A thyroid panel is a common set of lab tests used to determine your level of thyroid function. Your thyroid produces hormones which are vital to the health and proper functioning of your body.
The thyroid panel measures “markers” which indicate thyroid health. These markers are produced by the thyroid gland and other organs which regulate the thyroid, including the pituitary gland. The thyroid panel indicates the presence of six substances in the blood including hormones, proteins, and immune cells.
The thyroid panel measures:
- Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), a hormone produced by the pituitary gland which acts on the thyroid to either produce or limit the production of hormones
- Thyroxine (T4), a hormone which is a storage hormone, and doesn’t act on its own to produce energy
- Riiodothyronine (T3), which is the active form of T4 that has bonded to a protein
- Thyroglobulin (Tg), which is a protein produced by the thyroid; it works as a tumor marker which can indicate thyroid cancer.
- Thyroid antibodies, which can be an indicator of an autoimmune disease; the antibodies are secreted in response to an attack on the body’s own cells.
- Thyroid binding proteins, which can help indicate the type of thyroid disorder
If the thyroid panel indicates your thyroid function is lower than normal, you have hypothyroidism, for which medication is given to boost thyroid function. Common signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Difficulty keeping warm
- Chronic fatigue and muscle pain
- Hair loss or dry skin
- Constipation or weight gain
If the thyroid panel indicates your thyroid function is higher than normal, you have hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is typically treated with medication to decrease thyroid function. Common signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
- Anxiety and nervousness
- Your body feels hot
- Increased perspiration
- Racing heartbeat
- Protruding eyes
- Vision issues
- Weight loss
A thyroid panel can also indicate the presence of abnormal cells, precancerous tissue, or thyroid cancer. A thyroid panel is a critical tool to diagnose thyroid problems so they can be treated early and help you regain your good health.