Last week, we discussed how hypothyroidism can contribute to weight gain. And now I’d like to tell about thyroid testing to determine if you have low thyroid function.
The gold standard for the diagnosis of hypothyroidism is the thyrotropin test, highly sensitive thyroid testing that measures blood levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). This pituitary hormone acts like an on/off switch, regulating the production and secretion of thyroid hormones. When thyroid function is low, levels of TSH are abnormally high. Ask your doctor for this thyroid function test if you are experiencing the symptoms of low thyroid we went over last week.
Thyroid Testing at Home
Blood tests for thyroid aren’t the only way to determine if you have hypothyroidism. You can test your thyroid function yourself by measuring your basal body temperature. Just leave a regular thermometer within easy reach before you go to bed and, if it’s the old mercury type, shake it down below 96 degrees. Immediately upon awakening in the morning—before you’ve moved at all—place the thermometer in your armpit and leave it there for 10 minutes.
Do this for four consecutive days, recording the temperature each day. (For menstruating women, this thyroid testing is only accurate during the first four days of their menstrual cycles.) Normal temperature is 97.8 to 98.2 degrees F. If your average temperature is lower than 97.8 degrees, you could have an underactive thyroid and would likely benefit from thyroid supplements.