Bring this checklist to your doctor to ensure they’re doing everything they can to determine how well your thyroid is functioning
- Don’t let your doctor order only a TSH test. Ask them to also check your levels of free T4 (the storage form of thyroid hormone), free T3 (which powers metabolic processes).
- Make sure they’re using the most current normal ranges of TSH recommended by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists in 2003. Many physicians are using outdated normal ranges that include levels now considered hypothyroid.
-Ask your doctor to check for thyroid antibodies.
-Talk about lifestyle factors that may impact your thyroid health.
Unless you see an endocrinologist or a functional medicine specialist, your doctor may be hesitant to run all these tests, but they are crucial to understanding how well your thyroid is functioning and what could be contributing to its dysfunction.
For example, the free T4 and free T3 tests give a much more complete explanation of what is really going on with your thyroid hormone than simply checking your levels of TSH, which only indicates how well your pituitary gland is telling your thyroid to do its job.
It’s also crucial to know if you have thyroid antibodies because they’re an indicator of Hashimoto’s disease, which is an autoimmune disorder that affects your thyroid gland. While some doctors may try to treat Hashimoto’s disease the same as any other cause of hypothyroidism, autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s need special attention. People who have one type of autoimmune disease, such as Hashimoto’s, are three times as likely as other people to develop another autoimmune disease.
Your body needs certain nutrients to produce thyroid hormone. It’s possible that your thyroid deficiency could actually be caused by a deficiency of another nutrient. Why throw additional thyroid hormones into your system when a supplement or vitamin may be all you need?
There are also a variety of dietary or lifestyle changes you may be able to make to help improve your symptoms, especially if you have Hashimoto’s disease. Sometimes, medication alone isn’t enough for symptom improvement, but your doctor may not mention lifestyle changes if you don’t bring it up first.
It’s easy to believe that doctors have all the answers, but sometimes they’re so busy treating so many patients that they can’t spend the time to investigate deeply into your health unless you push them a little bit. You have every right to have your health looked into as much as you want, though, to feel like you’re getting the care you need.
It’s up to you to take charge of your healthcare and push for testing you feel would benefit your health. While it would be nice if you could get answers without needing to ask first, that’s just not the world we live in. Push for answers so you can get the treatment you deserve.
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