First it’s important to understand that TSH can be unreliable. This means many people might be living with undiagnosed Hypothyroidism because their doctor is relying on the TSH alone. With that in mind, there are other ways for doctors to diagnose Hypothyroidism.
Many doctors feel body temperature is an accurate method of assessing thyroid function. According to Dr. Broda Barnes (1), measuring basal body temperature was the most accurate testing method. He explains that a temperature below 97.8 indicates Hypothyroidism, a temperature above 98.2 indicates hyperthyroidism. And when treatment is given for hypothyroidism the body temperature test can be used to monitor the treatment. As low temperatures rise to 98.2, hypothyroid symptoms will disappear.
There are exceptions to the body temperature test which affect the results, including pituitary gland deficiency, or adrenal fatigue.
Dr. Barnes also wrote that more information can often be brought to the physician with an ordinary thermometer than with all other thyroid test combined. Read more about how to measure and track body temperature.
Along with body temperature, a diagnosis of Hypothyroid may be determined based on the symptoms. From my personal experience, I had many of the Hypothyroid symptoms (though not all). With treatment, and as my body temperature rose these Hypothyroid symptoms did disappear as Dr. Barnes indicated would happen. Sometimes we don’t even recognize the symptoms because we are so accustomed to living a certain way. But as the symptoms improved I was able to recognize them better. Read the full list of Hypothyroid Symptoms
Free T3 and Free T4
According to modern approaches, many doctors including Dr. Mercola (2) feel Free T3 and Free T4 are more accurate for determining thyroid function. Mercola explains in order to optimize the hormone replacement [low thyroid], the Free T3 and Free T4 should be above the median but below the upper end of the laboratory normal reference range.
On About.com (3), Mary Shomom explains:
- The Free T4, or Free Thyroxine, normal range is approximately 0.7 to 2.0. Below range might indicate hypothyroidism.
- The Free T3, normal range is approximately 2.3 to 4.2. Below range might indicate hypothyroidism.