ll perform a simple and painless blood test.
The blood test measures levels of thyroid hormones in the bloodstream, known as T3 and T4, as well as measuring Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone, or TSH, which is produced by the pituitary gland when the body requires more thyroid hormones in the blood.
Therefore, when thyroid hormone levels are low and TSH is high, it shows signs of an underactive thyroid, while low TSH and high T3 and T4 show symptoms of an overactive thyroid, which may also be confirmed with an ultrasound scan.
What Are Normal TSH Levels?
Normal levels of TSH are considered to be between 0.45 and 4.5 milliunits per litre of blood, so if you have symptoms of a thyroid condition and have received an abnormal test result, you should speak to your doctor about diagnosing and living with thyroid conditions.
However, levels of Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone in the blood change slightly as we age, with levels fluctuating greatly in children and increasing as we get older. What’s more, women’s TSH levels change when they menstruate and during and after pregnancy, so if you do have test results that indicate your TSH levels are outside of the normal range, don’t panic, it might be caused by another factor, which your doctor can confirm.
- 18 - 50: 0.5 - 4.1 mU/L
- 50 - 70: 0.5 - 4.5 mU/L
- 70 - 90: 0.4 - 5.2 mU/L
This doesn’t necessarily mean that abnormal TSH levels are not a cause for concern as you age, as underactive thyroids are much more common in elderly people, and women in particular, so whatever your age if you've not previously had medical advice regarding your thyroid and you receive an abnormal result, visit your doctor as soon as you can.
If your thyroid test shows your T3 and T4 are normal but TSH is high, then it may indicate you are developing thyroid problems that you may not have had before. In this case, regular monitoring of your TSH at home and T3 and T4 by a doctor can show when further action needs to take place.
At-Home Thyroid Tests
At-home thyroid tests are best for people with diagnosed hypothyroidism as it allows them to monitor their condition without the need for making, waiting for and travelling to doctors' appointments by allowing them to test their own TSH levels for their thyroid.
After the initial diagnosis and conversation with your doctor about treatment plans, it’s likely you’ll be put on medication to treat your underactive thyroid, such as levothyroxine, which helps regulate your thyroid hormones by replicating the missing T4 (Thyroxine) that the thyroid gland hasn’t been producing.
Since everyone’s case is different, doctors will prescribe different doses of thyroid medication, and people’s systems will react differently, so it’s important to monitor the levels of TSH in the blood to see how well the medicine is working. If the levels of TSH are decreasing, then the pituitary gland is easing the production of TSH as it’s recognising the replacement T4.
Although at-home thyroid tests can also be useful in other ways.
If you have symptoms of an underactive thyroid, you should see a doctor immediately. However, sometimes doctors in the UK are too busy or don’t have enough funding to perform certain medical tests; if this is the case for you, you can take an at-home test and if your results are outside of the normal range, call 111 to get you an appointment with your GP, or if they believe it’s more serious, they can advise on visiting an A&E or walk-in centre.
Underactive thyroid symptoms include:
- Sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin
- Brittle hair and nails
- Numbness or tingling sensation in the hands
- Muscle cramps
- Slow movements and thoughts
- Low sex drive
- Weight gain
- Irregular periods or heavy periods
Is the Test the Same for Hyperthyroidism?
You can get an idea of how well your thyroid is working from taking instant thyroid tests as low levels of TSH indicate an overactive thyroid. However, the best indicator for hyperthyroidism is T3 and T4 levels in the blood.
If you’ve received results at home that show TSH levels below the normal range, you should visit your doctor for advice as they can then perform a thyroid test for T3 and T4.
The treatment for overactive thyroids is also different from underactive thyroids, with different medications used and in some cases either radioactive iodine therapy or removal of the thyroid gland the best course of action. At-home thyroid tests can then be used to monitor TSH levels when starting a treatment to see its efficacy.
About Official Rapid Tests - Thyroid Tests
Official Rapid Test knows the importance of staying on top of your healthcare, especially at a time when it regularly takes most people in the UK around two weeks to get a GP appointment.
We have a number of instant health tests you can take at home and get your results back quickly, including the Instant Thyroid Test, so you can test your own TSH levels. Just order online and receive your test at your door the next day if ordered before 2 pm, or the day after if not, with Royal Mail’s tracked post.
You’ll be sent an email with instructions on how to take your test, which you can follow, by pricking your finger with the lancet and catching enough drops of blood to fill the small plastic pot, before sealing it off and sending it back to our laboratory for analysis. Within just a few days, you’ll receive another email with instructions on how to view your results in our app. You should seek a medical professional’s help interpreting the results, although our experts will advise on the results as best they can.
Our medical laboratory management software allows us to safely and securely store patient information and deliver medical test results back quickly, so no one has to wait too long when they’re worried about their health. It also processes results from our test centres across the UK which still allow registration for Covid-19 tests for travel to any country that might require a negative PCR test.
Buy the Best Instant Thyroid Tests
Order your instant thyroid test now so you can take your own TSH levels, or browse our other medical tests.