T3 levels checked on the NHS?

Can I ask...has anyone else successfully managed to get T3 levels checked on the NHS? If not have you been to see someone privately that you would recommend in the South East of England? I have been taking Levothyoxine now on 75 micrograms after 3 years but still have so many symptoms so they gave me another blood test for iron deficiency and they found low iron levels and gave me a course for 3 months. I am going for yet another blood test check. Last results were creeping back up at 3.1 (originally 9.52) My GP won't test my T3 levels so i am considering going private but obviously would like to go and see someone who comes recommended!

Your help would be very much appreciated.

41 Replies

  • You could just order your own tests. You don't need to pay for a doctor AND tests.


  • Thanks, maybe I will treat myself to Thyroid Plus test for Christmas?! Only trouble being i wouldn't be able to understand the results myself and if they are bad where/who do i then go to get medication to help?

  • Genova does supply a little bit of feedback with the results sometimes, if things are out of range. But you would get all the help you needed if you copied your results into a post on here. The combined knowledge of this group is probably greater than most GPs or endocrinologists. Once you've got some feedback you could show the results to your GP if you thought it would be helpful.

    If your GP was still being uncooperative about helping you, then you could change GPs, ask for a referral to an endocrinologist, or you could self-medicate like so many of us do.

  • thank you humanbean, i have no doubt that this group has indeed more knowledge than the docs :-) I will order a kit today!

  • I recently asked for T3 on nhs & was told not necessary when doing TF3 &Tf4. Is this true I wonder or was I fobbed of and like Fiona need to consider arranging myself?

    Fiona did you have FT3 & 4 but refused T3?x

  • Hi, last tests were back in March so i can't remember what they were for without checking with the doctor. I will be booking another tomorrow so will check! Thanks for responding so quickly

  • Jellynpain, Free T3 (FT3) and Free FT4 (FT4) are the tests you need. The 'free' means that the unbound T3 and T4 is measured, ie the the amount of available/useful T4 and T3 circulating in your blood .

    Total T3 (TT3) and Total T4 (TT4) aren't often used nowadays as FT3 and FT4 are considered better tests. TT3 and TT4 measure the total amount of T3 and T4 circulating, but much of this will be bound to other proteins and much of it is unavailable to work in your cells to relieve hypothyroid symptoms.

  • Thanks Clutter. Sorry to ask you more... my ft3 is 5 (range 2.6 - 5.7) &ft4 12 (range 9 - 19), Folate 4.7 (4.8 - 19)& tsh 3.4 (0.4 - 5). I have loads more.

    My question is with my Ft levels, being hypo type poorly, could I have a conversion problem?

    I have half a thyroid (non surgery) & small micro adenoma.


  • Jellynpain, Your FT3 is excellent in the top 75% of range. Kinda surprising as your TSH is so high and your FT4 isn't midway in range. Looks like you're converting very well at the moment.

    Folate is below range so you are folate deficient and your GP should prescribe folic acid to correct it.

  • Thanks Clutter, much appreciated x

  • Ok, thanks.x

  • If your GP refuses, yes you can get a Private blood test. Often we have low T3 levels when first diagnosed and even when on levo we may not convert sufficient to T3. You can get pin-prick test by Blue Horizon and discount if you put Thyroiduk as your consultant. You can phone and ask costs from these labs:


    75mcg is a low dose and you do need a rise if your TSH is rising. Dont take levo on the morning of your blood test which you should have as early as possible, take it afterwards.

  • According to our area NHS lab

    the only way they will test T3 is if your GP puts Central Hypothyroid on the request form

  • i'm going to push for a referral to an endocrinologist, see how i get on from there. Thanks

  • Go to the date April 22, 2007 on this link re a low dose of levo. Some of the links within may not work as the site is archived.


  • Thanks, unfortunately the links from Dr. Lowe appear lost but i think i've decided to push my doctor into referring me to an Endocrinologist and go from there!

  • The link was a bit slow appearing but I have taken an excerpt for you, just for information.

    April 22, 2007

    Question: My doctor recently diagnosed me as having hypothyroidism. She prescribed Synthroid. She started me on 50 mcg and then increased it to 75 mcg. Before starting the drug, I’d become a little foggy headed and was tired, which was unusual for me. But after starting it, I became outright miserable. I was depressed for the first time in my life, and I was so tired that I could hardly get out bed. I became constipated, and I could hardly think at all. My thinking was so bad that I was afraid I was going to lose my job. Because the drug made me so miserable and dysfunctional, I stopped it. That was three weeks ago, and I’m starting to feel better now. My doctor is convinced that I had some coincidental illness, and she wants me to start taking Synthroid again. I disagree with her. The relation is just too clear cut. I felt like crap after starting the drug, and after stopping it, I’m feeling better. Do you have any idea why I would react to the drug this way?

    Dr. Lowe: First let me say that what you experienced is fairly common. Many patients react to low-dose T4-replacement as you did—badly—regardless of the brand of T4.

    There are two potential sources I know of for people feeling awful when they are on T4-replacement. One source is the extremely low dosage that doctors typically prescribe nowadays. A low dose of T4 can effectively reduce TSH secretion. The lower TSH can in turn lower the thyroid gland’s output of thyroid hormone. At the same time, low-dose T4 may not compensate for the thyroid gland’s reduced output of thyroid hormone. The patient then has too little thyroid hormone to properly regulate the metabolism of most of her body’s tissues. She then ends up with abnormally low metabolism and troubling hypothyroid symptoms

  • thanks

  • Hi Shaws, this is what I'm experiencing at the moment. Would you have any scientific paper with this info so I can show my GP please.

  • I hope this is helpful. Again it is a study by Dr John Lowe and his staff.


  • Thank you shaws I hope that this will convince her

  • Don't be disappointed because if you read the BTAs guidelines, they usually all follow that but I do hope she takes notice and helps you. It's no wonder people self-medicate and that shouldn't be the case in the UK. This is another good link.


  • Thanks, I hope so too, not seeing doc yet but will let you know.

  • Ask if she will add some T3, to see if you benefit from that.

  • Apologies for the late reply.

    Thanks, I will try. Would this get around the problem of low TSH and low T4 ?

    (I should really have started a new thread)

  • If you aren't converting properly, the addition of T3 may be very beneficial. Some GPs aren't keen as they've been told levo alone but she may be willing to give you a trial of T3 by reducing the T4 to add T3. A trial of 2 or 3 months would be sufficient I think. It doesn't matter much where the TSH falls and if you take less T4 your results will differ.

  • Got you, thanks. :-)

  • If you haven't already done so, email louise.warvill@thyroiduk.org for a copy of the Pulse article and question 6 spells it out for your GP.

  • Think I've got the article somewhere will check it out, thanks Shaws.

  • 9make sure any endo you see is on Louise Warvills. TUK recomended list

    otherwise you will get nowhere

  • I do have the list from Louise but that list is for private doctors though isn't it?

  • I asked my Nurse Practitioner at the GP clinic to add them to my upcoming blood-test, she agreed and they were done by the lab without any special instructions which I was pleased about! Think I may have been lucky there but seems the lab (I'm in Surrey) does them without an issue so I'm hoping to get it re-tested in a few weeks too.

  • when you say you asked them to be added to your blood tests do you mean T3? Maybe i need to move counties :-)

  • Yes sorry, T3! In addition to testing my FT4 and TSH as they normally would. I managed to convince them to measure my antibodies too! Haha Surrey is nice but a bit pricey, probably way cheaper just to order the blood tests online privately!!!

  • My t3 levels are routinely checked because the doctor prescribes t3 . But if your doc won't help you why not just get them done and deal direct with the lab yourself? Then if they come back low you can press the point with your doc. Details under tests on the thyroid uk homepage. thyroiduk.org.uk

    G x

  • Thanks i will, if i don't get anywhere with persuading my doctors to do it for free rather than pay :-)

  • thanks i will if i don't get anywhere with my doctors performing the tests rather than paying for them privately!

  • I am taking NDT prescribed by the endo and at my annual blood tests I get T3, T4, ans TSH tested!!

  • Both GP and Endo check my T3. I kicked up a fuss and made a complaint to the practice manager. Not accepting dosing on T4 or TSH only. I don't have a thyroid so I will continue to put my foot down and make sure everyone they test TSH, T4 and T3.

  • Based on experiences posted on here by other people, I was gobsmacked that my T3 has been tested on both occasions it was requested (by 2 different endocrinologists) with no apparent problem at all. I only take levothyroxine.

  • Been on thyroxine 100 mc gs for a while but feel permanently tired and it feels like my insides are cold and can't get warm. had tsh checked which was normal. I also suffer from Rhuematoid arthritis and raynauds so don't know if it's all because of that. have never seen an endocrinologist but was thinking of going private. Anyone got a recommendation for the North west. thanks

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