“My doctor will only test my TSH level for my thyroid. He/She says my thyroid is normal based on my TSH level, but I feel I have a thyroid problem!”
I hear this all the time with my new patients. They have been to their internist, their primary care, and even endocrinologists, but they get the same answer, “your thyroid is normal, and you are fine.”
I’ve had patients tell me their doctors offer antidepressants, sleeping pills and birth control for their “symptoms.”
Some have even been referred to psychiatrists and therapists. Endocrinologists, internists, your primary care are looking for a disease. If you have a disease, they are trained to diagnose and treat the condition.
Be it with medications, therapy or surgery; they could very well save your life. But that is if you have a disease. What happens if you do not have a disease? What happens if you don’t have a ‘disease,’ but you still don’t feel well?
You go to your doctor stating:
- I am exhausted, and my hair’s falling out
- I’ve got dry skin and constipation
- I am gaining weight even though I eat well and try to exercise
- I am irritable, weepy and my family is concerned
- My periods are off, my periods are heavy, my periods are painful
- I have no sex drive
- I have trouble falling asleep, I have trouble staying asleep
- My short term memory is gone, I can’t focus, do I have dementia?”
The reference range for TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) is:
- 0.45 ng/dl to 4.5 ng/dL
Like I said, your conventional doctor is looking for a disease, so if your level falls within the range, then your thyroid is considered ‘normal,’ regardless of your symptoms.
The TSH level is necessary to find thyroid disease. What you are looking for is thyroid function tests. We like to run the following tests:
- Free T4
- Free T3
The T4 hormone is what the thyroid gland makes, and releases into the bloodstream. The hormone T4 (Thyroxine) is an inactive hormone. Once in the blood, your body converts T4 into T3, which is the active form of thyroid hormone.
Approximately 60% of this conversion occurs in the liver. To find out if the thyroid function is causing your symptoms, ordering a Free T4, Free T3 and TSH would be the first step. Now interpreting those results is another story, which we will cover in the next episode of the Progress Your Health Podcast.