What to ask your GP

Given the confusion surrounding the diagnosis and treatment of the various thyroid conditions and the number of times the question is asked about diagnosis (or lack of), why is there no page here that lists the requirements? In other words, what to ask your GP to test for. My GP, who is otherwise very supportive and open about my under-active thyroid, is pretty clueless about the condition, but at least she asks. But what to tell her?

So how about it Admin?

19 Replies

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  • The main website of Thyroid UK says it ALL.... thyroiduk.org.uk Menu on the left of the Home Page with lots of drop-down menus.... :-)

    Also there are many links to previous posts that can be used on the right of this page or by using the Search Box on the Green Bar....

  • No it doesn't! There's nothing on the home page that even remotely resembles what I'm asking for, namely a simple list of what to have tested. It ain't rocket science.

  • So what exactly are you asking for ? If the list of required tests on the TUK website is NOT what you want - then possibly you mean the list of vitamins and minerals. Well if that is the case then please say so....

    I linked you to the Home Page and did explain there was a menu on the Left with drop-down menus....

  • Why is this such an issue? There is no list of the required tests that I can find. One of the ever-recurring issues here is that the 'standard blood test' for the thyroid omits testing all the variables, hence GPs are constantly telling patients, 'your T4 is ok', or whatever and either not prescribing or under-prescribing. It's a constant theme here, hence my call for a 'checklist', that's all.

    BTW, there is no menu on the left. On the right we have, 'Recently Viewed Posts', 'Followed Posts', 'Followed Users', and finally, 'Invite Friends' but no 'FAQ, What to ask your doctor to test for'.

  • If you read my first reply to you - you will read that the Menu on the left is the one on the TUK Home Page - as linked. I also mentioned it in my next reply...

    Not an issue for me at all. Just trying to help you find what it is you are looking for. A breakdown in communication somewhere !

    You are right I am not a rocket scientist.... :-)

  • If you go to: healthunlocked.com/thyroiduk there is a menu on the RIGHT. Below is a list of how to access Health Unlocked. Below that is a list of 'Newest Members / Find Members' and below that 'Support Us!'. On the left is a list of the latest posts. So aside from the Masthead there is nothing else. And neither am I a rocket scientist.

    B

  • Nothing to do with the HU Forum....as I have mentioned before it is the website of Thyroid UK....

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/testin...

    There is more if you look around the site....

    This link was posted by shaws....

  • Yeah ok but my original comment still stands as the Thyroid Home Page is just as uninformative.

    As I posted above (for the Thyroid Home Page):

    There is no menu on the left. On the right we have, 'Recently Viewed Posts', 'Followed Posts', 'Followed Users', and finally, 'Invite Friends' but no 'FAQ, What to ask your doctor to test for' or anything like it.

  • Sorry wbowles - but you are still talking about the HEALTH UNLOCKED Forum which is NOT the same as the website of Thyroid UK. I am well aware of the page you are talking about on this forum - but that is not what I linked to you....perhaps try clicking onto the link I gave you at th beginning and then you will see the Menu on the LEFT....

  • On the main Thyroiduk.org site there is a lot of info. You can also join and become a member which gives you a quarterly magazine as well. The few do a lot of background work unbeknown to us on the HU site.

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/

    For instance just a few from the left-hand side and I doubt if you asked your GP he would know anyway. Some refuse or the labs refuse to test T3 for instance:-

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/about_...

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/about_...

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/testin...

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/testin...

    There are also signs/symptoms for hypo hyper etc.

  • I am a member! And there is no info page on what to ask my GP to test for, yet the question is asked endlessly here! Instead of a handy info page with a list of what to test for (eg T4, T3, Free T3 ad infinitum), we have to hunt through posts! I'm not talking about 'background work' (whatever that is), just a simple list would do.

  • I am glad you are a member. I did link you to a list of appropriate tests. It's whether the GP will do so is another matter. There is also another link to 'Getting a Diagnosis and Starting Treatment' on the left-hand side.

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/testin...

    If you still think that this still isn't appropriate, email louise.warvill@thyroiduk.org.

    This is primarily a forum and we just advise members what's important as well as the vitamins/minerals. We aren't medically qualified and remarks/comments are usually of members' own experiences.

    There are also guidelines (on the right hand side) and I wonder if many new members read them.

  • Wbowles, on the TUK "Getting a diagnosis and Starting Treatment" page:

    Find out whether you have had any previous thyroid tests done. If you have, find out exactly which tests you have had done and make a note of them. The most common thyroid tests are Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), Free T4 (FT4) and Free T3 (FT3). Sometimes the thyroid antibody tests will be done – Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) and Thyroglobulin (TgAb) - but not often. Sometimes the receptionist will give them to you over the phone but you will probably need to go into the surgery and ask for your test results.

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/diagno...

  • OK, but most people come here and ask the question, 'What to get tested for?' The page you refer to: thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/diagno... is complicated and not specific. It kinda suggests that you might want ask for particular tests to be done but it's not clear at all.

    What we need is a definitive list of EXACTLY what to ask to be tested for. Yeah, the 'most common tests' but that's the point! The most common tests DON'T give us the answers, that's why there's so much confusion.

  • Wbowles,

    It can hardly be clearer that TSH, FT4, FT3 and TPOab and TgAB are the thyroid and antibody tests to request for underactive thyroid. The only other hypothyroid test I am aware that exists is reverse T3 but that is rarely tested by the NHS. What else do you think exists that should be requested?

    When people on the forum ask which tests they require they are told which thyroid tests to ask for and often which vitamin/mineral tests to request and are often linked to the relevant TUK pages which contain fuller information in Getting a Diagnosis &/or Hypothyroidism. Vit/mineral tests which may be useful are discussed at the bottom of the TUK Hypothyroidism page:

    The body needs various vitamins and minerals to enable the thyroid to work properly. Deficiency in some of these vitamins and minerals can cause similar symptoms to thyroid disease. It may therefore be a good idea to have other tests such as B12, folate and ferritin.

    There has been a lot of research recently on vitamin D so testing for this vitamin might also be a good idea.

    If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, as long as you are not deficient in vitamins and minerals, you are on the thyroid medication that is best for you and the correct dosage of the thyroid medication that is best for you, you should, hopefully, see great improvement in your health.

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/about_...

  • You'd do better to ask your GP, if s/he knows how the thyroid works, which is the active hormone, why TSH testing on its own is not useful ... but it's hard to do that without causing offence.

    TSH, FT3, FT4, antibodies, ferritin, B12, folate (at least). But they'll just do TSH, so order your own private tests.

  • Dear Angel,

    Please see my latest response, hopefully it addresses the issues you raise.

    Bee

  • I owe somebody an apology I'm just not sure who. So apologies all round. It's down to the confusion between Thyroid UK and this blog. All my comments have been about here, not Thyroid UK! I rarely go there but it was where I read their intro to the Thyroid (Getting a Diagnosis and Starting Treatment) that I found confusing and overlong and which prompted my question. If I was to use Getting a Diagnosis... before visiting my doctor, I wouldn't know what to say. It doesn't say, ask for this and this, blah, blah... it's simple. Instead it hums and harrs... perhaps not wanting to offend?

    But my original comment still stands judging by the sheer volume of people here who ask this same question; what do I ask my doctor for? A clear, and concise FAQ is clearly needed. As the people on this blog state, over and over again, most GPs are clueless about the thyroid! Surely this is why most of us are here, precisely because we can't rely on our GPs for answers let alone remedies. My GP admits to being in the dark and wants me to help her, hence my question as the 'full' Thyroid blood test, done at St. Thomas's is anything but but full. Given as it's a disease that is ONLY identified by a blood test, makes it doubly important to do it right. I still don't know what to tell my GP.

    And this is without dealing with alternatives to thyroxine. It's such a complex problem that obviously has more than one solution. Thyroid problems seem to affect everybody differently. Thyroxine clearly works for some but not others. I think this is why it's so important to start off on the right foot. Seven years ago, if I'd been informed about my condition and the medication, I might well have turned it down as taking it, led to three years of hell before my body acclimated to it (I assume).

  • I think it's better to look at the testing in blocks like stepping stones. No doctors is likely to look at everything in one go as it costs money and you may not need them all. So my recommended way of progress would be to get the basics done and get and then post your results and I'm sure you will get suggestions, depending on your results, on where to step next. Then visit your GP to hear his advice and take it from there. I think the slight downside of a forum is that we tend to think we need the treatment that we hear others wanting without realising that they have tried the easier alternatives and found they don't work well. But they do work for many and you may well be one those those. If not then you have to look at your results and seek an alternative and that's where the suggestions from the forum are so helpful.

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