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How To Get Tested For Thyroid Problems

What Does The Thyroid Do

How to test your Thyroid at home

Your thyroid has an important job to do within your body releasing and controlling thyroid hormones that control metabolism. Metabolism is a process where the food you take into your body is transformed into energy. This energy is used throughout your entire body to keep many of your bodys systems working correctly. Think of your metabolism as a generator. It takes in raw energy and uses it to power something bigger.

The thyroid controls your metabolism with a few specific hormones T4 and T3 . These two hormones are created by the thyroid and they tell the bodys cells how much energy to use. When your thyroid works properly, it will maintain the right amount of hormones to keep your metabolism working at the right rate. As the hormones are used, the thyroid creates replacements.

This is all supervised by something called the pituitary gland. Located in the center of the skull, below your brain, the pituitary gland monitors and controls the amount of thyroid hormones in your bloodstream. When the pituitary gland senses a lack of thyroid hormones or a high level of hormones in your body, it will adjust the amounts with its own hormone. This hormone is called thyroid stimulating hormone . The TSH will be sent to the thyroid and it will tell the thyroid what needs to be done to get the body back to normal.

How Are Diabetes And Thyroid Disease Connected

The prevalence of thyroid disease among people with type 2 diabetes is higher than in the general population, and 17 to 30 percent of people with type 1 have thyroid disease.

Thats a pretty stark contrast to the general U.S. population where only 12 percent will develop a thyroid condition.

In other words, people living with diabetes are nearly twice as likely to develop thyroid disease compared to the general population.

However, that does not mean that diabetes causes thyroid disease, or vice-versa.

How Is Thyroid Disease Treated

Your healthcare providers goal is to return your thyroid hormone levels to normal. This can be done in a variety of ways and each specific treatment will depend on the cause of your thyroid condition.

If you have high levels of thyroid hormones , treatment options can include:

  • Anti-thyroid drugs : These are medications that stop your thyroid from making hormones.
  • Radioactive iodine: This treatment damages the cells of your thyroid, preventing it from making high levels of thyroid hormones.
  • Beta blockers: These medications dont change the amount of hormones in your body, but they help control your symptoms.
  • Surgery: A more permanent form of treatment, your healthcare provider may surgically remove your thyroid . This will stop it from creating hormones. However, you will need to take thyroid replacement hormones for the rest of your life.

If you have low levels of thyroid hormones , the main treatment option is:

  • Thyroid replacement medication: This drug is a synthetic way to add thyroid hormones back into your body. One drug thats commonly used is called levothyroxine. By using a medication, you can control thyroid disease and live a normal life.

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What Other Problems Can Hypothyroidism Cause

Hypothyroidism can contribute to high cholesterol. In rare cases, untreated hypothyroidism can cause myxedema coma. This is a condition in which your body’s functions slow down to the point that it becomes life-threatening.

During pregnancy, hypothyroidism can cause complications, such as premature birth, high blood pressure in pregnancy, and miscarriage. It can also slow the baby’s growth and development.

What Is The Role Of The Thyroid Gland

Suspect Low Thyroid? It

The thyroid is located at the front of the neck and consists of two lobes, one on each side of the windpipe and adjoined by a small strip of thyroid tissue known as the isthmus. The three hormones produced by the thyroid are:

  • T3
  • T4
  • Calcitonin

T3 and T4 are the active forms of the thyroid hormone, thyroxine, and are involved in the regulation of:

  • The bodys metabolic rate
  • Bone maintenance

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How Much Does The Test Cost

The cost of a thyroid panel depends on your insurance coverage and where the test is performed. If ordered by a doctor, insurance normally covers a thyroid panel except for any patient cost-sharing such as copays or deductibles. Check with your health plan and health care provider for specific cost details.

At-home thyroid tests usually cost less than $150, which includes the cost of shipping your blood sample to the lab.

What Are The Types Of Thyroid Disorders

    Blood tests are used to diagnose hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. They do not point to a specific cause. In order to determine a cause of the thyroid abnormality, the doctor will consider the patient’s history, physical examination, and medical condition. Further testing might be used to isolate an underlying cause. These tests might include more blood testing for

    • thyroid antibodies,
    • ultrasound of the thyroid gland, or
    • others.

    If thyroid cancer is suspected and surgery may be required, your physician may ask for a blood test known as thyroglobulin.

    • Thyroglobulin is a protein made only by thyroid cells.
    • If the thyroglobulin level at baseline is detectable or elevated it can be used as a tumor marker.
    • After a total thyroidectomy for cancer the level should fall to an undetectable range since the cells that make thyroglobulin have been removed.
    • If the level remains detectable after surgery, there is a possibility of thyroid tissue elsewhere in the body, and metastatic disease should be considered.
    • If the level is undetectable for a period of time after surgery and then starts to climb, a recurrence of the cancer – either at the primary site or elsewhere in the body should be considered.

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    How Long Does It Take To Recover From Thyroid Surgery

    It will take your body a few weeks to recover after your thyroid is surgically removed . During this time you should avoid a few things, including:

    • Submerging your incision under water.
    • Lifting an object thats heavier than 15 pounds.
    • Doing more than light exercise.

    This generally lasts for about two weeks. After that, you can return to your normal activities.

    Changes In Menstrual Cycle Or Sexual Performance

    How To Test For Thyroid Imbalance The Right Way

    Hormonal changes are closely linked to sexual function. If you find that your period is becoming irregular, heavier, or more painful than before, or if you are experiencing stronger emotional symptoms tied to PMS, your thyroid might be the cause.

    You might also experience difficulty with sexual performance or enjoyment. If you are having difficulty with libido or achieving orgasm or if you cannot maintain an erection, you could also be struggling with a thyroid-related symptom.

    While these are uncomfortable issues to talk about, they should absolutely be addressed with us to rule out not only thyroid trouble but also anything else that might quietly be causing these issues.

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    What Do The Results Mean

    Your results may show one of the following:

    • Negative: no thyroid antibodies were found. This means your thyroid symptoms are probably not caused by an autoimmune disease.
    • Positive: antibodies to TPO and/or Tg were found. This may mean you have Hashimoto disease. Most people with Hashimoto disease have high levels of one or both of these types of antibodies.
    • Positive: antibodies to TPO and/or TSH receptor were found. This may mean you have Graves disease.

    The more thyroid antibodies you have, the more likely it is that you have an autoimmune disorder of the thyroid. If you are diagnosed with Hashimoto disease or Graves disease, there are medicines you can take to manage your condition.

    What Does My Thyroid Do

    Located at the front of your neck, the thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland. Glands are organs that can be found all over your body. They create and release hormones substances that help your body function and grow. The thyroid gland plays a big part in many of your bodys main functions. Your thyroid gland regulates your body temperature and controls your heart rate and metabolism.

    When your thyroid gland is working correctly, your body is in balance and all of your systems function properly. If your thyroid stops working in the way its meant to creating too much or too little of thyroid hormones it can impact your entire body.

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    What Are The Complications Of Thyroid Cancer

    Most thyroid cancers respond well to treatment and arent life-threatening.

    After thyroid surgery or treatments, your body still needs thyroid hormones to function. Youll need thyroid replacement hormone therapy for life. Synthetic thyroid hormones, such as levothyroxine , take over for the thyroid hormones that your body no longer naturally produces.

    How Is Thyroid Disease Diagnosed And Evaluated

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    Symptoms often prompt patients to visit the doctor, including fatigue, the inability to get pregnant, changes in the skin or hair, a lump in the neck, hoarseness or pain in the thyroid area. Based on these symptoms, a doctor will likely perform a physical exam to determine whether the thyroid is enlarged and order blood tests to measure thyroid hormone levels. If blood tests reveal signs of abnormal thyroid activity or thyroid cancer, further testing will be required, such as:

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    What Medications Can Affect The Thyroid Panel Tests

    Many multivitamins, supplements , and over-the-counter and prescription medications may affect thyroid test results and their use should be discussed with your healthcare practitioner prior to testing. For example, biotin can interfere with some lab tests, so your healthcare practitioner may advise you to refrain from taking biotin or supplements that contain biotin for a few days before having blood drawn for a thyroid panel.

    Is There Anything Else I Need To Know About A Thyroid Antibodies Test

    Thyroid disease can get worse during pregnancy. This can harm both the mother and her unborn baby. If you have ever had thyroid disease and are pregnant, you may be tested for thyroid antibodies along with tests that measure thyroid hormones. Medicines to treat thyroid disease are safe to take during pregnancy.

    The medical information provided is for informational purposes only, and is not to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please contact your health care provider with questions you may have regarding medical conditions or the interpretation of test results.

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    What Are The Risk Factors For Thyroid Nodules

    Risk factors for developing thyroid nodules include:

    • Family history. Having parents or siblings who have had thyroid nodules or thyroid or other endocrine cancers increases your chance of developing nodules.
    • Age: The chance of developing nodules increases as you get older.
    • Gender: Women are more likely than men to develop thyroid nodules.
    • Radiation exposure: A history of radiation exposure to the head and neck increases your risk of developing nodules.

    Risk factors for developing cancerous thyroid nodules include:

    • Family history of thyroid cancer
    • A nodule that is hard or is stuck to a nearby structure
    • Male gender

    Summary Of Recommendation And Evidence

    Thyroid Problems? Get THIS Test! TPO

    The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for thyroid dysfunction in nonpregnant, asymptomatic adults . I statement.

    See the Clinical Considerations section for suggestions for practice regarding the I statement.

    Screening for Thyroid Dysfunction: Clinical Summary of the USPSTF Recommendation

    Population

    note: For a summary of the evidence systematically reviewed in making this recommendation, the full recommendation statement, and supporting documents, go to .

    USPSTF = U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

    Screening for Thyroid Dysfunction: Clinical Summary of the USPSTF Recommendation

    Population

    note: For a summary of the evidence systematically reviewed in making this recommendation, the full recommendation statement, and supporting documents, go to .

    USPSTF = U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

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    How Does A Blood Test For Hyperthyroidism Work

    A TSH test for hyperthyroidism evaluates your levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone , and the thyroid hormones T3 and T4 may also be evaluated. Because TSH signals the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormones, unusually low levels of TSH can mean that your thyroid is making too many hormones. T3 and T4 measurements can also reveal just how high your thyroid hormone levels are, which can help your healthcare provider decide on a treatment strategy.

    How A Doctor Checks A Thyroid

    If you go to your physician about a thyroid issue, chances are they will physically examine your thyroid. But you will also need to get blood tests that break down your thyroid levels. Dr. Block explained to me the TSH Test is what is used to diagnose thyroid issues. It measures these “signals from your pituitary to your thyroid,” but she explained that the TSH levels are “the opposite of what people think.” A high TSH level indicates hypothyroidism and a low level indicated hyperthyroidism.

    She said that a “high TSH is seen in hypothyroidism because your brain is yelling at your thyroid to speed up,” while a “low TSH is seen in hyperthyroidism because your pituitary is telling your thyroid to slow down or stop making thyroid hormone.”

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    Thyroid Disease Symptoms With Normal Thyroid Test Results

    The conventional way of determining thyroid dysfunction is measuring TSH. But with just one thyroid hormone level being checked we miss the chance of complete evaluation of thyroid.

    And thus thyroid dysfunction often goes unnoticed and thats the reason people have suffered for several years before finally someone checks their thyroid completely and discovers the underlying cause of the problem.

    Below I am going to talk about the reasons why are maybe experiencing thyroid disease symptoms with normal thyroid test results. your thyroid tests might be normal but why are you still feeling the symptoms:

    Test Your Thyroid Function At Home

    The Easy Guide to Decoding Your Thyroid Tests

    Over 27 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. Unfortunately, a whopping 60% do not even know they have this condition. This is because most doctors are not testing for it or they are not doing the full thyroid panel that is necessary to diagnose a thyroid condition. In this article, I will show you how to test your thyroid function at home for free.

    If you are a woman, you have a 75% greater risk of developing a thyroid problem than if you are a man! 80% of these thyroid conditions are thought to be autoimmune in nature, where the bodys immune system is attacking the thyroid tissue .

    Unfortunately, most people struggle with poor thyroid hormone expression and are never properly diagnosed or treated to improve their quality of life and overall functionality. The purpose of this article is to give you an easy to perform home test you can do to tip off a possible thyroid problem and get the proper testing from your doctor.

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    How Are Thyroid Nodules Treated

    Treatment depends on the type of thyroid nodule. Treatment options include:

    • No treatment/”watchful waiting.” If the nodules are not cancerous, you and your doctor may decide that you dont need to be treated at this time. You will see your doctor on a regular basis so he or she can watch for any changes in the nodules.
    • Radioactive iodine. Your doctor may use radioactive iodine to treat hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules and goiters with several nodules. The radioactive iodine is absorbed into the thyroid gland, causing the nodules to shrink. Pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant should not have this treatment.
    • Surgery. Surgery to take out the nodules is the best treatment for nodules that are cancerous, cause “obstructive symptoms” , and are suspicious .

    What Are The Symptoms Of Thyroid Cancer

    You or your healthcare provider might feel a lump or growth in your neck called a thyroid nodule. Dont panic if you have a thyroid nodule. Most nodules are benign . Only about three out of 20 thyroid nodules turn out to be cancerous .

    Other signs of thyroid cancer include:

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    Your Weight Suddenly Changes Or You’re Always Hungry

    Dr. Block told me that “most people recognize weight changes as the primary symptom of thyroid problems,” although the endocrinologist said “it is often not the first sign to appear.” That’s because the thyroid regulates our metabolism, so if that goes awry, so can our weight.

    The Mayo Clinic lists “sudden weight loss, even when your appetite and the amount and type of food you eat remain the same or even increase” as a primary symptom of hyperthyroidism. And weight gain that people might attribute to other factors, such as getting older, may possibly be hypothyroidism.

    Should I Exercise If I Have A Thyroid Disease

    Thyroid and Infertility! Get Your TSH Level Tested!

    Regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. You do not need to change your exercise routine if you have a thyroid disease. Exercise does not drain your bodys thyroid hormones and it shouldnt hurt you to exercise. It is important to talk to your healthcare provider before you start a new exercise routine to make sure that its a good fit for you.

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    How Is Thyroid Cancer Treated

    The main treatment for thyroid cancer is surgery to take out the whole thyroid gland or as much of it as can be safely removed. Surgery alone can cure thyroid cancer if the cancer is small and has not yet spread to lymph nodes.

    Your doctor may also use radioiodine therapy after surgery. Radioiodine therapy destroys any thyroid cancer cells that were not removed during surgery or that have spread to other parts of the body.

    Your doctor may also talk with you about other treatments for thyroid cancer. Learn more about thyroid cancer treatments at the National Cancer Institute.

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