Stay up to date with these news to take care of your thyroid
To mark International Thyroid Awareness Week, we’re raising awareness about the importance of thyroid function testing and honest communication between patients and physicians to maintain good thyroid health.
What is a TSH test?
The TSH test is the best way to find out if your thyroid gland is working properly.1
Testing your thyroid function helps you understand if your thyroid gland is producing the right amount, but not too much or too little, of the T4 hormone (thyroxine) into your blood to support your body’s digestion, heart and muscle function, brain development, bone upkeep and keep other organs working as they should.1
To assess this, the TSH test measures the level of another hormone that is key in the control of your thyroid, called TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone).1 TSH is vital as it allows communication between your pituitary gland and your thyroid.1 If the pituitary gland detects low levels of T4 in your blood, it produces TSH, which works by stimulating the thyroid gland to produce more T4 in order to restore balance.1 In many ways the thyroid is like a heater and the pituitary like a controlling thermostat. But like any system, it can malfunction causing it to stop working as it should.
How does the TSH test work?
The best way to measure the TSH levels is by taking a blood sample.1 Changes in TSH can serve as an “early warning system” – often occurring before the actual level of T4 hormones in the body becomes too high or too low:1
What to do next?
Talk to your physician and ask if you might need a TSH test, particularly if you have any concerns about your current care or are experiencing any new symptoms, such as:2
Good communication between you and your physician is vital. When done right, patients and their physicians are able to respect each other, share feelings, hold open and honest discussions, and agree on the right goals for treatment and care.3 As a result, studies have shown that good communication leads to better treatment outcomes.3,4
Remember, a healthy patient-physician relationship involves honest discussions about more than just treatment,5 so do make sure to share with your doctor information about your general wellbeing, symptoms, and any other health issues you might have. A handy wellbeing diary is available here to help you track your symptoms and prepare for appointments.
Prepared April 2022