Radioactive Iodine Uptake Test. Non-blood thyroid tests.
TSH, FT3 and FT4 Test Results for Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism
Why do you need Radioactive Iodine Uptake Test and is it dangerous? This is a simple explanation of teh mechanism:
Because T4 contains much iodine, the thyroid gland must pull a large amount of iodine out from the blood stream in order for the gland to make an appropriate amount of T4. The thyroid has developed a very active mechanism for doing this.
Therefore, this activity can be measured by having an individual swallow a small amount of iodine, which is radioactive. The radioactivity allows the doctor to track where the iodine molecules go. By measuring the amount of radioactivity that is taken up by the thyroid gland (radioactive iodine uptake, RAIU) doctors may determine whether the gland is functioning normally.
A very high RAIU is seen in individuals whose thyroid gland is overactive (hyperthyroidism), while a low RAIU is seen when the thyroid gland is underactive (hypothyroidism). In addition to the radioactive iodine uptake, a thyroid scan may be obtained, which shows a picture of the thyroid gland.
Generally the procedure is considered if not safe, at least not dangerous. A small amount of iodine would cause that much trouble, however you definitely need a correct diagnose in order to be treated properly by your doctor. I consider that test as an additional tool to confirm a diagnose already suspected through your thyroid test results.
How to perform your own thyroid tests at home
When I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease I wasn’t very sure that my doctors send me often enough for my thyroid tests. If you have been diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism or Graves’ disease I would suggest that you perform your tests every month, so your doctor can adjust accordingly your medication. However, some of the doctors don’t agree with that, mostly because the insurance companies will pay only for certain number of tests. If your hyperthyroidism is in it’s acute form, or you’ve just being diagnosed with Graves’ Disease- and I repeat– do your thyroid tests every 4- 6 weeks the most, so the medication could be adjusted accordingly.
Back then when I was diagnosed I made a decision to order my tests and perform them at home, so I would know my thyroid condition all the time. There are a few companies that offer that type of tests and they’ll send you the results over email, or give them over the phone. It was very convenient for me, and also it happen that when properly taken they are very correct and reflect your actual thyroid condition.
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