Why You Still Have Thyroid Symptoms Even Though Your Hypothyroid Test Results Come Back Normal
Have you been told that you have “normal” hypothyroid test results despite being plagued with symptoms? When it comes to testing the thyroid, many conventional tests are severely lacking, and leave patients with more questions than answers. Most conventional doctors tell patients that their lab work looks “normal”, and dismiss them despite the life-altering symptoms that they deal with every day.
What many patients don’t realize is that “normal” does not mean “optimal”, and that TSH values are not the only markers for thyroid health. Most conventional hypothyroid test results only show the TSH results, while there are several other crucial markers that should be checked to truly understand how well the thyroid is functioning. If you are wondering why you are still suffering from debilitating symptoms despite being told that your hypothyroid test results are “normal”, it’s time to work with a functional medicine doctor who will dig deeper than just your TSH levels.
Why Normal Does Not Mean Optimal
If you’ve been working with a conventional doctor to address your hypothyroid symptoms, chances are you’ve had your TSH level checked. While TSH is a powerful indicator of how well your thyroid is functioning, it does not tell the whole story. TSH is just one of several markers that should be tested to gain a thorough understanding of how your thyroid is working. In many cases, your conventional doctor will not address your thyroid symptoms until your TSH test shows that you already have a thyroid disease.
It’s important to note that just because your hypothyroid test results come back as “normal”, that doesn’t mean that those numbers are ideal for optimal health.
The ranges that most labs use to determine whether your hypothyroid test results are low, normal, or high, are actually just a bell curve of data that the lab collected from other patients who also had that particular test done. The lab will collect samples from each patient, and create an average number based on their collective test results.
This is important because we know that we are dealing with a health crisis in the United States, and just because most Americans are sick, that doesn’t mean that being sick is normal or optimal. If a lab collects samples from 100 Americans who have poor diets, don’t exercise, and have unhealthy lifestyles, the average of their results will not be a good indicator of what we should consider healthy. This is why so many patients are told by conventional doctors that their hypothyroid test results are “normal”, despite the fact that the patient is plagued with debilitating symptoms.
Thyroid Tests For Optimal Results
When you visit your doctor to have your thyroid checked, they will most likely order a TSH test. While this is a vital marker for thyroid health, you’ll need to check other markers to really understand how your thyroid is functioning. Thyroid markers such as Free T4, Free T3, and reverse T3, in addition to TSH values, will provide more insight about your thyroid health, and what could be causing your symptoms.
Also known as thyroid stimulating hormone, TSH is a signal that your pituitary gland sends to your thyroid so that your thyroid knows how much hormone it needs to produce. Since your TSH value can provide a general overview of how well your thyroid is functioning, it is the most popular, and usually the only, test ordered by conventional doctors. Your TSH value tell you how much thyroid hormone you have in your bloodstream, and when your hypothyroid test comes back as abnormal, the TSH value will indicate whether or not you’ll need additional testing. If your TSH is elevated, this means that your thyroid is not producing enough hormone, while a low TSH indicates that your thyroid is producing too much hormone.
T3 and T4 Hormones
Triiodothyronine, or T3, is one of two hormones that are produced by your thyroid. This hormone is essential to your metabolic rate, bone health, heart function, digestion, and brain function. Low T3 can lead to a myriad of symptoms, including:
- Abnormal weight gain
- Digestive issues such as constipation
- Hair loss
- Chronic fatigue
Knowing your T3 value is an important part of your hypothyroid test result because it is especially helpful in diagnosing hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid.
The second major hormone that your thyroid produces is Thyroxine, or T4, which is converted into T3 to create an active thyroid hormone. About 80% of your daily T3 production is created by converting T4 into T3. To optimize your T4 to T3 conversion, it is important to make lifestyle changes to manage stress, eliminate chronic infections, and eat a nutrient-dense diet. To further enhance your T4 to T3 conversion, you may also consider supplementing with ashwagandha, zinc, and selenium to make your thyroid hormone more bioactive.
TPO and Thyroglobulin Antibodies
Thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies are created by your body to fight off the thyroid peroxidase enzyme. If your hypothyroid test results come back showing that you have TPO antibodies, this may indicate that you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition that affects your thyroid.
Another type of antibodies called thyroglobulin antibodies are created as a response to a stored form of thyroid hormone. If your hypothyroid test results show the presence of thyroglobulin antibodies, your thyroid may not be producing enough hormone.
Testing your thyroid function is much more complex than just evaluating your TSH value. Since many of the other thyroid markers are overlooked by conventional doctors, many patients are left to deal with their symptoms on their own. If you are still dealing with symptoms despite your hypothyroid test results coming back normal, call Novis Health in Phoenix today to schedule a consultation!