Click here to listen to a reading of this blog:
THIS POST HAS BEEN SPONSORED BY BLue HOrizon Blood Tests. ALTHOUGH AS ALWAYS, ALL THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.
I’m not a stranger to ordering my own extra testing online. Over the years, I’ve ordered and completed several, and when Blue Horizon (an online testing company) asked if I would give their Thyroid Check Plus Fifteen blood test a go, the timing was perfect since I was due a thyroid panel check anyway, following a medication dosage increase eight weeks prior. They offered me a discounted test kit.
The Thyroid Check Plus Fifteen kit includes:
- Free T4
- Free T3
- Total T4
- Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies
- Thyroglobulin Antibodies
- Vitamin B12
- C Reactive Protein
- Vitamin D
- Reverse T3
Which is a lot of stuff. And I was excited to finally have my Reverse T3 tested, which I’ve never had done before (as it’s pretty impossible on the NHS over here in the UK) as well as markers for diabetes and pre-diabetes as it’s something else we’re at a higher risk for, as thyroid patients. I was looking forward to this comprehensive testing.
Why Might You Benefit From Ordering Your Own Thyroid Tests?
Most doctors only tend to order the TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) test and go by it entirely to decide on your course of treatment for hypothyroidism, but this isn’t the best way to diagnose or monitor a thyroid condition. TSH stands for ‘Thyroid Stimulating Hormone’ and is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland. It serves as an average read out over the previous four to six weeks of your thyroid levels.
TSH tells the thyroid how much hormone to produce but it isn’t an actual thyroid hormone. By only testing TSH and not the real thyroid hormone levels (such as Free T3 and Free T4), you’re not getting the most comprehensive and accurate view of your thyroid health and thus, may not be getting the best treatment.
Another factor to consider is whether your hypothyroidism is autoimmune, which it is for around 90% of us. 
This can affect which road we take to recovery hugely, yet many patients have never been tested for Hashimoto’s, the cause of autoimmune hypothyroidism. If you have autoimmune hypothyroidism, then many lifestyle factors and interventions can help you to manage this and thyroid medication alone may not solve all your symptoms. So it’s good to check if you’re one of the 90% of hypothyroid patients that have Hashimoto’s as the culprit.
To check for Hashimoto’s, you need to test the thyroid antibody levels Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies and Thyroglobulin Antibodies. I can’t stress how important it is to know whether your hypothyroidism is autoimmune, as for me, I only started to see an improvement in on going and persistent thyroid symptoms once I started to implement changes to address the autoimmune condition causing the hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and lowered my antibodies back to within the normal range.
The Full Thyroid Panel
A full thyroid panel includes:
- Free T3
- Free T4
- Thyroid antibodies (TPOAB and TGAB)
- Reverse T3
This collection of tests give a comprehensive overview of your thyroid function and levels, to help produce the most accurate treatment plan for you, so that you can get optimal on your thyroid medication and begin to feel better. The The Thyroid Check Plus Fifteen kit included all of these.
More and more thyroid patients are ordering their own tests online, including myself, because they’re wanting to become more involved in their own health and treatment, or to perhaps fill in the blanks where their doctor is not testing. Self-advocation can be very powerful. Some people are also being directed by their functional or integrative doctor to order more comprehensive testing online, all so that they can improve their health further and for the long term.
Ordering This Test Kit
The process of ordering this Blue Horizon Thyroid Check Plus Fifteen test kit was really easy. I added it to cart, then viewed the cart and under ‘select options’ chose for a nurse to draw the blood at my house. This was £49 extra, whereas going to a BMI hospital is £39 and arranging to have the blood drawn yourself is free. I also chose for the in-house doctors to report on my results, which meant I’d receive commentary to help me understand what the results meant and next steps if applicable.
I received email confirmation of my order followed by a swift phone call from the nurse dispatch offices to arrange the blood draw. The soonest date they had for me was in four weeks’ time, so I booked it and marked my calendar. The actual test kit arrived two days later, which I put aside somewhere safe for use a few weeks later.
Everything was laid out smartly and the whole thing even fit through my letterbox!
Specific instructions for this test included fasting for 8-12 hours beforehand (I somehow did the whole 12 hours, though I was starving!), which is worth knowing so you can plan appropriately. I went for an early morning appointment with the nurse so I wasn’t going too late in to the day before eating. As well as fasting, I also didn’t take my thyroid medication that morning, which is what I’ve always done for blood tests.
She arrived and immediately made me feel at ease. My blood can be really difficult to get at the best of times, but she got it on first try and filled the two tubes we needed before completing the paperwork included in my kit, and leaving with the completed kit to post for me. Easy peasy!
Results took just one week to come back, which was about the same as other providers I’ve used. However, I was advised that as the Reverse T3 test was actually processed in the USA, that this would hold up that particular test result for a few weeks, but it didn’t. All fifteen test results came back exactly a week after having my blood drawn.
I received the results in an email, with them attached as a PDF and a doctor’s commentary included. This was useful as it meant that I could download and print a copy for my own record keeping at home, but also for taking in to my regular doctor (GP) so they can be added to my medical record. The results can be taken to your doctor to demonstrate any need for further treatment and build on your current treatment plan.
My particular results expressed that my thyroid levels were optimised (yay!) with TSH being suppressed (although this is often to be expected on T3 containing medication and I am on Natural Desiccated Thyroid Medication). 
Magnesium, Ferritin, Folate and Vitamin D were all optimal and looked great, with B12 being over range still (it was over range at my last testing in February too, so I’m going to talk about this with my doctor).
My C Reactive Protein which measures inflammation was a little over the ideal range but I have two ear infections at the minute (yes, too!) so I’ll retest after they’ve been addressed to determine if they’re the cause for that high result. If not, obviously it’ll need investigating further too.
Insulin and predictors for diabetes and pre-diabetes came back totally fine (something I was worried about) which is obviously good news and a thyroid test I’ve never had done (but is good to check), Reverse T3, came back great too. I was anxious about these ones in particular.
My next steps include taking these results to my doctor so he can add them to my medical record with the NHS, but I am also planning to start seeing a private doctor too, so I will be discussing them with him as well to form my treatment plan there.
This test would normally cost £259, but was discounted for me on this occasion. You can find it on their website here.
The service was really simple and easy from start to finish. Aside from having to wait a few weeks to get the blood drawn, everything was processed quickly.
My top pick of other Blue Horizon tests which will be of interest to many people with thyroid conditions include:
Thyroid Check Plus Three – (TSH, Free T3, Free T4) – Currently £61.60
Thyroid Check Plus Six (TSH, Free T3, Free T4, TpoAb, TgAb, Total T4) – Currently £86
Mini RT3 Thyroid Panel (Reverse T3, TSH, Free T3, Free T4) – Currently £149.15
Thyroid Check Plus Twelve (full thyroid panel including Reverse T3, as well as various vitamins and minerals) – Currently £199
Have you tried Blue Horizon?
Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes writing articles, authoring books, producing her Thyroid Family email newsletters and speaking on podcasts, as well as being a founding board member for the American College of Thyroidology. She is well-recognised as a crucial contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her books include “Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate” and “You, Me and Hypothyroidism”.