Thyroid conditions are prevalent in today’s world. According to the American Thyroid Association (ATA), about 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid dysfunction and about 60% are unaware they even have a condition. These statistics can be unsettling and make you want to run to your doctor to have your thyroid tested, but unfortunately most doctors won’t run the tests you need.
According to the majority of physicians and medical professionals, the gold standard test for thyroid dysfunction is the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test, but this just isn’t true. The TSH test does not give doctors a clear picture or understanding of the thyroid’s function. The test doesn’t even test thyroid levels! Instead, the TSH measures the levels from the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland receives T3 (a form of the thyroid hormones) and uses the amount it receives to determine whether more is needed. It then releases the TSH to inform the thyroid to make more or less of the hormones. According to Dr. Derry, a thyroid expert and researcher, the TSH was extremely slow to become abnormal and confirm a diagnosis even if a patient had all the symptoms. He stated sometimes it never rose!
This standard of testing makes it extremely difficult for individuals who suffer from thyroid dysfunction symptoms, but can’t get the treatment they need because the diagnosis isn’t being made. Instead, the symptoms are typically “explained away” by age or depression.
The best tests to run when trying to get a clear understanding of the state of the thyroid or the conversion of the hormones (TSH doesn’t test for conversion issues) are free T3, free T4, reverse T3, TSH and certain antibodies.
It is hard to find a doctor that is willing to run these tests, let alone listen to what is wrong with the current way of testing; however, there is one type of medical professional that always runs these tests, unfortunately, you won’t be seeing them as a patient anytime soon: Veterinarians. Yes, our pets our getting the right thyroid tests, but we aren’t!
Like humans, animals can have thyroid disease. Hyperthyroidism is prevalent among cats, while hypothyroidism is commonly seen in dogs. The symptoms are similar to what we experience. With hyperthyroidism animals can experience weight loss, vomiting/diarrhea, frequent urination, increased energy, and increased appetite. For hypothyroidism the symptoms include hair loss, lethargy, weight gain, and intolerance to the cold.
If your pet has these symptoms and is suspected of having a thyroid problem, the veterinarian will perform a physical exam along with running laboratory testing. The tests include T3 and T4 levels and, depending on the veterinarian, testing for antibodies may be ran to rule out autoimmune thryoiditis.
While it is important that our furry friends get the testing they need, we also should be getting the proper tests to help with our condition. Next time you go in to check your thyroid function why not mention the tests that the veterinarians run to check for thyroid issues?
What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comment section below!