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How to Interpret Your Thyroid Test Results

If you want to have a better idea of what your thyroid tests mean, here is some information that can help.

Difficulty Level: Easy      Time Required: 5 minutes


Here's How:
  1. Find out your thyroid test results from your doctor's office.
  2. If you can, get a hard copy printout for your own review and home medical files.
  3. If "normal" or "reference" ranges are not indicated on the lab results, ask your doctor's office to tell you what these ranges are.
  4. Note the level of your Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). At most labs in the U.S., up until late 2002, the normal range is from around 0.5 to 5.5. That range changed to .3 to 3 as of early 2003.
  5. If the TSH level is below normal, your doctor may determine that you are hyperthyroid (overactive thyroid.)
  6. If the TSH level is above normal, your doctor may determine that you are hypothyroid (underactive thyroid.)
  7. If your doctor ran a test called Total T4 or Total Thyroxine, normal range is approximately 4.5 to 12.5. If you had a low reading, and a high TSH, your doctor might consider that indicative of hypothyroidism.
  8. If your doctor ran a test called Total T4 or Total Thyroxine, normal range is approximately 4.5 to 12.5. If you had a low reading, and a low TSH, your doctor might look into a pituitary problem.
  9. If your doctor ran a test called Free T4, or Free Thyroxine, normal range is approximately 0.7 to 2.0. If your result was less than 0.7, your doctor might consider that indicative of hypothyroidism.
  10. If your doctor ran a test called Total T3, normal range is approximately 80 to 220. If your result was less than 80, your doctor might consider that indicative of hypothyroidism.
  11. If your doctor ran a test called Free T3, normal range is approximately 2.3 to 4.2. If your result was less than 2.3, your doctor might consider that indicative of hypothyroidism.
  12. If your test results come back "normal" but you have many of the symptoms or risk factors for thyroid disease, make sure you ask for an antibodies test. Some doctors believe in treating thyroid symptoms in the presence of elevated antibodies and normal TSH levels.
  13. If your test results come back "normal" but you have many of the symptoms or risk factors for thyroid disease, consider going to a reputable holistic M.D. or alternative physician for further interpretation and diagnosis.
Tips:
  1. Laboratory reference ranges and normal ranges can differ from lab to lab. Always go by your lab's reference range and your doctor's diagnosis.

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