Why 3 tests are better than 1


It’s morning and you just can’t seem to get going.   When you do get up you can hardly think.  Every move seems to be a chore, and multi-tasking means writing down the 3 things you have to do that day.

You look at the list and say, OMG!  

Yes, doing the dishes, vacuuming the living room and cooking dinner have just become your Mt. Everest when once it was the equivalent of walking over the highest hill in Miami.

You know something’s not quite right.  You feel a bit dizzy but your family doctor can’t find anything wrong, so he orders a thyroid test he calls T3 and T4 just to rule that out.  The T3 is normal and the T4 is slightly low, but nothing to worry about.

That’s when he says the “D” word.

You know you’re not depressed.  You just know it.  But if the doctor says you need 3 kinds of anti-depressants and need to go on a homeland security watchlist, who are you to protest?


  1.  It’s your body
  2. M.D. is not spelled G.O.D.
  3. Ask for a specialist called an Endocrinologist.  S/he may not be God, but S/he’ll run the tests needed to rule out anything going wrong that might be related to your hormone levels.

How do I know so much?  I don’t.  I’m not God, I just happen to have a body that went through the mill before finding the best endocrinologist EVER.  For this round of blood tests, he requested not only the T3, T4 and TSH but also tests for kidney function, liver function, lipids and stuff like glucose, sodium and potassium.

  • kidney/liver/anything not related to thyroid was normal
  • T3 was normal
  • T4 was a little low
  • TSH was over 2 times higher than normal  (4.500 is the high range of normal.  Mine was almost 11)


TSH =  Thyroid Stimulating Hormone.  It comes from the pituitary gland.

The Thyroid produces T3 and T4

The pituitary gland stimulates the thyroid to release T3 and T4 (it also regulates the ovaries, testicals and adrenals)

But the Hypothalamus releases a hormone that tells the pituitary gland to make the Thyroid produce T3 and T4.


Think of the

  • Pituitary gland as “dad”
  • Hypothalamus as “mom” &
  • Thyroid as the lazy-ass teenager.

Mom:   Get out of bed and do the dishes!

Kid:     I don’t wanna!  (pulls cover over head)

Mom:  The dishes aren’t going to do themselves.

Dad:   You heard your mother!  Move it.  

Mom:  Don’t just stand there screaming at him, make him get up!

Dad:  (Pushes the kid off the bed and onto the floor)  How many times do I have to kick start you before you’ll get off your lazy ass and do something!

Kid:  (sighs and pulls himself off the floor).  All right, but first….

Mom:  No but firsts!  

Dad:  Move, move, move  (pushing kid to the sink)

Mom:  (takes the kid by the hand, puts the dish in his hand, puts a sponge in the other hand and makes him do each and every dish and then falls into the chair).   Why am I so exhausted!

Dad:  You think you’re exhausted!  I’m the one who got his ass out of bed!  He’s through with the dishes.  Now it’s time for him to take out the trash.

If someone comes in off the street, Dad looks like a raging maniac, mom looks like she’s just being lazy laying there snoozing in the recliner, and the kid did the dishes.

When you get the 3 tests done for thyroid function, and you have  the differences in the 3 tests, your doctor can tell if it’s mom, dad, or the kid that’s the problem.  

  • TSH:  OMG!   I’m so d@#%ed overworked I can’t think and I’m tired all the time!  Someone PLEASE help me!
  • T4:     I’m feeling a bit low.
  • T3:    The dishes are done

Yes…in my case, it’s the kids fault, but…

If all you look at is whether or not the dishes were done, everything looks normal.