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thyroid
health

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Thyroid disorders could affect up to 5% of the population and many sufferers go undiagnosed. Our comprehensive range of thyroid profiles can give you vital information about how your thyroid function is affecting your health.

Essential Tests

A popular thyroid blood test which examines levels of TSH and free thyroxine (FT4) to help in the diagnosis of a thyroid disorder.
check_circle 2 tests included
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schedule 1 day turnaround

Most thyroid hormones are bound to proteins - this blood test examines the level of free, or unbound, T3 (triiodothyronine), the active form of T3.
check_circle 1 test included
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schedule 1 day turnaround

T3

£29

A blood test to establish the level of T3 (triiodothyronine) - the active thyroid hormone which regulates metabolism in our cells.
check_circle 1 test included
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schedule 1 day turnaround

An entry-level test for thyroid function, which measures the amount of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in the blood.
check_circle 1 test included
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schedule 1 day turnaround

This blood test is for reverse T3 (rT3) an inactive form of triiodothyronine which can inhibit the action of the active form (T3) in the body's cells.
check_circle 1 test included
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schedule 14 day turnaround

This thyroid blood test is used to diagnose autoimmune thyroid disease in cases where thyroid hormones are outside the normal ranges.
check_circle 2 tests included
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schedule 4 day turnaround
Thyroid Profiles

Thyroid Check
Plus

£59
Best Seller

Our best-selling thyroid blood test examining levels of TSH, T4, FT4 and FT3 as well as thyroid antibodies for a comprehensive picture of thyroid health.
check_circle 6 tests included
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schedule 1 day turnaround

An excellent profile to investigate thyroid function. Includes TSH as well as key thyroid hormones FT4 and FT3.
check_circle 3 tests included
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schedule 1 day turnaround

This profile includes everything in our popular Thyroid Check Plus as well as ferritin, folate, vitamin B12 and CRP-hs.
check_circle 10 tests included
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schedule 1 day turnaround

This profile contains all the tests included in the Thyroid Check Ultra (full thyroid profile with ferritin, folate, vitamin B12 and CRP-hs) as well as a vitamin D test.
check_circle 11 tests included
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schedule 1 day turnaround

Thyroid Check
UltraVit rT3

£169 £129
Special Offer

Our most comprehensive thyroid profile taking a complete look at thyroid function, ferritin, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin D and reverse T3.
check_circle 13 tests included
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schedule 14 day turnaround

This profile includes everything in our popular Thyroid Check Plus (TSH, T4, FT4, FT3 and thyroid antibodies) as well as reverse T3.
check_circle 8 tests included
invert_colors Blood sample
schedule 14 day turnaround
About Thyroid Health

Our range of thyroid checks is for people who want to diagnose or to monitor a thyroid condition. Our comprehensive range of tests includes the full list of thyroid hormones as well as antibodies and related tests making it easier than ever to get the full picture of your thyroid health. 

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland which is situated in the front of your neck and wraps around your windpipe. Its job is to produce the hormones which govern metabolism - if excess levels of thyroid hormones are produced your metabolism speeds up which means that many of your bodily functions also speed up. You may be aware of your heart beating faster, of food moving through your digestive tract too quickly leaving you with diarrhoea, of your temperature being raised or you may feel constantly anxious or jittery. This is called hyperthyroidism or, in more familiar terms, an overactive thyroid.

More commonly, the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough thyroid hormones which results in your metabolism slowing down. An underactive thyroid is known as hypothyroidism and a classic symptom is the inability to lose weight. This is certainly a problem with an underactive thyroid but did you know that hair loss, constipation, dry skin and even libido and fertility problems can be attributed to an underactive thyroid?

See our symptoms section for a comprehensive list of symptoms that might be affecting you. 

Thyroid hormones

The thyroid gland uses iodine from the food we eat to produce two thyroid hormones: thyroxine (known as T4 because it contains 4 atoms of iodine) and triiodothyronine or T3 (because it has 3 atoms of iodine). Only T3 is biologically active in our cells (controlling metabolism, the process which converts oxygen and calories to energy) which means that T4 must be converted to T3 before your body can use it. 

Thyroid hormone production is governed by the pituitary gland which is situated at the base of your brain. It receives information about the amount of T4 and T3 circulating in your bloodstream and, if levels are low, releases thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce more. A blood test to measure TSH is often used to determine thyroid activity - a low TSH reading signals that thyroid hormones are elevated whereas a raised TSH result could mean that your thyroid gland is struggling to produce the required levels of hormones. Many experts believe that a TSH reading on its own is not sufficient to make a diagnosis of thyroid disease, and that a more comprehensive picture is obtained from blood tests which include T4 (total and free),  free T3 as well as thyroid antibodies.

So what goes wrong?

Thyroid problems can occur if at any stage of the process something goes wrong; for example, if the pituitary gland fails then it will not release enough TSH to regulate thyroid production or if you don't consume enough iodine in your diet (not a common problem in the UK) then your thyroid may be unable to produce sufficient amounts of thyroid hormones. A common cause of thyroid disorders is autoimmune disease which is a disorder of the immune system. Instead of attacking "foreign" invaders, your immune system mistakes your own cells as "foreign" and begins attacking them instead. Autoimmune diseases are common and range from psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, coeliac disease and multiple sclerosis. If you or a close family member suffers from an autoimmune disease this raises your risk of thyroid disease.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis or Hashimoto's disease is the name given to an underactive thyroid caused by an autoimmune disorder. In this case your immune system attacks the cells of the thyroid gland leaving them unable to produce thyroid hormones. 

Graves' disease is the name given to an overactive thyroid caused by an autoimmune disorder. In this case, the immune system creates antibodies which the thyroid gland responds to by producing excess levels of thyroid hormones.

Other problems can result from the poor conversion of T4 to T3 or because of stress which causes your body to deliberately slow your metabolism. Whatever the problem, blood tests can help to find the answer. 

Getting a diagnosis

For many people a simple blood test for TSH and free T4 can lead to a diagnosis of thyroid disease. For others, however, getting a diagnosis can be more difficult. Sometimes blood test results are within the normal range but symptoms persist. This is why it is often important to dig deeper to find out what might be causing your symptoms. We've created profiles which include tests for the key thyroid hormones as well as important nutritional tests; we've made all the thyroid hormones available as single tests; and we've included a long list of vitamins and minerals which may affect your thyroid function.

Treatment

For many people a thyroid disorder can be treated very easily and simply either by replacing thyroid hormones or by taking anti-thyroid medication. For others, getting the right balance of hormones is a long process of trial and error until they get the right medication and dosage to relieve their symptoms. Thyroid function tests are especially important in this process to monitor how your thyroid hormone levels are responding to treatment. Our monitoring profiles are designed to give you important information about your hormone status during treatment.

 

 

FAQs

Thyroid disorders aren't always easy to diagnose and treat, but the more you learn about how your thyroid functions and what factors can undermine the delicate balance of your thyroid hormones, the better equipped you'll be to manage your condition. Read our Frequently Asked Questions to get the answers that will help you understand your thyroid disorder.

Raised thyroid antibodies mean that your thyroid gland is under attack from your immune system - it is a very common cause of an underactive thyroid (Hashimoto's thyroiditis). If your antibodies are raised but your hormone levels are still within the normal ranges it indicates that your thyroid gland hasn't suffered too much damage and is still able to produce thyroid hormones. Your doctor will normally want to monitor your condition - should your thyroid begin to fail you can be treated with thyroid medication. Raised thyroid antibodies are also seen in almost 80% of Graves' disease sufferers, where an autoimmune response causes the thyroid gland to produce excess levels of thyroid hormones.
Iodine is necessary for thyroid function as it is required for the production of thyroxine (T4). However, because most cases of thyroid disease in the UK are caused by damage to the thyroid gland from the body's own immune system rather than a shortage of iodine, eating an iodine-rich diet will probably have little impact. If you are taking replacement thyroid hormones you will not need iodine and supplementing with iodine may actually do more harm than good. People with Graves' disease should not take supplements of iodine or eat iodine-rich foods. In parts of the world where iodine deficiency is more common it can be a leading cause of hypothyroidism. Foods containing iodine include kelp and other sea vegetables, fish, seafood, milk and eggs.
There is a theory that it is possible to have symptoms of an underactive thyroid even with normal levels of thyroid hormones in your blood. This may be because you are having problems with your active thyroid hormone T3 getting into your cells where it can regulate your metabolism. This can be caused by your body converting more T4 to Reverse T3 (rT3), which locks T3 out of your cells. This leaves levels of T3 in the blood looking normal, but T3 levels within the cells are low causing classic symptoms of an underactive thyroid. The only way to establish whether this is happening to you is to test your level of Reverse T3 (rT3). Tests for rT3 are not available on the NHS and you might find getting a prescription for T3 on the NHS difficult even if you have raised levels of rT3. Of course there are other conditions which can cause similar symptoms to a thyroid disorder. Once a thyroid condition has been ruled out, it is possible to investigate other causes of your symptoms.
Your blood test results indicate hypothyroidism. A raised TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) reading means that your pituitary gland is stimulating the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormones because your levels of thyroid hormones are too low. This is supported by your low T4 (thyroxine) result. You may wish to have a thyroid antibodies test to confirm the diagnosis and establish the cause - e.g. an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, a common cause of an underactive thyroid.
The key to treating hyperthyroidism is to prevent the thyroid gland producing excessive quantities of thyroid hormones. This may be achieved by prescribing anti-thyroid medication such as Carbimazole or Propylthiouracil, by destroying part of the thyroid gland with radioactive iodine, or through a thyroidectomy, whereby the thyroid gland is surgically removed.
Sub-clinical hypothyroidism means that your blood test results show elevated levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) (indicating that your thyroid is being stimulated to produce more thyroid hormones) but your levels of thyroid hormones (T4 and T3) are normal. This diagnosis raises your risk of becoming hypothyroid so it is important to monitor your thyroid hormones regularly to ensure that any changes which would require treatment are picked up immediately. Other conditions, such as raised cholesterol and inflammation, which are associated with hypothyroidism can also present with sub-clinical hypothyroidism.
Yes - these results indicate hyperthyroidism. A low TSH reading means that your pituitary gland detects high levels of circulating hormones in the blood and doesn't need to stimulate the thyroid to produce more. In many cases of an overactive thyroid, your thyroid gland is under attack from your own immune system and it responds by producing more thyroid hormones - levels of T4 become elevated as a result. An overactive thyroid causes many symptoms including raised temperature, rapid pulse, anxiety and tremors.
Some foods are goitrogenic which means that they may contribute to the formation of a goitre. These are foods in the brassica family and include broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts. Cooking reduces the impact of goitrogens on thyroid function so the risk of eating them is fairly low. Other foods you should avoid include soya which interferes with thyroxine absorption and foods high in iodine which can make your condition worse. If you are taking iron supplements they too can interfere with the absorption of thyroxine so it is advised to leave at least 4 hours between your medication and taking supplements which contain iron.
Symptoms

Hypothyroid symptoms

Extreme fatigue

Weight gain and difficulty losing weight

Feeling cold all the time

Cold hands and feet

Breathlessness

Slow heartbeat

Low basal temperature

Insomnia

Loss of libido

Raised cholesterol

Hair loss (especially outer third of eyebrows)

Dry hair and skin

Brittle nails

Constipation

Irregular and heavy periods

Depression

Mood swings

Brain "fog"

Fertility problems

Goitre

Hyperthyroid symptoms

Feeling hyperactive

Weight loss despite increased appetite

Feeling warm and sweating excessively

Warm, clammy skin

Shortness of breath

Rapid heartbeat

Raised basal temperature

Insomnia

Raised libido

Osteoporosis

Thin, fly-away hair

Thin, itchy skin

Thickened nails

Frequent bowel movements and diarrhoea

Light, scanty periods

Tremor and shakiness

Gritty, protruding eyes

Irritability

Fertility problems

Goitre

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