What does the term thyroid panel mean? Does that refer to a specific group of tests and if so, which ones are they? Or is it a general term used for thyroid testing? The doctors just keep saying, "Your thyroid panel is normal?" I don't know what they've tested?
a thyroid panel is at least: a TSH, free t4, free t3, and thyroid antibodies -- unfortunately i don't know the ranges for anything but the TSH (lost the most recent damn lab report) ... most offices should be happy to give you a copy, because after all -- it's your info!!
you should ask for the numbers AND lab ranges, if you feel unwell, because i was dx'd hypo at a TSH of 3.9, when the normal range is 0.5 to 5.0 at most labs (so that's why they say "you're normal" -- the receptionist tried that one on me, too) ... i felt just AWFUL and did not know what was happening to me -- i had thought i was having a nervous breakdown for at LEAST six months!! i started on 50, then 75mcg synthroid, now i've bumped up to 100 ...
A panel is just a group of tests routinely run at the same time. For MOST doctors, a thyroid panel includes these tests:
* T4 Total (aka Thyroxine or simply T4)
* T3 Uptake (aka T Uptake--not a T3 test at all, but a measure of thyroid hormone binding proteins used to calculate the next value)
* Free Thyroxine Index (aka FTI, Calculated Free T4 or T7--this is a CALCULATED value and as such is not very accurate compared to a direct measure of Free T4)
The above panel is outdated and not nearly as informative as the next list. Smarter docs will run these tests instead:
* Free T4 (aka Free Thyroxine or T4, Free)
* Free T3 (aka Free Triiodothyronine or Triiodothyronine, Free)
If your doctor feels that you have unusual thyroid binding protein levels, he may add Total T4 as well as the Free T4 to compare those values.
If a doctor suspects Hashimoto's or Graves, they might also add antibodies testing to the panel, but this is an exception to the rule. If you have a doctor that runs the tests on the second list and includes antibodies as well, consider yourself lucky.
I am not a doctor, nor have I ever played one on TV...