#44: [The Problems With Lab Tests] Maybe It’s Your Thyroid Series, Part 3

Labs are a critical component to assessing thyroid health, but results aren’t always black and white. Listen to hear why you don’t want to be “normal!” In fact, there are quite a few ways your results can be misinterpreted and lead to unnecessary, ongoing symptoms.

You’ll hear:

  • How just because something is in black and white doesn’t mean it’s correct
  • Why “normal” doesn’t equate to “optimal”
  • Examples of lab results that tell a story beyond the diagnosis

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A story about looking at numbers…

Years ago, single and in my early 20’s, I bought my very first condo in Boston’s Kenmore Square. 

It was juuuuuuuust barely affordable, in all its 236 square-feet studio glory.

As a new homeowner, I was VERY aware of my income and expenses. In fact, I had a meticulous spreadsheet where I tracked every dollar.

After a few months, I took a hard look at my electricity bill and thought, “No way. This can’t be right. A couple hundred dollars for electricity each month when I’m living in 236 sq feet? I don’t think so.”

When I called the electric company they said, nope, that’s what you owe. 

Of course they did.

But that didn’t sound right to me.

Taking matters into my own hands, I went into the utility closet on the floor of my building and looked at the electric meters. Some were spinning wildly. Others, more slowly. 

Hesitantly, I went back to my unit (#307) and turned off the breaker.

In the utility closet, the meter labeled #307 continued to spin very fast. But I noticed that #310 down the hall suddenly had come to standstill.

After testing a few times…and feeling very smug…I called the electric company back and let them know the meters were mislabeled and they could go right ahead and refund me hundreds of dollars that I’d spent on unit #310’s electricity.

Just because it’s in black and white doesn’t mean it’s right.

Usually when we get something like an electric bill, we don’t question it. 

Some expert somewhere is measuring our electricity use, right?

Or maybe you get your credit score back and there it is, in black and white. The assumption is that it’s accurate.

What about lab test results from your doctor? They typically come back a few weeks after a blood draw…and, yeah. Cold hard facts in black and white.

Or are they?

Everything’s “normal”

A client of mine recently had her thyroid tested. 

When we spoke she said, “Welp, nothing on the thyroid front. Everything came back normal. My doctor said I’m fine.”

I said, REALLY? You’ve had so many symptoms of low thyroid…let’s take a look at those.

And sure enough, while her TSH was in “normal” range…

(Here’s the kicker…)

”Normal” range does NOT mean “optimal” range. 

When thyroid function is measured, it’s compared to the average in the population. 

But who cares what the “average” is? Or what’s “normal” in the population? 

You want your thyroid functioning in a range that’s OPTIMAL for good health.

You’re “fine”

There were some other problems with my client’s test results. 

Her Reverse T3 was very high. Like, outlandishly high. Her body is storing energy for some reason. 

And while her Free T4 was in optimal range, her Free T3 was very low. That points to a potential conversion problem.

And finally, I’m looking at her labs and it’s very clear that her body is producing thyroid antibodies. That is an indicator of Hashimoto’s, or autoimmune hypothyroidism.

Now, I’m not a doctor. I’m not here to diagnose anyone with anything.

But I could see 4 potential problems with how her labs were getting interpreted. 

At the VERY least my client deserved more than “you’re fine.”

Which lab tests do you need?

There’s a whole panel of lab work that should be done when your thyroid is tested. 

Most doctors will only run one test. 

That’s like wanting to know why your car won’t start and the mechanic just looks at the gas gauge. Oh, you have gas in the tank? You’re fine! But you’re NOT fine. The car won’t start.

For a list of labs you should ask for (as well as some other talking points to bring up with your doctor if you’ve been experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidism – stubborn weight, exhaustion, anxiety, brain fog, hair loss, aches and pains, the list goes on…) download my free Thyroid Solution Kit.

And remember, labs aren’t the whole story

The truth is, sometimes your symptoms are speaking very loudly but the labs barely show a blip. 

I believe in looking at both your labs AND your symptoms. One isn’t more important than the other — they are BOTH important.

Could it be your thyroid?

Your thyroid reacts to chronic stress, which is why high-achieving women can so suddenly be knocked down. Your thyroid also reacts to years of restrictive dieting, chemicals in the environment, toxicity in relationships, and a schedule that’s way too overbooked.

Download my solution kit, go get those labs done and I’d be very happy to chat about your results with you. 

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