The thyroid plays an important role in regulating your body’s metabolism. But if thyroid function becomes too active, or not active enough, it can cause a range of unwanted symptoms, from excessive sweating or weight fluctuation to insomnia, depression or brain fog.
While the symptoms associated with an under or overactive thyroid can also be attributed to other health issues, if you notice that you’re experiencing a number of these conditions, it could be worth taking a test to find whether you thyroid could be the cause.
What is the thyroid?
The thyroid is a gland found in the front of your neck. Made up of two lobes which lie either side of the windpipe, the gland is roughly the size of a plum cut into two halves and is joined in the middle by a bridge of tissue called the isthmus.
What does the thyroid do?
The thyroid’s function is to produce two hormones, thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones are released into the blood and help to regulate cell function.
Thyroxine (T4) contains four atoms of iodine while Triiodothyronine (T3) contains three. In the body the T4 is converted to T3. It is the T3, both from the T4 and released as T3 directly from the thyroid gland, which influences the activity of all the cells and tissues of your body.
What are thyroid hormones needed for?
The hormones released by your thyroid influence the metabolism of your body cells, regulating the speed with which those cells work.
If too much of the thyroid hormones are released, the body cells work faster than normal. This is called hyperthyroidism. The increased activity in your cells can cause a range of symptoms such as increased heart rate or more frequent bowel movements.
Too little production of the thyroid hormones is known as hypothyroidism. In this case, the cells and organs of your body slow down. This can cause a slower heart rate or sluggish digestion.
What can happen if you have a problem with your thyroid?
Thyroid disorders are very common. Although they tend to mainly occur in women, men, children and babies can also be affected. Around one in 20 people has a thyroid disorder and this can be temporary or permanent.
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) - not enough thyroxine is produced for the body’s needs. This is the most common disorder.
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) - too much thyroxine is produced for the body’s needs.
What are the common symptoms of hyperthyroidism?
While symptoms can vary, some of the more common conditions associated with hyperthyroidism include:
- Clammy skin
- Feeling warm and sweating excessively
- Feeling hyperactive
- Fertility problems Insomnia
- Irregular bowel movements
- Raised libido
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shortness/loss of breath
- Thinning hair
- Weight loss with increased appetite
What are the common symptoms of Hypothyroidism?
While symptoms can vary, some of the more common conditions associated with hypothyroidism include:
- Brain fog
- Dry hair and skin Fatigue
- Feeling cold constantly
- Fertility problems
- Hair loss
- Issues with Breathlessness
- Loss of libido
- Low basal temperature
- Mood swings
- Raised cholesterol
- Weight gain and/or difficulty losing weight
Can thyroid disorders be treated?
Thyroid disorders are common and, fortunately, the disorder and many of the symptoms can be treated. Most thyroid disorders are managed with daily medication. Other treatments are also available for disorders that can’t be managed with medication.
Getting your thyroid tested
If you’re concerned about your thyroid function you may want to consider getting tested for confirmation. Armed with this information, you can make more informed decisions in order to optimise your health and wellbeing.
Our Thyroid Basic Check measures your levels of three important hormones:
The TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is a hormone manufactured in the pituitary gland. Its role is to stimulate thyroxine production in the thyroid. A high level within a health screening is associated with an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) and a low level is found if the thyroid gland is over-active (hyperthyroidism). Changes in the TSH level alone can indicate underlying thyroid problems even if the thyroxine levels are normal.
FT3 (Free Triiodothyronine) - This is one of two hormones produced by the thyroid gland. This measures the level of T3 that is 'free' and can regulate metabolism.
FT4 (free thyroxine) is the active form of thyroxine, released from the thyroid. Its role is to control metabolism - release of energy from all cells of the body. A lack of thyroxine can lead to tiredness and weight gain. An excess can lead to weight loss, rapid heart rate and anxiety. It is generally believed that this level (FT4) is the most reliable indicator of thyroid status.
Booking your private thyroid test
We can make sure the experience is as easy, convenient, and painless as possible. By partnering with Spire Healthcare, we make the process simple and seamless by offering easy-to-book appointments at your local Spire Hospital. Here’s how it works:
As well as thyroid function tests we have a comprehensive range of health checks and diagnostic blood tests available, including male and female hormone profiles.
After you have selected the right test for you, simply order online through our secure payment system or chat to a member of our team. Once your order is placed, you’ll receive all the information you need to arrange your convenient blood draw appointment at one of our Spire Hospital locations.
Your pathology passport – the information sent to you after you place your order – will also tell you whether you need to fast ahead of your test. Included in each request for testosterone testing are:
- A doctor’s referral
- All phlebotomy
- All laboratory fees
- Our GP’s comments
How your appointment works
We partner with Spire Healthcare to offer a professional phlebotomy service. This guarantees that your blood samples are taken and handled correctly and that your results are processed efficiently by clinical professionals. Our confidential blood examination for testosterone levels is available at over thirty private clinics around the UK.
Unlike home testing healthcare kits, where you take the sample yourself, our trained professionals reduce the likelihood of errors such as collecting an insufficient amount of blood or accidental contamination, which could delay your test results.
At your appointment, the friendly team will talk to you about your test, collect your blood sample and send it off for testing at an accredited partner laboratory. All you need to do is arrive for your appointment. We’ll take care of the test, and the rest.
Clear, accurate results
The time it takes to receive your results will depend on the type of test you have chosen. When they are ready, your results will be sent directly to you, via email, within the time specified. If you would prefer to receive a paper copy of your results through the post, that can easily be arranged for you.
You can also choose the option of reported or unreported results. Reported results include information and comment from our GP which you may find helpful to discuss with your own consultant, or for your records.