Alternative Hypothyroidism Tests Are Necessary For Determining An Underactive Thyroid

Why are the Alternative hypothyroidism tests perceived to be so important by those in the natural therapy arena?

Why would we even bother with such extra tests, when a range of 'normal', medically accepted thyroid tests already exist – such as the TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone); T3 (triiodothyronine); T4 (thyroxine), or checks for various thyroid antibodies?

The main reason is that – as explored on this site: - most people experiencing hypothyroidism didn't get to the full-blown phase of this health condition overnight.

Most People Slowly Drift Into Hypothyroidism

Inevitably, there is a slow slide into this disease, rather than some sudden, quantum jump into full-blown hypothyroidism. The latter can happen, but is then more likely to have occurred due to surgery, or due to an over-treatment with radioactive iodine for hyper-thyroidism.

However, for most people drifting into full-blown hypo-thyroidism, there is often a rather large window period during which the 'normal' thyroid tests aren't sensitive enough to pick up that early stage of an under-functioning (vs mal-functioning) thyroid – in other words, that subclinical phase of a gland going into early decline.

This has important ramifications, because it also means that there will be many people suffering genuine symptoms of an underactive thyroid, yet not being picked up by medicine - and therefore also not receiving treatment for symptoms which are nevertheless very treatable!

Hence, we need to look at how the 'normal' thyroid tests (especially the TSH) can be interpreted in a more sensitive way, as well as augmenting such 'normal' thyroid test results with a range of alternative hypothyroidism tests we'll discuss below. This will allow for an earlier diagnosis of thyroid gland dys-function – before it goes into full mal-function.

Want To Skip Ahead In This 'Alternative Hypothyroidism Tests' Discussion?

The following dialogue will obviously flow more logically if you read it as it unfolds below. However, if you're in a hurry and wish to initially focus on one specific point, then simply click on any of the links in the blue box, directly below, in order to jump ahead.

Each Additional Holistic Test Provides Another Pixel To The Overall Picture Of Subclinical Hypothyroidism
Basal Body Temperature Test
Resting Pulse Rate As An Hypothyroidism Test
Iridology As An Alternative Way Of Testing For Hypothyroidism
Other Alternative Tests For Hypothyroidism
Simple Tests For Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal Fatigue Test No. 1 - Pupil Contractibility
Adrenal Fatigue Test No. 2 - Blood Pressure Test
Adrenal Fatigue Test No. 3 - Vein Collapse Test
All These Adrenal Fatigue Tests Need To Be Considered Together
Combining Results From Alternative Tests Provides Potent Diagnostic Value
One Final Word On Alternative Tests For Hypothyroidism

Each Additional Holistic Test Provides Another Pixel To The Overall Picture Of Subclinical Hypothyroidism

By themselves, each single alternative hypothyroidism test discussed below may not seem particularly adequate or powerful. However, when viewed in conjunction with a carefully chosen cluster of such tests, they can add a valuable edge to determining the earlier stages of an underactive thyroid.

It's important to emphasize that this 'sub-clinical' (not visible via normal clinical means) form of hypothyroidism is particularly difficult, if not impossible to detect if one solely uses the regular thyroid test results obtained via the TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone); T3 (triiodothyronine) or T4 (thyroxine) results. So, let's explore some other diagnostic options.

Basal Body Temperature Test

We've already discussed the use of the basal body temperature test, a very easy-to-do assessment for detecting an underactive thyroid.

Remember, one primary role of the thyroid gland is to keep our body warm. Hence, body temperature can become a useful and diagnostically relevant way of measuring how efficient that thyroid gland is in producing body heat. This alternative hypothyroidism test therefore provides a very real, clinical measure of thyroid status.

Knowing how much TSH, T3 or T4 hormone is floating around our bodies only provides a quantitative, not qualitative measure of those hormones, and does not automatically give any indication of how effective those hormones actually are – only how much hormone there is.

In contrast, the basal body temperature, as one of the alternative hypothyroidism tests, does provide us with a more genuinely functional view of how well the thyroid gland is, or is not working.


Resting Pulse Rate As An Alternative Hypothyroidism Test

Another important diagnostic 'pixel', which can help indicate thyroid problems, is to measure the resting pulse rate. The average pulse rate should be 72 – 85 beats per minute.

If it is consistently less than 70, one interpretation – particularly in someone coming in with many symptoms of thyroid disease – is that of hypothyroidism, or a sluggish thyroid.

But note that this has to be differentiated from the situation found in fit and healthy athletes, who inevitably also have a lower than normal pulse rate. In such cases, however, their low pulse rate would obviously not be presenting concurrently with many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Iridology As An Alternative Hypothyroidism Test

From an orthodox medical perspective, the next technique to be discussed for testing hypothyroidism type 2, or an underactive thyroid, may not be given much credence.

Nevertheless, for those readers who are natural therapists, you might like to include iridology in your diagnostic array, checking for classic iris signs related to the thyroid, liver, kidneys and adrenals.

Precisely how these organ systems do link into hypothyroidism type 2, or subclinical hypothyroidism have already been briefly touched on.


Other Alternative Hypothyroidism Tests

The adrenals play a particularly important role in the overall viability of thyroid gland function, and therefore are worth testing too. Once again, we're not necessarily looking for a full-blown adrenal mal-function – as seen in Addison's Disease.

However, even 'adrenal fatigue' (something that most doctors, unfortunately, still don't believe in) can have significant effects on thyroid function, and the following tests can be most useful in determining this level of adrenal dys-function (vs mal-function).

Simple Tests For Adrenal Fatigue

In clinical practice, it's useful to tease out which symptoms are related to the adrenals, and which to the thyroid. This knowledge can have important ramifications as to which treatment choices are subsequently instigated in managing thyroid disease.

Hence, another set of alternative hypothyroidism tests involve looking at thyroid status via adrenal status.

So, how can one specifically detect a level of subclinical hypoadrenalism, or adrenal fatigue? To this end, there are several clinically orientated tests which can be done to explicitly measure 'adrenal fatigue', or subclinical hypoadrenia.


Adrenal Fatigue Test No. 1 - Pupil Contractibility

One such test is done via the eyes, checking for pupil contractibility. Here, we are looking for a sluggish and weakened contraction of the pupil to a light stimulus; this is called 'Ragland’s Sign'.

Place the person in a darkish room for a few minutes so as to allow the pupils to dilate. Then, using a thin beam of light – via a 'pencil' torch, for instance – shine this across; not into – the eyes. Initially, the pupil should contract, and steadily maintain that contraction.

However, in a state of adrenal depletion, it has been found that the strength of pupil contraction is impaired, and what you will see instead is an inability of the pupil to remain contracted for greater than 30 seconds - or less - before dilating again.

If the pupils start to dilate rather quickly, or if they almost 'flutter' between a state of contraction and then dilation, these signs can be read as a state of adrenal fatigue or subclinical hypoadrenia.

Adrenal Fatigue Test No. 2 - The Blood Pressure Test

Another clinically orientated test, which can be used as an indirect alternative hypothyroidism test, is to use the person’s lying and standing blood pressures. Here, the person is allowed to lie down for about 5 minutes before the blood pressure is taken.

While ensuring the blood pressure cuff is kept on, next, ask them to stand up, and as soon as they do another reading is taken.

Normally, the systolic (upper blood pressure reading) should go up by 8-10 mm of mercury, due to the sympathetic nervous system kicking in (this response directly affects adrenal secretions such as adrenalin, which is vasoconstrictive).

If, however, the systolic remains the same, and especially if it drops compared to the reading obtained while they were lying down, then this may be read as a further indicator of adrenal fatigue.

In other words, the sort of result we are looking for would be a lying-down reading of say, 120/75, while the second reading, upon standing falls to perhaps 110/70. The bigger the drop of the systolic (upper) reading, the greater the degree of adrenal depletion found.

Two points need to be made here: firstly, ensure the person is adequately hydrated, as dehydration can also influence such a systolic drop.

Secondly, in an adrenal depletion situation, remember, that one of the things that can happen is postural hypotension – or fainting! So, do be aware of this possibility, and ensure the person's safety is always maintained.

It also needs to be noted that some people with hyper-tension (high blood pressure) can still be hypo-adrenic, and nonetheless manifest this systolic drop when tested as above.


Adrenal Fatigue Test No. 3 - Vein Collapse Test

A final clinical sign to look for in 'adrenal fatigue', or hypoadrenia, is the rate at which the veins on the upper part of the hand collapse upon holding the arms parallel to the heart.

In other words, first get the person to hang their arms down; perhaps even get them to gently swing their arms so as to maximally dilate the veins on the upper part of the hand.

When you can see that the veins are nicely dilated, ask them to suddenly raise their arms up level with their heart. If the veins start to collapse within 5-10 seconds, this may further indicate a situation of adrenal fatigue or depletion. The quicker the veins collapse, the stronger an indication of adrenal weakness.

All These Adrenal Fatigue Tests Need To Be Considered Together

When all these tests are taken into consideration, along with a thorough clinical assessment of the person's symptoms, then the combination can help indicate a level of subclinical hypoadrenia – adrenal depletion.

And if adrenal fatigue or depletion is indicated, this can become one of various other important alternative hypothyroidism tests to take into consideration when trying to diagnose a subclinical state of hypo-thyroidism.

Such subclinical hypoadrenia may not show up in the ACTH Challenge Test, usually used to diagnose full-blown Addison's Disease (adrenal failure). And it certainly would not show up if the 'normal' reference range of the ACTH Test were the sole diagnostic yard-stick to which any credence is given.

At present, the 'normal' interpretation of the ACTH Challenge Test results tends to only pick up on the more advanced stages of adrenal exhaustion, or failure.


Combining Results From Alternative Hypothyroidism Tests Provides Potent Diagnostic Value

The alternative hypothyroidism tests discussed here do need to be seen within the overall perspective of collating all the test results outlined above, along with a comprehensive symptom picture provided by the person themselves.

It is true that one would not want to rely solely on a basal temperature test or a low pulse rate, let alone a range of signs found in the iris as being definitive for hypothyroidism. However, when one takes into consideration:

• A low basal body temperature test result

• A low pulse measurement

• Alternative hypothyroidism tests, via various adrenal fatigue measurements

• An increased r-T3 (despite normal TSH/T4/T3 levels)

• A TSH of 2.0 or more

• Positive results for various thyroid auto-antibodies

• As well as a range of iris signs – for those trained in this technique...

...then a combination of such alternative hypothyroidism tests does at least start to point the finger towards a more viable diagnosis of subclinical hypothyroidism.

In other words, we're trying to diagnose a form of sluggish thyroid, which is still in the early stages of starting to slide towards dys-function, rather than being in full-blown mal-function.

Hopefully, it is now more apparent how such a combined approach to formulating a diagnosis of hypothyroidism will give credence to the fact that a person presenting with many thyroid-like symptoms does indeed have a real health issue needing treatment – even if their 'regular' thyroid test results all seem to come back as 'normal'.

One Final Word On Alternative Hypothyroidism Tests

It needs to be remembered that although 'diagnosis-by-treatment' is an often neglected concept, it nevertheless does provide for a viable way in which to determining whether someone does suffer a form of subclinical hypothyroidism.

Here, you can instigate a careful chosen range of natural remedies for hypothyroidism, aimed at improving thyroid gland function – and watching for thyroid symptoms to improve.

In other words, having someone with suspected hypothyroidism improve, after being started on a specific treatment protocol - known from clinical experience to reverse low thyroid symptoms - in itself can be viewed as a diagnostic validation of hypothyroidism.

'Diagnosis-by-treatment' is one of the alternative hypothyroidism tests well worth considering in thyroid disease – (as in many other health issues too!) - and can be most effective, safe and confirmatory when done correctly.


"Knowledge empowers; intuition guides – both are needed to succeed in Life's Journey"

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