Last updated on September 20th, 2021 at 10:52 pm
In this article, we’ll go over Paloma Health to see how well this new contender establishes itself in the thyroid testing kit and services online market.
The thyroid gland’s health is often put on the back burner until something drastic happens — but consider these stats for a moment. Over 12% of the US adults will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime, with an estimated 20 million Americans suffering from some form of thyroid disease.
More worryingly, though, up to 60% of those living with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition. Undiagnosed thyroid disease may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, infertility, and can even lead to mental health issues like depression. Thyroid problems can even be fatal in some cases. The last thing you want is for something you overlooked to become a major hassle.
Despite its importance in the body, when was the last time you had your thyroid function tested? The problem is that it takes a lot of time and hassle to schedule a doctor’s appointment, get blood tests done, and wait for lab results. If only there were an easier way…
Paloma Health is a startup on a mission to solve this very issue! With its comprehensive thyroid health platform, Paloma allows you to better understand how well your thyroid is functioning with a simple at-home blood test, mailing it to a lab at no cost, discussing the results with a physician, and receiving a treatment plan.
In this post, we’ll review Paloma Health and its service offerings in greater detail to help you determine if their at-home thyroid testing kit is accurate and worth a shot.
But first: why is it important to test your thyroid?
Before delving deeper into Paloma Health, it’s important to understand what the thyroid does and why it’s so critical to test regularly. If Biology has never been your strong suit, let us take the initiative of explaining it to you in a simple manner.
The thyroid plays an important role in the human body. It releases and controls thyroid hormones that, in turn, control metabolism. In other words, it is critical in converting food into energy that the body can use.
To do this, it uses a few specific hormones including thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Everything in nature is in balance, and your hormones should be as well.
When functioning properly, the thyroid maintains the right amount of hormones in the bloodstream to ensure that metabolism takes place at the right rate.
The pituitary gland regulates the rate at which these hormones are released. When the pituitary gland detects a lack or excess of thyroid hormones in the bloodstream, it adjusts these levels by releasing Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). The thyroid will then release more or fewer thyroid hormones depending on the amount of TSH released to return the body to normal.
Typically, when the thyroid doesn’t function optimally it can lead to hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Let’s look at hypothyroidism in more detail.
Spoiler alert: A shift in your hormones can put the brakes on your body’s energy use. That can make you tired.
What is hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is characterized by a lack of thyroid hormone in the bloodstream which then, in turn, slows down metabolism. This occurs as a result of the thyroid failing to produce and release enough thyroid hormones into the body. This disease can affect anyone from men, women, and infants to teenagers and even the elderly.
Hypothyroidism can have a primary cause that directly affects the thyroid and causes it to release insufficient thyroid hormone. It can also have a secondary cause: the failure of the pituitary gland to secrete TSH and, as a result, no longer signals the thyroid to release thyroid hormone.
Primary causes of hypothyroidism are much more common and can include:
- Thyroiditis: A condition in which thyroid secretes insufficient hormones due to inflammation.
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: It is an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack and damage the thyroid. It’s a hereditary disease and also the most common primary cause of hypothyroidism.
- Postpartum thyroiditis: Usually a temporary condition, postpartum thyroiditis occurs in about 5% to 9% of women after childbirth.
- Iodine deficiency: Because the thyroid uses iodine to produce thyroid hormones, an iodine deficiency can lead to thyroid dysfunction
- Congenital hypothyroidism: About 1 in 4000 newborn babies are born with an underactive thyroid gland. This could possibly lead to both physical and mental health issues later on in life.
Generally, hypothyroidism symptoms appear gradually over time and can include:
- Tiredness or fatigue.
- Numbness and tingling in the hands.
- Weight gain.
- Body pains, soreness, and muscle weakness.
- High cholesterol.
- The inability to tolerate cold temperatures.
- Dry, coarse skin and hair.
- A lack of libido.
- Heavy and frequent menstrual periods.
- Brain fog.
- Puffiness in the eyes and face and drooping eyelids.
- Low and hoarse voice.
Hypothyroidism is difficult to diagnose given how often its symptoms are easily confused with other diseases and conditions. Thus the recommended method to test its function is via a thyroid stimulating hormone blood test.
So, what happens if hypothyroidism is left to fester undiagnosed? Unfortunately, it may pose serious and life-threatening medical symptoms such as declining mental health, difficulty breathing, heart problems, inability to maintain normal body temperature, and a serious medical condition known as myxedema coma.
Given the severity of these potential outcomes, it’s easy to see why it’s important to test thyroid function specifically, if for no other reason than merely to rule out hypothyroidism as an underlying cause of many common symptoms.
How does Paloma Health’s at-home testing kit work?
Source: Paloma Health
Paloma Health, founded in 2019, provides hypothyroid patients with the benefits of remote telemedicine. Paloma Health is a cutting-edge telemedicine provider that specializes solely in hypothyroidism. The company’s mission is to provide complete care from the comfort of your own home. Their services include an at-home Thyroid Testing Kit, virtual consultations with thyroid doctors and thyroid nutritionists, and a daily thyroid care vitamin supplement to ease the burden of the entire hypothyroid journey.
Paloma Health’s team of board-certified providers help patients with holistic approaches to their health which includes diet advice, stress management, and the right exercises that patients can use to maintain thyroid health.
Paloma Health takes your privacy seriously and is transparent about how they handle your information. When you register and create an account on Paloma Health’s website, you must provide informed consent to the terms of service and will be required to read Paloma’s HIPAA notice. All of this is common practice in telemedicine.
For patients, the process starts with taking one of Paloma Health’s complete thyroid blood tests. These pain-free, finger-prick tests only take a few minutes to perform and test for the following biomarkers (biological molecules found in blood):
- T3: As mentioned earlier, T3 or triiodothyronine is produced by the thyroid and its levels fluctuate depending on whether a patient has an over- or under- active thyroid.
- T4: It’s the predominant hormone produced by the thyroid gland and testing its levels reveal whether a patient’s thyroid hormone production is at a normal level.
- TSH: It’s considered to be the most sensitive marker when screening for thyroid diseases and conditions. When its levels are elevated or depleted, it has an impact on thyroid function and thyroid hormone production.
- TPO Antibodies: Thyroid peroxidase or TPO antibodies are antibodies that bind to thyroid enzymes and suppress thyroid function. These antibodies are elevated when a patient has Hashimoto’s disease.
Patients can also opt to test for Reverse T3 (RT3) and vitamin D in addition to the above biomarkers, depending on their specific needs and requirements. At the time of publishing, Paloma health offers the ONLY at-home Thyroid test for Reverse T3.
The Paloma at-home thyroid blood test provides the same laboratory results as a doctor’s office and is evaluated by licensed endocrinologists. The only difference is that the test can be taken at home with a simple finger prick.
How much does Paloma’s thyroid testing kit cost?
Pricing for Paloma Health’s Complete Thyroid Blood Test Kit is $99 and patients have the option to choose the vitamin D or RT3 add-ons at checkout.
You can also sign up for a Paloma Health membership at $16 per month. If you do, the price of the at-home blood test drops to $75. Upon completing the simple instructions on the test kit and sending back your blood sample, Paloma will mail it to a CLIA/CAP accredited lab at no cost for further analysis.
Generally, patients can expect to receive their comprehensive results in a week. When the results are ready, patients can then schedule an in-depth video call with a board-certified thyroid physician who specializes in hypothyroidism. This is what sets Paloma health apart — it’s singular focus on thyroid health and treatment. Keep in mind, though, that this option is only available to Paloma Health members and costs an additional $42 per consultation.
What kind of treatment does Paloma offer for hypothyroidism?
- Online consultation with a physician who can prescribe meds as needed
One of the best aspects of Paloma Health is the comprehensive, expert support you receive after taking your at-home test. Following your results, you will have access to medical and nutritional consultation services to help you effectively manage your thyroid.
During the 30-minute video call, the physician will discuss your blood test results in detail and clearly explain all available treatment options and the benefits of any recommended medication and supplements based on your symptoms and medical history.
Here it’s also worth mentioning that Paloma Health tries to make it easy to find the right doctor to treat your condition by taking a 60-second online quiz. It asks a series of questions to determine which of Paloma Health’s thyroid doctors is the best fit for you personally, and even offers a Doctor Fit Guarantee. This means that if the first doctor you’re paired with doesn’t knock it out of the park, you can get a second consultation with a different doctor at no extra cost. That’s pretty generous!
Based on the treatment plan, patients who are prescribed meds can then pick up their medication from a local pharmacy. Any refill prescriptions for follow-up medication are charged from $19 or $39 if they’re not a Paloma Health member.
- Thyroid care supplements
You can also find a good selection of vitamin supplements that improve thyroid health for $40 (or $27 for members). Paloma manufactures its own thyroid supplement capsules with natural plant and mineral ingredients to treat hypothyroid symptoms. These ingredients include magnesium, ashwagandha, L-tyrosine, and selenium. Paloma’s doctors have carefully reviewed and approved the supplement for targeting underlying autoimmune disease. They are gluten-free, dairy-free, GMO-free, and iodine-free. Paloma’s thyroid supplements are available in a bottle of 60 capsules (ie. a full month’s supply).
- 12-week innovative hashimoto’s plan
If you’ve been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and are at risk of developing Hashmito’s disease, Paloma Health has a mobile app just for you.
The free mobile app offers a 12-week program tailored to your specific needs to alleviate your Hashimoto symptoms.
It includes hundreds of recipes, online resources, and weekly interactive sessions to help you learn more about your condition and manage symptoms—these range from nutrition to sleep and stress management and vary depending on your primary goal.
Through symptom tracking, you can monitor energy, mood, and pain levels over time, as well as identify your dietary and environmental triggers.
Does Paloma accept HSA/FSA or health insurance?
Paloma Health allows you to pay using your HSA/FSA account by submitting the purchase for reimbursement through HSA/FSA benefits – but you should double-check with your benefit coordinator.
At-home test kits are typically not covered by health insurance, but Paloma Health aims to accept major insurance as an in-network provider for thyroid doctor visits – including Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare, and others. At this time, they are only an out-of-network provider from which your insurance may partially reimburse expenses.
How does Paloma compare to other at-home thyroid tests?
Now that we’ve looked at how the process works, it only makes sense to see how Paloma compares to other at-home thyroid tests. Here, we’ll compare it to other popular at-home thyroid tests — Paloma Health vs LetsGetChecked vs EverlyWell vs Thorne.
Best At-Home Thyroid Tests: Paloma vs LetsGetChecked vs Thorne vs EverlyWell
|Blood sample collection method||At-home finger prick||At-home finger prick||At-home finger prick||At-home finger prick|
|Specializes in both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism?||(only hypothyroidism)||(both)||(both)||(only hypothyroidism)|
|Cost of Thyroid Test Kit||$99||$99 – $119
Get 30% off with code FINVSFIN30
|Time to get lab results||1 week||2-5 days||8-10 days||1 week|
|Access to a physician to review results?||✅ for $42 per consult + $16/month membership fee||❌ you can chat with a nurse 24/7, but not a doctor.||❌||❌|
|FSA / HSA accepted?|
|Membership / subscription available for discounts?|
|Uses exclusively CLIA Certified labs?|
|Other thyroid services||
- Paloma vs Letsgetchecked. LetsGetChecked offers two different thyroid tests. The first tests for T3, T4, and TSH. The second, more comprehensive kit tests for T3, T4, TSH, TPO antibodies, and thyroglobulin antibodies. These tests are priced at $99 and $119 respectively, but you can save 30% with code FINVSFIN30, bringing down the cost to $65 – $78, slightly less than Paloma for just as many biomarkers.
- Paloma vs Everlywell. Everlywell’s thyroid test is priced at $99 and checks for the following biomarkers: T3, T4, TSH, and TPO antibodies. Although these tests are reviewed and approved by a board-certified physician, the platform offers no treatment options. Like LetsGetChecked, Everlywell is a generalist at-home testing company that doesn’t specialize in Thyroid care.
- Paloma vs Thorne. Thorne’s thyroid kit tests for T3, T4, TSH, and TPO antibodies and is priced at $140. While the platform doesn’t offer a specific treatment plan, it does offer a comprehensive improvement plan with diet, activity, and supplement recommendations. Like the other options, it’s also more expensive than Paloma Health.
TLDR; For your hard-earned money, Paloma offers excellent value relative to other at-home testing companies. That’s especially true when considering their holistic approach to thyroid treatment via thyroid specialists who can collaborate with a patient’s primary care physician and provide treatment plans that include the appropriate medication. Overall, they are the only provider that we know of focusing Exclusively on thyroid care
Paloma reviews: what are customers saying?
No product review is complete without taking a hard look at what actual customers are saying online. The good news is that despite being a young company, Paloma’s customers seem to really appreciate its service!
One patient states that she has struggled to find knowledgeable health care providers that will treat her Hashimoto’s with an integrated approach. According to her, Paloma Health has solved this problem with its reasonably priced blood tests and the top-notch care she received from her care manager and nutritionist.
Another reviewer claims that Paloma Health provided her with the best thyroid care she’s ever had. She likes how the platform makes everything simple, and she is overjoyed that she discovered them after desperately searching online for better hypothyroidism treatment.
We found one Paloma patient who even claims the service saved her life (!) after she lost her health insurance and started to rely on them for low cost blood tests and consultations. She notes that her doctor spent as much time as she needed (no rush) and that her case manager calls her at least once a month between virtual visits. As a result, she is grateful to have discovered Paloma’s service.
Overall, the general sentiment among customers is extremely positive and the vast majority seem to wholeheartedly recommend Paloma for its convenience and high quality care.
The verdict: is Paloma’s at-home thyroid test worth it?
So, the question remains: should you try Paloma Health’s at-home thyroid test? It’s always wise to understand how well your thyroid is functioning given how important it is to your overall health, so proactive testing is strongly advised for all, but there are a few things to consider. For one, Paloma’s at-home test is competitively priced at $99, especially considering what patients get for the price they pay:
- Trusted results: The entire process is overseen by licenced endocrinologists from start to finish. The samples are processed by CLIA and CAP accredited labs, so you can rely on them.
- Access to ongoing care: Paloma membership comes with a slew of benefits for those who want to manage their hypothyroidism remotely. No more dealing with the hassle of making appointments and taking time off work, not to mention sitting in a crowded waiting room. The Paloma private community, symptom tracker application, online thyroid health courses, and unlimited chat with your doctor are all membership benefits worth mentioning to keep you on track for a healthy thyroid.
Technically you can get an at-home thyroid test from LetsGetChecked for slightly less than what Paloma charges using the exclusive code FINVSFIN30. Their test is just as thorough (testing for just as many biomarkers), so we recommend it for anyone who doesn’t have any symptoms and JUST wants an at-home test to proactively assess your thyroid function. That said, LetsGetChecked isn’t purely focused on Thyroid testing and care like Paloma is, and thus their ongoing treatment options (should your results indicate a need) are much, much more lacking. Thus for anyone who suspects they might have an underlying thyroid issue, we recommend paying slightly more for Paloma’s at-home test to ensure you can immediately connect with a thyroid doctor and get the highest quality care post lab results.
The only major drawback of Paloma Health? Currently it doesn’t provide support for hyperthyroidism. While the tests will detect hyperthyroidism, you’ll have to take your results to a separate doctor or specialist for additional assistance. Hyperthyroidism is better treated with in-person sessions, and since Paloma Health relies exclusively on telemedicine, they cannot take vital signs like your blood pressure or heart rate, which are important to monitor regularly in the case of hyperthyroidism.
Also keep in mind that Paloma’s full service is not yet available everywhere. While at-home testing is available in 47 states, the full-service which includes the consultation with a physician and treatment is currently only available in 16 states. The platform is, however, expanding its footprint quickly, so it’s worth checking their site to see if its available in your area before making a decision.
Finally to reiterate, what makes Paloma Health the best choice for patients who have hypothyroidism or suspect they may have it is its commitment to making thyroid management both accessible and convenient while also taking a holistic approach that incorporates diet, lifestyle changes, and supplements to improve patient outcomes.
Treating hypothyroidism is a long-term commitment, and Paloma is committed to your journey. If you’re still unsure whether the service is right for you, Schedule a free, no-obligation phone consultation with one of their intake specialists to find out more.
If you’ve tried Paloma or any at-home thyroid testing service, let us know about your experience in the comments below!