Medical History And Physical Exam
If you have any signs or symptoms that suggest you might have thyroid cancer, your health care professional will want to know your complete medical history. You will be asked questions about your possible risk factors, symptoms, and any other health problems or concerns. If someone in your family has had thyroid cancer or tumors called pheochromocytomas, it is important to tell your doctor, as you might be at high risk for this disease.
Your doctor will examine you to get more information about possible signs of thyroid cancer and other health problems. During the exam, the doctor will pay special attention to the size and firmness of your thyroid and any enlarged lymph nodes in your neck.
Undetected Low Levels Of Thyroid Hormone May Underlie Subtle Changes That Can Increase Your Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease
For a gland only two inches in size, the thyroid has a huge influence on our health. It produces a hormone that is carried in the bloodstream to all parts of the body. Thyroid hormone plays a major role in regulating metabolismthe process by which body cells convert nutrients into energyand thereby helps regulate body temperature, , and even brain function. So when thyroid hormone levels fall, the body slows.
You’re probably aware of the common symptoms of low thyroid hormonefatigue, fuzzy-headedness, weight gain, cold hands, and dry skin. But if you’re like most of us, you’re likely to blame your diet and exercise regimen instead of your thyroid if your cholesterol levels and weight are creeping up, especially if you don’t have any of the other symptoms of low thyroid. “Symptoms are often nonspecific, and since women over 60 generally have more of these nonspecific symptoms, their doctors may not think to test for hypothyroidism,” says endocrinologist Dr. Jeffrey Garber, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of The Harvard Medical School Guide to Overcoming Thyroid Problems.
Using The Btt For Thyroid And Adrenals
An individual can use this test to help them find out about their thyroid function as well as adrenals. In fact, you can see how your supplement or medication dosage is supporting your body. Here are 5 ways this test can benefit your treatment
- After several days of taking a thyroid medication or thyroid glandular, you should begin noticing an improvement in the temperature.
- It can help you change the dosage of your thyroid medication or supplement.
- It can help you assess your adrenal function, which plays a role in the basal temperature as well. This is most notable in phase IIIA-IIID adrenal dysfunction.
- It can help you change the dosage of your adrenal supplements based on the results you are getting.
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Using Btt To Look At Adrenal Function
The adrenals work to increase blood flow throughout the body as cortisol works with its cousin aldosterone, which are both made in the adrenal cortex. Cortisol helps to maintain blood sugar, while aldosterone helps to retain sodium and maintain blood pressure. When we retain more sodium, we also retain more water, which increases blood volume and blood pressure. When we retain less sodium, we also retain less water, which decreases blood volume and blood pressure.
When people have hypertension or high blood pressure, they often take an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor to lower aldosterone levels and therefore lower blood pressure. When the signaling process in the body, called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis is dysregulated, we can end up with either high or low cortisol/aldosterone levels.
Low blood pressure is a common symptom for an individual with low cortisol, while high blood pressure is common for individuals with high cortisol. Other symptoms associated with HPA or adrenal dysfunction I discuss in detail in this article.
How Does Thyroid Testing Work
Thyroid problems can be more harmful than you think. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, they can lead to serious health problems. Thats why we offer thyroid testing at Medical Transformation Center in Louisville, KY, so we can help address your health concerns. We can prevent severe medical problems from occurring in the first place by providing you with a variety of professional diagnostic equipment, techniques, as well as new technologies.
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Final Thoughts + Your Next Steps
We just spent a lot of time talking about how to properly diagnose thyroid conversion issues but what are you supposed to do if you find that you have them?
Treating conversion issues is usually as simple as focusing on things and therapies which help INCREASE thyroid conversion and by trying to REVERSE things which cause these problems.
It usually looks something like this:
- Using thyroid medications which contain T3 thyroid hormone
- And finding what is causing your conversion issues and targeting that issue
It’s often best to do ALL of these things at once as opposed to trying one and then going to the other after some period of time.
The more therapies you layer on top of each other the quicker you will feel better and get back to your normal self.
The first place to start, though, is always with your labs!
But now I want to hear from you:
Are you someone who is struggling with thyroid conversion issues?
Have you been able to get the proper labs to determine if that is what is happening in your body?
If so, what did your labs look like?
Or are you struggling to get the right labs drawn?
Leave your questions or comments below to keep the conversation going!
How Is Hypothyroidism Treated During Pregnancy
Thyroid hormone replacement is used to treat the mother. Dosage of thyroid hormone replacement therapy is based on the individual’s levels of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormone levels may change during pregnancy. And, the thyroid replacement dosing may also change. Thyroid hormone levels need to be checked every 4 weeks during the first half of pregnancy. The treatment is safe and essential to both mother and fetus. Routine screening for all newborns includes a test of thyroid hormone levels.
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How Are Thyroid Disorders Diagnosed
Your doctor will perform a physical examination and take your medical history. If thyroid disease is suspected, your physician will order a blood test to measure thyroid-stimulating hormone to determine if you have low levels of TSH, which can be the first indication of a thyroid disorder. Another blood test measures a hormone called T4, also produced by the thyroid. A third blood test is called the anti-thyroid microsomal antibody test. This measures the amount of anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies in the blood stream. Large amounts of antibodies, which are produced by the immune system, could indicate that some thyroid damage has already occurred.
If you have an abnormally high level of the hormone TSH, then you might have an under-active thyroid gland, a condition called hypothyroidism. Low levels of TSH is an indicator of hyperthyroidism.
What Is The Thyroid
The thyroid gland is a small organ thats located in the front of the neck, wrapped around the windpipe . Its shaped like a butterfly, smaller in the middle with two wide wings that extend around the side of your throat. The thyroid is a gland. You have glands throughout your body, where they create and release substances that help your body do a specific thing. Your thyroid makes hormones that help control many vital functions of your body.
When your thyroid doesnt work properly, it can impact your entire body. If your body makes too much thyroid hormone, you can develop a condition called hyperthyroidism. If your body makes too little thyroid hormone, its called hypothyroidism. Both conditions are serious and need to be treated by your healthcare provider.
How Do You Prepare For A Thyroid Test
The test usually takes a few minutes of preparation. But before the blood test, you do not need to fast. It also makes no difference if you take any thyroid medication right before the blood test. If youre taking any other medications, let us know. Some medicines can change the way tests are performed and understood.
Its also crucial to record any X-ray tests that required the use of a particular contrast dye. Your previous test may have contained iodine, which may influence the accuracy of your results. Thyroid hormone levels also tend to fluctuate throughout pregnancy, so let us know if youre expecting when the test is done.
Can Hypothyroidism Be Prevented Or Avoided
There is no known way to prevent hypothyroidism. It is more common in women than men, especially those older than 60 years of age. You also are at greater risk if you:
- Have a family history of thyroid disease.
- Have been treated with radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid medicines.
- Have received radiation therapy to your neck or upper chest.
- Have had thyroid surgery.
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What About Thyroid Medications For Subclinical Hypothyroidism
Starting thyroid medication in subclinical hypothyroidism is considered controversial by endocrine groups. Exceptions are made for women who are contemplating pregnancy and for those who have overt hypothyroid symptoms. Guidelines clearly state that in order to avoid pregnancy complications and impaired development of offspring, women with subclinical hypothyroidism need to be treated with thyroid hormones.
At this stage, many patients may also opt to wait and see and may forgo thyroid medications in an effort to do it naturally. I know that I was one of those people, and I waited six months to get on medications after my diagnosis, but knowing what I know now, I am in favor of starting medications for subclinical hypothyroidism.
Korzeniowska and colleagues at the Medical University of Gdansk found that treating children with subclinical hypothyroidism with thyroid hormones, resulted in a decrease of inflammation. This means that the medications gave their thyroids a rest and resulted in a slowing down of the autoimmune attack, manifested by lower levels of thyroid antibodies.
Additionally, most patients with subclinical hypothyroidism feel so much better when they start on thyroid hormones.
I wanted to believe that these interventions were keeping me from getting worse until my husband and I took a red-eye flight from Los Angeles to visit friends on the East Coast in the winter. The lack of sleep combined with the cold weather put me in a hypothyroid flare.
Diagnosis Of An Underactive Thyroid Function Is Made Based On A Combination Of Thyroid Blood Test Results Symptoms And Several Other Factors
Hypothyroidism is evaluated and diagnosed by a physician, usually an endocrinologist or your primary care doctor. Symptoms, signs, and more critically, blood testsare taken into consideration when evaluating the possibility of an underactive thyroid glandall of which help identify the cause and severity of the disease.
A diagnosis is reached after a thorough review of the patients personal medical and family histories, any risk factors, findings on physical examination, in addition to the results of thyroid function levels. There are several types of hormones checked in a blood test to assess your thyroid statusthe most definitive one is the TSH . Often, physicians may decide to check the free thyroxine, or T4, free T4 index, or total T4 to aid in the diagnosis.
Your doctor may check your thyroid status for an underactive thyroid by reviewing thyroid hormone levels. Photo: 123rf
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What Are The Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a common condition. It can go undetected if symptoms are mild. Hypothyroidism means the thyroid is underactive and making insufficient amounts of thyroid hormones. Symptoms of hypothyroidism may be mild and may start slowly. The following are the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism:
Unable to stand cold temperatures
Skin and hair changes, including dry skin and loss of eyebrows
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Slow heart rate
Irregular menstrual periods
The symptoms of hypothyroidism may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
What Is A T4 Test
T4 Tests A Total T4 test measures the bound and free thyroxine hormone in the blood. A Free T4 measures what is not bound and able to freely enter and affect the body tissues.
What does it mean if T4 levels are abnormal? Importantly, Total T4 levels are affected by medications and medical conditions that change thyroid hormone binding proteins. Estrogen, oral contraceptive pills, pregnancy, liver disease, and hepatitis C virus infection are common causes of increased thyroid hormone binding proteins and will result in a high Total T4. Testosterone or androgens and anabolic steroids are common causes of thyroid hormone binding proteins and will result in a low Total T4.
In some circumstances, like pregnancy, a person may have normal thyroid function but Total T4 levels outside of the normal reference range. Tests measuring free T4 either a free T4 or free T4 index may more accurately reflect how the thyroid gland is functioning in these circumstances. An endocrinologist can determine when thyroid disease is present in the context of abnormal thyroid binding proteins.
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The Most Common Signs Of A Thyroid Disorder
There are two main reasons you and your doctor might want to start monitoring your thyroid. First, any family history of thyroid conditions, such as thyroid nodules, means you should keep an eye on yours as well. Additionally, it might be wise to do an exam if youre feeling an array of confusing symptoms where you just cant pinpoint the exact problem.
Fatigue, feeling cold or hot all the time, hair loss, sudden weight gain or loss, palpitations, diarrhea, or issues with your menstrual cycle can all signal a thyroid issue, said Sun Lee, an assistant professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, endocrinologist at Boston Medical Center, and member of the American Thyroid Association. The two main classifications of thyroid problems are hypothyroidism, where the gland is underactive, or hyperthyroidism, where its overactive. However, there can be other issues as well.
People often dont think they have a thyroid issue because the symptoms are thought of as synonymous with aging, said Cheryl Rosenfeld, managing partner of North Jersey Endocrine Consultants in Denville, New Jersey, and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology.
Many people pass off fatigue, weakness, loss of memory, dry skin or hair loss as expected effects of getting older, Rosenfeld said. However, it is important to rule out thyroid disease as a cause of these symptoms first.
Are There Different Types Of Thyroid Removal Surgery
If your healthcare provider determines that your thyroid needs to be removed, there are a couple of ways that can be done. Your thyroid may need to be completely removed or just partially. This will depend on the severity of your condition. Also, if your thyroid is very big or has a lot of growths on it, that could prevent you from being eligible for some types of surgery.
The surgery to remove your thyroid is called a thyroidectomy. There are two main ways this surgery can be done:
- With an incision on the front of your neck.
- With an incision in your armpit.
The incision on the front of your neck is more of the traditional version of a thyroidectomy. It allows your surgeon to go straight in and remove the thyroid. In many cases, this might be your best option. You may need this approach if your thyroid is particularly big or has a lot of larger nodules.
Alternatively, there is a version of the thyroid removal surgery where your surgeon makes an incision in your armpit and then creates a tunnel to your thyroid. This tunnel is made with a special tool called an elevated retractor. It creates an opening that connects the incision in your armpit with your neck. The surgeon will use a robotic arm that will move through the tunnel to get to the thyroid. Once there, it can remove the thyroid back through the tunnel and out of the incision in your armpit.
- Are not at a healthy body weight.
- Have large thyroid nodules.
- Have a condition like thyroiditis or Gravess disease.
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Reading Other Thyroid Test Results