Accuracy Matters

Better Tests for Better Health

Visit the CDC website to learn about the agency’s work standardizing cholesterol, Vitamin D and hormone tests and to see which labs across the country use standardized tests for testosterone, estradiol and vitamin D.

Hormones regulate everything from hunger to reproduction and influence nearly every cell, organ, and metabolic function. Tests to measure the level of a specific hormone in the body are the third-most common diagnostic in medicine today.

Yet standardized definitions of what’s “normal” and “abnormal” don’t exist for most hormones, compromising the reliability of the data used in patient care, scientific research, and public health. It’s a situation that incurs unnecessary costs, impedes scientific progress, and threatens the health of millions of Americans.

The Partnership for the Accurate Testing of Hormones (PATH) is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to control test variability and deliver more accurate results for the range of hormones. Our goal is the universal adoption of accuracy-based tests so healthcare providers can better detect, treat, and prevent disease.

Guiding Medicine for Millions of People

Hormone testing is one of the top three diagnostic tests in medicine today. Testing for testosterone and estradiol alone helps detect and treat a wide range of conditions across all age groups, including:

  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Androgen deficiency in men
  • Cancer and other diseases of the breast
  • Testicular cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Conditions related to the thyroid
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Infertility
  • Osteoporosis
  • Hypothalamus and pituitary disorders

The CDC has successfully standardized test measurements for testosterone and estradiol and maintains quality levels for these tests. However, test variability still exists for other hormone assays like those for thyroid hormones.

What’s at stake? Healthcare and quality of life for millions of Americans.

As just one example, more than 20 million Americans are estimated to have some type of thyroid disorder, according to the American Thyroid Association. Too little thyroid hormone causes extreme fatigue, depression, weight gain, and forgetfulness. Too much thyroid hormone, may lead to muscle weakness, heart problems, and high blood pressure.