Diagnostic Tests You Should Have… But Your MD Isn’t Ordering
Sally knew there was something wrong. She hadn’t felt “good” in the past three years. The energy she had enjoyed in her youth was completely gone, replaced with a constant fatigue that made it difficult to get out of bed let alone be productive during the day. Her hair was falling out in clumps in the shower. And 15 pounds had mysteriously appeared on her body despite her best effort to diet and count calories. “But my doctor ordered the blood-work and told me everything is fine,“ she told herself. “I guess this is just what getting old feels like”. Right?
Sally’s doctor had been checking her thyroid gland by ordering the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test. Sally’s TSH level was 3.8, well within the “normal” range given by the lab. However, the optimal range for TSH is 1.8-3.0 mU/L. If Sally’s doctor had then ordered a complete thyroid panel (TSH, TT4, FT4, FTI, T3U, FT3, rT3, and thyroid antibodies), he could have confirmed that Sally had an autoimmune thyroid disorder.
Many insurances ONLY cover the other thyroid tests after TSH is outside of the range that the lab considers normal. However, if you wait until then your thyroid may be very sick indeed.
So, number 1 (in no particular order) on my list of tests to be proactive about is a FULL thyroid panel if you suspect you may have a low-functioning thyroid.
Number 2 is an amazing test, yet it is hardly ever ordered. The grim reality is that for many people, the first sign of heart disease is sudden death. But this test can show if you need bypass surgery or an implantable defibrillator years before any other symptoms appear….look for all the info in the next post, coming soon.