source: Graves’ Disease & Thyroid Foundation
authors: Larry Levin, MD summary/abstract:
Thyroid lab testing is an area that can be confusing to both patients and physicians. It is a subject of controversy since some people have suggested that standard thyroid lab testing is not reliable and that alternative measures, such as axillary temperatures, or some sort of compilation of symptoms, would be more reliable in diagnosing thyroid dysfunction or monitoring thyroid therapy.
In fact, thyroid testing is an essential component of the evaluation of someone who has an abnormality of the thyroid gland, or anyone who is taking thyroid hormone. If the initial screening thyroid tests do not help provide a definite diagnosis, then there are other lab tests which are available to further evaluate the situation.
These lab tests are very specific and although there certainly are factors that can cause deviations in those lab tests, they are more reliable than some of these projective parameters that have been mentioned. Other parameters, such as axillary temperature or symptoms, can obviously be influenced by many other factors in addition to thyroid function.