How Do I Check My Thyroid at Home?
The best way to check your thyroid at home is by taking an Instant Thyroid Test to have fast results on the levels of TSH in your blood. With a finger-prick blood test done in the comfort of your home and sent away to a medical laboratory, you can have your results back in no time. This makes life much easier for people with thyroid disease, especially underactive thyroids, to monitor their condition without having to wait for doctors' appointments, and then wait further for test results.
But not everyone needs to take thyroid tests and it’s important to take the results of an at-home thyroid test with professional medical advice. So, who needs to take thyroid tests and how do they work? Let’s find out.
Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism: What’s the Difference?
Hyperthyroidism is more commonly known as an overactive thyroid and refers to the levels of thyroid hormones T3 and T4 in the blood being much higher than normal. This can be caused by illnesses such as Graves’ disease which causes the immune system to attack the thyroid causing overproduction of thyroid hormones.
Hypothyroidism is the level of thyroid hormones in the blood being lower than average and is more common than hyperthyroidism. Known as an underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism is caused by the pituitary gland producing too much Thyrotropin, known as Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone, or TSH, which causes the thyroid gland to release more T3 and T4.
As these thyroid hormones control our metabolism and the way our bodies process fat, too low or too high levels of thyroid hormones can have profound consequences on our health, particularly our hearts, kidneys and reproductive systems.
If you think you may have an overactive or underactive thyroid, you should see your doctor immediately.
What Are The Symptoms of Thyroid Disease?
An overactive thyroid and an underactive thyroid can be as serious concerning our health as each other, however, the symptoms are mostly different.
With an overactive thyroid, you can experience:
- Sensitivity to heat
- Swollen neck
- Heart palpitations
- Mood swings
- Weight loss
Underactive thyroid symptoms include:
- Sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin
- Muscle cramps
- Slow movements and thoughts
- Brittle hair and nails
- Numbness or tingling in the hands
- Weight gain
- Low sex drive
- Irregular periods or heavy periods
Not everyone with thyroid disease will experience all of these symptoms, however, they are the best thyroid early warning signs to look out for. If you’re confident that you’ve got many symptoms and are worried about your thyroid, you should arrange an appointment and thyroid blood test with your doctor immediately.
Many thyroid disease symptoms are the same as other illnesses so hypothyroidism is often diagnosed late, putting people’s health at risk. This is seen even more clearly in older people; we have a natural predisposition for developing an underactive thyroid as we get older, however, as other illnesses increase with age, thyroid conditions aren’t always spotted. By seeing a doctor and having a thyroid test, you’re able to put your mind at ease or quickly start treatment to keep you healthy.
When to Take a Thyroid Test
If you have not had a diagnosis of a thyroid condition, the best way to check your thyroid is by visiting your doctor and arranging a thyroid test so they can also examine you and talk you through your results. Medical advice is given on a case-by-case basis, so any medical diagnoses or results should be handled by doctors and medical professionals, as your doctor may advise different things for you as they would for another patient with the same condition.
Self-diagnosing thyroid problems should be avoided. However, if you’re struggling to get a doctor's appointment or your doctor won’t perform a thyroid test and you’re worried you have a thyroid problem, you can take an at-home thyroid test to get real results to take to your doctor. With reliable results from an excellent medical testing company, you’ll get your doctor’s attention and shorten your wait for an appointment so you can start treatment as soon as necessary.
If you have an underactive or overactive thyroid, you can benefit most from taking instant thyroid tests as, while you start medication, your doctor will want to keep an eye on your TSH levels to make sure the medicine is working well. Taking thyroid tests at home saves you from waiting for appointments and travelling regularly for blood tests, so you can keep a record of your TSH levels to bring to your next appointment, or tell the doctor over the phone.
How Do At-Home Thyroid Tests Work
Once you’ve read the glowing reviews of the best instant thyroid test and purchased one online, you’ll receive a small box through the post with a little plastic pot, lancet and usually paper instructions to help you out, although the test is simple and almost painless.
Press the lancet gently into the tip of your finger so the needle can spring forward and prick your finger, bringing enough blood forward to test. Collect the blood in the small plastic pot ready to send back to the laboratory where they’ll test the TSH levels in your blood and swiftly send an email with your results back.
If your TSH results are abnormally high, this indicates an underactive thyroid gland as your pituitary gland is producing more and more Thyroid-Stimulating-Hormone to try to stimulate T3 and T4 production. Low levels of TSH and high T3 and T4 show you may have an overactive thyroid as your pituitary gland has almost shut off the production of TSH in an attempt to stop the production of thyroid hormones.
The laboratory will interpret your results, however, it’s best to show them to a doctor as they are able to physically examine you and your thyroid, and understand other aspects of your health and genetics in order to advise on the best course of action to take, given your results.
What Are Normal Thyroid Hormone Levels?
Thyroid levels vary greatly from person to person and even within the same person throughout their life, so while the normal range is considered to be 0.45 to 4.5 milliunits per litre, having a single abnormal result from a thyroid test doesn’t instantly signal thyroid disease.
Levels of thyrotropin (TSH) are largely affected by age and sex, however, menstruation or pregnancy, and medication can also cause fluctuations in TSH levels.
When taking thyroid tests to monitor a condition, you should try to take them at the same time each day for consistency in results and more accurate reporting.
Can You Regulate Your Thyroid with Your Diet?
Since your thyroid affects the function of your metabolism, it’s important to keep a healthy diet when living with thyroid problems to reduce the risk of more serious health conditions. However, there are no specific foods or diets that help thyroid function.
You should eat a balanced diet with plenty of vitamins to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and as people with thyroid conditions can experience large weight changes as well as face an increased risk of heart disease, they should limit their intake of fats and oils, and avoid saturated fats altogether.
What’s the Best At-Home Thyroid Test?
Official Rapid Tests proudly provides at-home testing for thyroid and other health conditions in the UK so that you can keep on top of your health. With a state-of-the-art medical facility and test centres across the country, and a simple online registration procedure, we serve our customers swiftly and securely to keep them healthy and happy.