Thyroflex Testing

Years before blood tests – TSH, FT3 and FT4 – were developed to evaluate the function of your thyroid, doctors used the reflex response of the Achilles tendon to determine the thyroid status of a patient.

If a patient had symptoms such as dry skin, dry hair, cold, constipation, hair loss and inability to lose weight, it was suspected the person had a low-functioning thyroid.  The reflexes were tested and if found to be sluggish, the diagnosis of hypothyroidism was made. The reflex test, called the Woltman Sign, is most easily observed at the ankle tendon (Achilles) but can also be evaluated at other sites. To learn more about the Woltman sign, go here.

NiTek International embraced the simplicity of the Woltman Sign and developed a device call a Thyroflex. The in-office evaluation uses the brachoradialis tendon, near the elbow, to check the rate and caliber of the reflex response.  The Thyroflex provides a pain-free, needle-free, cost effective measurement of thyroid function with an accuracy of 98.5 to 99% when compared to laboratory testing.

Why is the Brachioradials reflex used?
The brachioradials reflex is used because the tendon is easy to access and the procedure can be performed while sitting comfortably in a chair. In addition, the Achilles reflex may be an unreliable indicator in some patients, particularly in those with diabetes, some neurological diseases and in the elderly.

How does the test work?
A small strap is placed around your hand.  The exact reflex point on the brachioradialis tendon is located and marked with an X.  A metallic hammer that is connected to a computer is used to strike the reflex point.  The computer measures the time between the strike of the hammer and the upward fleck of the wrist. The longer the time lapse, the more you are in need of additional thyroid hormone.

Ideally, it should take 50 to 100 milliseconds for the wrist reflex to occur. If the response time is grater than 150 milliseconds, it is a sign of low thyroid functioning, or hypothyroidism. If the reflex response is very fast, less than 50 milliseconds, it is an indication that your thyroid is overactive, or hyperthyroid.

The Thyroflex test takes approximately 4 minutes to administer and results are provided immediately. If you are taking thyroid medication, your doctor can make subtle adjustments in your dosage, even if your lab tests are in the normal range.  A Thyroflex assessment is actually a deeper determination of thyroid function:  It is the only test available that determines how well your thyroid hormones are functioning at the cellular level.

Resting Metabolic Rate:
The reports shows your current Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). This represents how many calories you are currently burning per day. An optimal resting metabolic rate in women should burn 2,250 calories per day; 
for men, that increases to 2,750 calories per day.

Your healthcare practitioner will interpret the Thyroflex report during your office visit. You will be advised on taking thyroid supplements and nutritional changes to optimize the health of your thyroid gland. If you are currently on medication, your practitioner can adjust your dosage as needed. If your Thyroflex assessment and your thyroid laboratory tests are both completely normal, your practitioner my suggest a saliva test to assess the health of your adrenal glands.

As seen on The Doctors: watch here

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