Hypothyroidism affects millions of Americans every year. Some cases are mild and only require non-invasive medical treatments, other cases can be more severe.
Some people live their lives with undiagnosed hypothyroidism. They simply accept symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, and depression as being a part of daily life. But why?
One reason is simple: Some folks dread going to the doctor. But the discomfort that comes with being poked and prodded are not the only reasons for reservation. The hassle that comes with setting appointments and taking off work are other reasons that some people avoid the doctor — not to mention sitting in a crowded waiting room.
However, many people can only put up with uncomfortable symptoms for so long. Sometimes they simply grin and bear it to get a treatment plan going.
There is, however, some good news for those who believe they may be living with undiagnosed hypothyroidism but don’t like the thought of visiting a doctor’s office.
Paloma Health, a telemedicine provider, offers a remote option for potential hypothyroid patients — the at-home Complete Thyroid Blood Test Kit.
Paloma provides a convenient way to check for hypothyroidism all from the comfort of home. But is it too good to be true? Is Paloma’s at-home thyroid test effective?
Stick around for an honest review as we try to answer these important questions.
Paloma Health, established in 2019, considers themselves an end-to-end endocrinology practice; their main area of focus is with patients with hypothyroidism.
The main focus of this article will highlight the at-home test kit, but other areas of their services include remote consultations, treatment, and prescriptions from thyroid doctors and nutritionists.
Consultation costs vary and are only available in certain states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
The at-home Complete Thyroid Blood Test Kit is more widely available throughout the United States but is not available in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, or Maryland.
Test takers must be 18 years or older.
Before we dive into the specifics of Paloma’s at-home test kit, it is important to take a quick look at the thyroid gland and some associated conditions to get some context on why, in our opinion, Paloma works so well.
What Is the Thyroid Gland and Why Is It Important?
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that sits lower, front portion of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. Its main job is hormone production. It is responsible for creating and secreting two important thyroid hormones: Thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
Thyroxine (T4) – Thyroxine is the main hormone that is produced by the thyroid gland. It is secreted into the bloodstream and interacts within the body in a number of ways. It has a role to play in brain development, heart and digestive function, and bone health.
Triiodothyronine (T3) – Triiodothyronine is basically the active form of thyroxine. It also has a vital role in heart and brain function, but it is essential for metabolism and energy production.
These thyroid hormones are essential for normal health function; almost every system in the body relies on them. Other common functions include fertility and glandular function.
When these hormones are out of whack you can experience a wide range of symptoms, from unexpected weight fluctuations, mood disorders, temperature regulation issues, and more.
When the thyroid is overactive in hormone production (too much thyroxine) it is known as hyperthyroidism. This increase in thyroxine production can accelerate your body’s metabolism.
An underactive thyroid is known as hypothyroidism. This condition is brought on when the thyroid does not produce enough thyroxine. This is the more common thyroid disorder. According to thyroid disorder statistics, 5 out of 100 Americans (12 years and older) have hypothyroidism. Women are much more likely than men to experience hypothyroidism.
Symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Overall fatigue
- Unexplained weight gain
- Thinning hair; dry skin
- Slower heart rate
- Mood swings and depression
- Issues tolerating temperature, especially cold
- Muscle and joint pain
Hypothyroidism can develop over time and can have several causes, including thyroiditis, genetic factors, autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s disease, surgical removal of thyroid, to name a few.
Diagnosing thyroid disorders, especially hypothyroidism, can present a challenge for doctors. Of course, medical history and physical exams are usually the first step but diagnosis is difficult since the symptoms of hypothyroidism can be the same as other conditions.
Due to this fact, thyroid blood tests are the most common way to definitively test for and diagnose thyroid disorders.
That is where Paloma steps in.
Treatments for thyroid disorders vary. Hypothyroidism usually requires medication and hormone (T4) replacement therapies.
As stated earlier, Paloma Health does provide consultations and treatment for those with hypothyroidism. However, the effectiveness of Paloma’s at-home thyroid test kit will be the main focus of this review.
The nice thing is, you do not need a referral to order the test kit.
What Does the At-Home Thyroid Blood Test Do?
The blood test itself acts as an initial diagnosis for the presence of thyroid disorders by checking thyroid hormone levels. It is suitable for those who suspect they may have hypothyroid symptoms and want a definitive answer.
The blood test seeks to identify the presence of both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism by assessing thyroid function and assessing hormone levels.
What Thyroid Hormones Does It Test?
Paloma’s thyroid test seeks to identify the presence of thyroid biomarkers: thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), free triiodothyronine (fT3), free thyroxine (fT4), and thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO).
Together, these biomarkers provide an overview of overall thyroid function.
- TSH – Thyroid-stimulating hormone is responsible for hormone production with the thyroid gland itself. Doctors agree it is the most sensitive biomarker used to screen for thyroid conditions.
- fT3 – As noted, free triiodothyronine is produced by the thyroid. This biomarker assesses levels, checking for overactive or underactive production.
- fT4 – The test also checks for the most prevalent hormone, thyroxine. This biomarker assesses whether hormone levels are within normal production range.
- TPO – Thyroid peroxidase antibodies impede normal thyroid function when they bind to certain enzymes. Therefore, an elevation in their presence can indicate thyroid disorders.
Additional Biomarker Add-Ons
Customers have the option to add two additional biomarkers to their test panel: Reverse T3 and vitamin D. Reverse T3 is a metabolite of thyroxine; this gives more clues to thyroid metabolic activity. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to hypothyroidism.
Is this blood test different from one I would get at the doctor?
No. The at-home thyroid blood test from Paloma offers the same laboratory results as you would get at a doctor’s office and is evaluated by licensed endocrinologists. The only difference is the convenience of taking the test at home with a simple finger prick.
What Is the Process Like?
The test itself is fairly simple. Again, no referrals are required.
The process is started when you register and create an account on Paloma Health’s website. But be aware, you must give informed consent to terms of service and will be asked to review Paloma’s HIPAA notice. All of this is standard in telemedicine.
Once you’ve set up an account you can order a test kit and get started. The test itself is pain-free. Unlike many in-person thyroid tests, Paloma’s at-home thyroid test only takes a finger-prick. There is no need for needles. It can literally be done in minutes.
According to Paloma, customers can expect to see their results in days; though they do not give a definitive timeline or guarantee.
Here’s what a few customers had to say about their experience with the process:
“Paloma put together a home test that is quick and easy, and best of all, fast. One week from the day I received the test kit I had the test results. Plus, their web site is extremely informative and the ability to have a follow-up with an actual doctor is an amazing perk. It is one thing to know and another thing to act upon the knowledge. Paloma facilitates both at an affordable price.”
- Jonathan, 5/5 Stars on Google Reviews
“This kit is fantastic! I discovered my Hashimoto’s! Went to my Dr, they ordered the same lab tests, and the Paloma results were identical to my Drs lab! This is a legit company! I received a personal phone call, excellent communication on all my questions and am now taking the Paloma thyroid supplements. I can’t wait to see them grow and will continue to buy their products and test kits! This is not a sponsored post. Just my personal experience.”
- Sara, 5/5 Stars on Google Reviews
“The at home lab testing kit is so nice. Very convenient for me. I don’t have to take time off work to go get my blood drawn. And getting an appointment online is so nice and helps me not interfere too much with my work schedule.”
- Christinia, 5/5 Stars on Google
The Complete Thyroid Test kit costs $99. They also offer free 3-day shipping.
Since it is an at-home test kit most insurances will not cover the costs. However, the at-home test kit is generally lower than other out of pocket costs associated with lab work at a doctor’s office. At the end of the day, it depends on individual coverage. However, Paloma Health does accept FSA and HSA account payments for the at-home test kits.
Membership Option With Paloma Health
After receiving the results, customers have the option to continue telehealth care with Paloma Health membership.
- Access to qualified care personnel — endocrinologists, registered dietitians, and medical doctors.
- Personalized care plan — a 12-week protocol plan to help you implement lifestyle changes.
- Access to prescription medications, diagnostic tests (lab, imaging, etc.).
Cost of membership is a monthly payment of $20, and $42 per appointment with a thyroid doctor. Again, some of this could be covered through insurance (just usually not). Membership can be cancelled at any time. Remember, this is only available in some states.
Palmoa’s At-Home Tests Compared to Others
In terms of at-home thyroid test kits, Palmoa is comparable to other companies — most test the same biomarkers. The real difference comes down to costs.
For example, EverlyWell’s test kit is cheaper, but many customers complained about the long wait for results. ZRT Laboratory offers a much more comprehensive biomarker panel (testing various vitamins and minerals), but the costs are much higher — $175 and up.
So, what do we like?
Well, in terms of convenience, price, and quality of the test, Paloma has a lot to offer.
Here a few pros:
- Trusted results – The process from start to finish is overseen by licensed endocrinologists. The samples are processed by CLIA and CAP accredited labs — that means you can trust them.
- Access to on-going care – Palmoa’s membership offers a load of advantages for those looking to manage their hypothyroidism remotely. But the remote quality doesn’t sacrifice the expert care.
In terms of drawbacks, availability must be considered. As mentioned above, access to the test kit is not available in all 50 states. Also, the website would do well to explain more about the testing procedure.
All things considered, Paloma’s at-home thyroid test kit makes for an effective, remote option for those looking to uncover their thyroid condition; it also provides them the information to start a plan of action.
In our opinion, all of this makes Paloma Health worthy of consideration.
Owner, entrepreneur, and health enthusiast.
Chris is one of the Co-Founders of Pharmacists.org. An entrepreneur at heart, Chris has been building and writing in consumer health for over 10 years. In addition to Pharmacists.org, Chris and his Acme Health LLC Brand Team own and operate Diabetic.org and the USA Rx Pharmacy Discount Card powered by Pharmacists.org.
Chris has a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) designation and is a proud member of the American Medical Writer’s Association (AMWA), the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP), the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the Council of Science Editors, the Author’s Guild, and the Editorial Freelance Association (EFA).
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