Reliability of finger pricked blood tests? - Thyroid UK

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Reliability of finger pricked blood tests?

Polly91 profile image

Does anyone use these private tests? Are they worth bothering with or do you need to have blood sample taken. I’m looking at getting testing done by Thrive or Medichecks. Or are other companies better?

Thanks v much

21 Replies
SlowDragon profile image
SlowDragonAdministrator

Thousands of members here use private blood tests

Can see from previous posts you have Hashimoto’s

Important to regularly retest vitamin D, folate, ferritin and B12

For full Thyroid evaluation you need TSH, FT4 and FT3 tested.

Low vitamin levels are extremely common with Hashimoto’s

Recommended on here that all thyroid blood tests should ideally be done as early as possible in morning and before eating or drinking anything other than water .

Last dose of Levothyroxine 24 hours prior to blood test. (taking delayed dose immediately after blood draw).

This gives highest TSH, lowest FT4 and most consistent results. (Patient to patient tip, best not mentioned to GP or phlebotomist)

What vitamin supplements are you currently taking?

Important to stop taking any supplements that contain biotin a week before ALL Blood tests (eg vitamin B complex) as biotin can falsely affect test results

Private tests are available as NHS currently rarely tests Ft3 or thyroid antibodies or all relevant vitamins

List of private testing options

thyroiduk.org/getting-a-dia...

Thyroid plus vitamins including folate (private blood draw required)

medichecks.com/products/thy...

Thriva Thyroid plus vitamins

thriva.co/tests/thyroid-test

Blue Horizon Thyroid Premium Gold includes vitamins

bluehorizonbloodtests.co.uk...

If you can get GP to test vitamins then cheapest option for just TSH, FT4 and FT3

£29 (via NHS private service ) and 10% off if go on thyroid uk for code

thyroiduk.org/getting-a-dia...

monitormyhealth.org.uk/thyr...

Medichecks - JUST vitamin testing including folate - DIY finger prick test

medichecks.com/products/nut...

Medichecks often have special offers, if order on Thursdays

Polly91 profile image
Polly91 in reply to SlowDragon

How do you access the private NHS service? Do you have to see a GP privately as well? Thanks

SlowDragon profile image
SlowDragonAdministrator in reply to Polly91

No it works just like Medichecks....go online...order kit

Do test as early as possible in morning on Monday or Tuesday morning. Post back via tracked 24 hour postal service. Email in day or two to say your Results are online on your own dashboard...just like Medichecks

Very good service...done via Exeter hospital

monitormyhealth.org.uk/thyr...

Also good if your GP one that says “can’t accept private test results “ .....as done by NHS

Vitamin D test kit is NHS via Birmingham hospital

vitamindtest.org.uk

RedApple profile image
RedAppleAdministrator in reply to SlowDragon

SlowDragon Polly91 MonitorMY Health also do vit D testing, so if you're getting a thyroid test from them there's no need to go to the Birmingham lab for a separate vit D kit. monitormyhealth.org.uk

Important to note though that MonitorMyHealth thyroid test does not include thyroid antibodies.

Polly91 profile image
Polly91 in reply to RedApple

Thanks RedApple

Yes it’s a shame thyroid uk don’t do antibodies that would be the perfect option

Polly91 profile image
Polly91 in reply to SlowDragon

Ignore my last message /you have everything covered ;(as always) in your links.

I really appreciate all this brilliant knowledge you Admins & other experts gather and share with the community.

Well done to you all. Thank you

SlowDragon profile image
SlowDragonAdministrator

Examples of posts with private test results

Medichecks

healthunlocked.com/search/p...

Blue Horizon

healthunlocked.com/search/p...

Thriva

healthunlocked.com/search/p...

Polly91 profile image
Polly91 in reply to SlowDragon

Thank you

I had a finger prick test based blood test by Thrive a month ago. I was interested in my vitamin D levels and liver function but the test included TSH and T4. The results came back showing high TSH and low FT4 and the advice to consult my GP. Really glad I did since GP blood test has confirmed hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's disease. I am hoping levo thyroxine will tackle the debilitating tendonitis affecting my knees and also trigger finger. So yes, I would say the Thrive finger prick based blood test is useful and gave similar results to the NHS test. However, you do need to be able to prick your finger and quite literally squeeze out sufficient blood to fill the two phials. I was however annoyed by the attitude of my GP which I don't think was very professional with regard to her view about private blood tests, and if you are not complaining about the 'classic' hypothyroid symptoms then no need to investigate.

Polly91 profile image
Polly91 in reply to DavePhoto

Very useful DavePhoto thanks.

I hope the levothyroxine helps with your symptoms. It seems hypothyroidism is much more common than GPs would have you believe. From what I’ve read it seems up to 50% of the population has low thyroid function and it increases with age. It’s also the likely cause of many chronic conditions such as coronary artery disease and arthritis.

It’s great to have this site with so many informed people taking responsibility for their health when sadly the NHS can’t/won’t help due to resource issues (& sometimes lack of knowledge)

SeasideSusie profile image
SeasideSusieAdministrator in reply to Polly91

Polly91

DavePhoto said

However, you do need to be able to prick your finger and quite literally squeeze out sufficient blood to fill the two phials.

No you don't, squeezing the blood out damages it and the results wont be reliable.

Here are my tips for a fingerprick test:

* Be well hydrated, drink plenty of water the day before, and before you do the test.

* Some people take a shower before hand, some run up and down the stairs to get blood flowing. Personally, as I can't run up and down the stairs, I circle my arm round, windmill style.

* Have a bowl full of hot water, dip hand in and out, swish around, hand needs to go red. If blood flow stops, you can always swish round in the hot water again.

* Stand up to do the test. Make sure your arm is straight down when collecting the blood. Either use a small step stool to raise yourself well above the work surface, or put the collection tube on a lowish shelf. One member uses an ironing board so she can get the perfect height.

* Prick finger on the side, not the tip. I find that half way between the nail bed and tip is about right, or maybe slightly nearer the nail bed rather than the tip. I use my ring finger, but middle finger is next best for me.

* Do not squeeze your finger to get the blood out, it can damage the blood and it may not be usable

I've recently done 2 tests. The first one there was very little blood coming out which was unusual for me so I used a second finger and between the two I gradually filled the tube. However, when I checked the prick site for the first finger the actual cut was very small and as I've had some of these lancets fail before I put it down to that. When I did the second test this is what I did

* Prick my finger as usual, at the same time try and make a very slight twist with the lancet (the blade retracts very quickly). I'm not talking 90 degrees or anything, just a very slight twist to make the cut just slightly bigger, it doesn't hurt or cause a blood bath! This made a big difference, 11 generous drops of blood filled the tube in less 2 minutes.

If you supplement with Biotin, or a B complex containing it (B7), leave it off for 7 days before doing any blood tests as it can give false results when biotin is used in the testing procedure, and most labs do use it.

Video showing how to do a fingerprick test:

youtube.com/watch?v=w2JzToZ...

Polly91 profile image
Polly91 in reply to SeasideSusie

Very helpful SeasideSusie.

Thank you

SlowDragon profile image
SlowDragonAdministrator in reply to DavePhoto

DavePhoto trigger finger can be hypothyroid symptom

pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/128...

Standard starter dose of levothyroxine is 50mcg (though GP can start you on higher dose)

Bloods should be retested 6-8 weeks after each dose increase in levothyroxine

Typically dose increases up slowly in 25mcg steps until on full replacement dose of 1.6mcg per kilo of your weight....some people need more...rare to need less

Very important to regularly test vitamin D, folate, ferritin and B12 too ....these are frequently very low when hypothyroid and may need supplements to improve and may help to tolerate increasing dose levothyroxine better

Also important to test thyroid antibodies to see if caused by autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s)

Can I just add I did medichecks finger prick test I had difficulty getting blood out but eventually managed my results were surprising

TSH 0.019

T3 4.5 (3.1 - 6.8 )

T4 22.8 (12 - 22)

I spoke to my go who dropped my thyroxine to 75 And I felt awful

Three weeks later I had a venous blood test at hospital and results were very different

TSH 0.05

T3. 3 8(2.5 - 5.7)

T4 14 .3 (9-20)

I m now having a battle to get my thyroxine put back To 100

I have no thyroid

All I would say is be careful on finger prick test as I feel results weren’t t accurate for me

Piedo

Polly91 profile image
Polly91 in reply to Piedo

That’s disappointing Piedo but interesting.

Is it possible your results changed during the 3 week period between your first test and your last test as you had dropped your Thyroid medication by 25%?

Thoughts?

P

Could be drop but I wouldn’t t have thought it would drop that much in three weeks.what is interesting is my T3 is now right at bottom 3.8

Which is probably why I feel so awful

I have just resigned my self to the world of thyroid madness and this is what rest of life will be a constant battle with really strange symptoms and the ineptitude of the medical profession !

Thanks for your reply

Piedo

Manjiajk profile image
Manjiajk in reply to Piedo

The same thing happened to a friend of mine. Her GP reduced her meds to the point she couldn't function; like you she had no thyroid either. She now sees the same private endo that i do. He's increased her meds in mine with how she feels. She also has a genetic mutation that affects her ability to convert effectively. Shes currently on 400mcg of levothyroxine per day, soon to increases again. He increased my dosage considerably as well. I could PM you his details, if it would help.

Piedo profile image
Piedo in reply to Manjiajk

Thank you for replying Manjiaik

Yes please if you PM me the details of your private endocrinologist

Thank you

Piedo

Polly91 profile image
Polly91 in reply to Piedo

That’s just rubbish Piedo- you shouldn’t have to feel like that. I remember how I felt when my T3 was that low which it has been on & off for last couple of years. Even a month or so ago. No energy or drive , hair falling out, inability to sleep etc.

I have increased my dose of metavive to 4 capsules per day (spread out) which helps as it contains a bit of T3. I don’t know how much it contains but it’s enough to make a difference to me. I also take Levothyroxine 75mcg. I’m on a fair few nutritional supplements too. But it’s the low T3 that I have now learned (through this forum) that is the key and it’s the one bio marker that correlates perfectly (for me) with my symptoms.

Polly91 profile image
Polly91 in reply to Piedo

I meant to add that 3 weeks is long enough to make a difference to how I feel (even a week on a higher dose is enough for me) that I think blood results would also change accordingly. So maybe that’s why there was a difference between finger prick and venous blood tests ?

Thanks polly19

I have put my thyroxine back up to 100 as I had some in reserve

Will try and speak to gp this week problem is you can never seem to talk to same gp twice so they have no idea who you are With only phone consultations you are not seen face to face

Still onwards and upwards 😂

Piedo

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