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Old 05-18-2006, 10:55 AM   #1
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What do these tests tell you???? If anything...

Just a quick question. I am new to this. My cardiologist tested T3 uptake and T4 total? What do these mean and what do they tell you? I don't have any results yet, but was just curious what they are actually checking for. Thanks!

 
Old 05-18-2006, 11:20 AM   #2
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Re: What do these tests tell you???? If anything...

Hi Delia,
The T4 Total tells you how much TOTAL T4 (Thyroxine) is in your blood - bound and unbound. Some of the T4 is bound and cannot be used in the same way the unbound can - that is why WE prefer the Free T4 test.

T3 Uptake -This is a test that confuses me. And I guess it does others. It is something about the proteins that carry thyroid around in your blood stream. I think it is supposed to tell you the Free T4 somehow, but someone else, I am sure, can explain it better.
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Old 05-18-2006, 12:16 PM   #3
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Re: What do these tests tell you???? If anything...

T3 uptake has nothing at all to do with the patient's own T3. It's an antiquated test used in conjunction with total T4 to make a mathematical calculation that arrives at an estimate of free T4. Stupid, huh? Don't have an earthly clue why MDs don't just order the free T4 test itself.
A direct measure is always better than an estimate. (Who on earth would sign a real estate contract, for example, based on an estimate of what the property is worth rather than an actual price?!)

 
Old 05-18-2006, 01:15 PM   #4
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Re: What do these tests tell you???? If anything...

It's probably cheaper and easier to do????
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Old 05-19-2006, 04:40 AM   #5
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Re: What do these tests tell you???? If anything...

Thanks you two. So are these really the wrong tests then? Should I ask for different ones than these? I am sorry, I am just so confused with all of this. I have been on a beta blocker now for about a month and a half and am going back for a follow up with my cardiologist on Monday. The beta blocker seemed to be working great at first, but now I am becoming well aware of my out of whack racing pulse again. Not as much, but when first starting the med it seemed to completely go away and it was great. Now it seems to be coming back a little more each day. And the shakiness too...as I type this my hands are just shaking away! I just wish I could find SOME cause of all this. And if it's not my thyroid then I don't know what else to think unless I am just a crazy woman whose body likes to work at the speed of light. Now I feel a little discouraged that they aren't even doing the right tests so I won't know anyway. Any suggestions?

 
Old 05-19-2006, 06:39 AM   #6
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Re: What do these tests tell you???? If anything...

I can only assume from here... The cardio is trying to determine if your thyroid is overactive, I think. The better screening tests for this would be TSH and free T4 (not the estimated FT4), and perhaps FT3. If TSH is very low and FT4 high, that would be the likely explanation for your cardio symptoms.

If you are found to be hyperthyroid, followup tests should be done to determine the reason and to plan a course of treatment.

You should also know that low thyroid can also manifest significant cardio symptoms.
Hope you figure it all out soon. You sound miserable.

 
Old 05-19-2006, 07:34 AM   #7
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Re: What do these tests tell you???? If anything...

Midwest,
Thanks for your advice. Yes, I am miserable. I don't understand if that is what he is suspecting then why he wouldn't do the RIGHT tests, shouldn't doctors know this stuff? There are several people in my family with thyroid issues, all but my dad are hyperthyroid, he is hypothyroid, and my mom's sister has Graves Disease, which if I am understanding correctly is an autoimmune type hyperthyroid? Is that right? My mom went to the cardiologist with me and explained to him that I have all the same symptoms her sister had for years, and she wasn't diagnosed with Graves Disease until she was in her 50's. My dad also said that his mom and both sisters also started out with the same "racing heart" thing. So I just have a hard time believing that there is "no cause" which from what I've been told by my regular doctor is probably the case with me. Needless to say though that when your heart is beating at 158, you feel a bit uncomfortable. The list goes on though, the elevated pulse isn't the only thing. I just wish the doctor would've tested the right things to begin with. I was so excited that he was taking a further approach than just testing TSH which is what the regular doctor always tests. So I am a little frustrated. Well, when I go in Monday, if I can get a copy of my results, can I post them here an at least get opinions on the ones he did do?

 
Old 05-19-2006, 07:54 AM   #8
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Re: What do these tests tell you???? If anything...

Oh sure... you can post your results. Someone should be able to give you some guidance about them.

I absolutely think your strong family history is indicative you have a thyroid issue as well.

Truthfully, I would NOT expect a cardio to know all the particulars of testing for thyroid. I think it's enough to expect that he understands that thyroid can affect the heart, and that's about all. I am positive there are cardios that would never think to investigate thyroid as a cause for heart symptoms. Consider yourself lucky yours knows this much.

Amazingly, most endocrinologists are the most uneducated about thyroid disease than many other specialities, so you can't expect miracles from them either. (My DD once encountered a podiatrist - of all things! - who knew enough about thyroid symptoms to test her TSH when she went to him for foot pain. He didn't know exactly how to interpret the test correctly, but I give him tons of credit for understanding the link between feet and thyroid.)

Given your family history, you absolutely need these tests, and no less:
TSH
Free T4
Free T3
Anti-thyroid antibodies - TSI, Tg, and TPO (These indicate the autoimmune form of hyperT, Graves' disease)

If someone eventually diagnoses you with Graves', consider your treatment options thoughtfully and carefully. Do NOT let yourself be rushed into radioactive iodine ablation of your gland. I once met a person here who was diagnosed on Friday and scheduled for RAI on Tuesday! That's unconscionable.

Will look forward to seeing your results.

 
Old 05-19-2006, 02:52 PM   #9
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Re: What do these tests tell you???? If anything...

Thanks again Midwest. I am also looking forward to seeing my results! I called for them a while back a few times and no one ever called me back. My GP had the results of the echo which thankfully was normal, but for some reason the cardiologist only sent those results and not the blood tests to him? Anyway, I am interested to see them as well. Yes, I have heard that autoimmune diseases are common in families. My brother and I both have Psoriasis and couldn't figure out where it came from for a long time because no one else that we knew of had it....then with a little more reading we figured out that it was an autoimmune disease as is Graves. So that makes sense. I will post my results here on Monday when I get them. I guess I really shouldn't expect the cardio to know a lot about thyroid issues, I guess I just got so excited because he seemed to take more of an interest in it than my GP ever has. Anyway, thanks again for listening and for all your help, I really appreciate your advice.

Last edited by Delia79; 05-19-2006 at 02:56 PM.

 
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