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What Does the Thyroid Do?

What does the thyroid gland do? What do thyroid tests mean?

By
Rob Lamberts, MD,
May 26, 2010
Episode #048

Page 4 of 4

The TSH is most important: The TSH level tells us the pituitary gland’s opinion of the need for thyroid hormone. The pituitary is much smarter than doctors, so if the TSH level is in the normal range, most of the time, the levels of T4 and T3 are good.

Use Free Hormone Tests: We now have good tests to determine the levels of Free T3 and Free T4 only, so you shouldn’t get tested for the total T3 and T4; that only adds to the confusion. Most primary care doctors and endocrinologists understand this, but many other doctors order the total T3 and T4 and get confused with the result. I can’t complain, because they send these patients to me so I can interpret the results.

Sorry I couldn’t give a more precise explanation of what thyroid hormones do than to call it a carburetor, but it beats telling you “It controls your metabolism.” I will post some more details on the thyroid hormone levels on my facebook page. Stay tuned for the next article where I will cover thyroid problems.

You can also check out Girlfriend MD's article "Do You Need Hormone Balancing?" for more information.

If you have topics that you want me to cover, send them to housecalldoctor@quickanddirtytips.com, or you can submit them to me on twitter or my Facebook page.

Let me once again remind you that this podcast is for informational purposes only. My goal is to add to your medical knowledge and translate some of the weird medical stuff you hear, so when you do go to your doctor, your visits will be more fruitful. I don’t intend to replace your doctor; he or she is the one you should always consult about your own medical condition.

Catch you next time! Stay Healthy!

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