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BellaOnline's Thyroid Health Editor

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Blood Test Primer

Guest Author - Colleen Forgus

When it comes to thyroid health, one of the most confusing and frustrating topics seems to be the interpretation of blood tests. What tests should I get? What do the results mean? What do I do if the test comes back in the normal range, but I don’t feel “normal”? How do I get the doctor to give me a new test?

Let’s start with a listing of the various thyroid tests that are available and what the results could mean. Please remember, this is just a starting point and accessing test results is more than just determining if the levels are within the established normal ranges. As always, I advocate for listening to your body and digging further is something doesn’t feel right – you know your body better than anyone.

During my research of thyroid blood tests, I found inconsistencies in what are considered the “normal” ranges. Therefore, I will list multiple ranges for a particular test where indicated.

Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
Normal Ranges
.35 – 5.50 mcIU/ml
.30 – 3.0 mcIU/ml*
.35 – 2.1 mcIU/ml**
Below range indicates hyperthyroidism. Above range indicates hypothyroidism.

Serum Thyroxine (T4)
Normal Range
4.5 – 12.0 ug/dL
Below range indicates hypothyroidism. Above range indicates hyperthyroidism.

Tyroxine Free, Direct (FT4)
Normal Ranges
0.7 – 2.0 ng/dL
0.7 – 1.53 ng/dL**
Below range indicates hypothyroidism. Above range indicates hyperthyroidism.

Serum Tri-Iodothyronine (T3)
Normal Ranges
80 – 180 ng/dL
85 – 205 ng/dL**
Below range indicates hypothyroidism. Above range indicates hyperthyroidism.

Free Tri-Iodothyronine (FT3)
Normal Ranges
2.3 – 6.19 mg/mL
2.3 – 4.2 mg/mL**
Below range indicates hypothyroidism. Above range indicates hyperthyroidism.

Reverse T3 (rT3)
This test evaluates thyroid function and metabolism. It may be an indication of clinical situations other than/or in addition to thyroid imbalance.

Radioactive iodine update or T3 Uptake
Normal Ranges
10 – 30%
24 – 39%**
Below range indicates hypothyroidism. Above range indicates hyperthyroidism. Test results above or below the normal range can be an indication of a thyroid nodule.

Thyroid Antithyroglobulin Antibodies, Thyroglobulin (AgAb or ATA)***
Normal Range
<115 IU/mL
Any reading above the normal ranges can be an indication of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Thyroperoxidase Antibodies, Thyroid Peroxidase (TPOAb or TPO)***
Normal Range
<35 IU/mL
Any reading above the normal range can be an indication of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulins (TSI)
Normal Range
<1.3
Any reading above the normal range can be an indication of Grave’s disease.

*Range revised by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists 2003.
**Life Extension Optimal Range.
***Some doctors believe the presence of any thyroid antibodies is an indication of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and should be addressed before allowing the disease to progress.

Please use this information as a starting point to help evaluate your blood tests. It is very important that you ask for copies of your lab results and keep track of your tests over time.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Colleen Forgus. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Colleen Forgus. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

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