The Thyroid Extended Profile consists of selected tests to provide a comprehensive look at the metabolism of thyroid hormones. It includes the evaluation of the central regulation and function of the thyroid gland, the production and secretion of thyroid hormones, the peripheral conversion of thyroid hormones, and additionally, the assessment of autoimmunity against the thyroid.
The Thyroid Extended Profile allows diagnosing the most common imbalances of the thyroid gland which may lead to chronic diseases. The Thyroid Extended Profile involves measuring TSH, free T4, free T3, reverse T3, and anti-TG and anti-TPO antibodies.
Why is the Thyroid Extended Profile necessary?
Thyroid abnormalities have reached epidemic proportions around the world. The hormones produced by the thyroid regulate the level of metabolism, growth, and reproduction in all cells of the human body. This means that the brain, heart, lungs, liver, skin, and all other tissues and organs of the body depend on the thyroid to maintain their metabolic level and stay healthy by producing new cells for the replacement of the old ones.
Many patients with thyroid disorders may remain undiagnosed due to the absence of symptoms or the presence of non-specific symptoms. Measurement of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) alone may not be enough or may be misleading in a variety of conditions, such as treating thyrotoxicosis, pituitary disorders, TSH resistance, or TSH-secreting tumors. In these and many other cases, the evaluation of thyroid hormones and antibodies against the thyroid can help in the diagnosis and improve the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions.
The measurement of free T4 and free T3 is the measurement of the bioactive part of this thyroid hormone. Measurement of free hormones can determine not only overt hyper- and hypothyroidism but even the marginal subclinical manifestations of thyroid dysfunction.
The measurement of reverse T3, the levels of which can increase when there is a disturbance in the peripheral conversion of T4 to active T3, is very important. Imbalance in the peripheral conversion of thyroid hormones can result from nutrient deficiencies, exposure to heavy metals, adrenal stress, enzyme deficiencies, and other chronic conditions.
Thyroid antibody testing assesses the autoimmune response and may be associated with metabolic abnormalities and hypothyroidism, even when TSH and T4 levels are within normal limits. Antibody levels in the thyroid may increase in response to trauma, intestinal dysbiosis, inflammation (including thyroiditis), or progressive thyroid degeneration.
The function of Thyroid Hormones
Thyroid hormones regulate vital functions of the body, including:
- Regulation of the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids
- Use of vitamins
- Regulation of mitochondrial function
- Control of the activity of the central and peripheral nervous system
- Control of muscle activity and muscle strength
- The heartbeat and blood flow
- Breathing and utilizing oxygen
- The secretion of other hormones
- Sexual and reproductive health
- Body weight
- Body temperature
- Cholesterol levels
Ensuring optimal thyroid function can help prevent diabetes, obesity, heart diseases, and psychiatric disorders such as depression. Thyroid hormones also play a central role in normal sexual and reproductive function in both women and men.
Symptoms and conditions associated with thyroid dysfunction
Thyroid dysfunction can lead to:
- Fatigue and inability to concentrate
- Weight loss
- Intolerance to heat
- Fluid retention
- Increased sweating
- Increased intestinal motility and diarrhea
- Stress, panic attacks, irritability
- Muscular weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Tachycardia, palpitations and hypertension
- Menstrual disorders, dysmenorrhea, perimenstrual syndrome
- Fatigue and inability to concentrate
- Weight gain
- Intolerance to the cold
- Dry skin and hair loss
- Depression and mood disorders
- Memory disorders
- Muscle cramps and myalgias
- Fluid retention and edema
- Bradycardia and hypotension
- Decreased sexual mood
- Dysmenorrhea, perimenstrual syndrome