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How To Get Your Thyroid Checked

Breast Development In Men

How to test your thyroid at home – easy home thyroid testing kit

An overactive thyroid can noticeably change a man’s bodyas well as have a negative impact on their sex life. “When thyroid hormone levels are too high, testosterone may be converted to estradiol, which can subsequently lead to breast development, decreased libido and erectile dysfunction,” says Dr. Skariah.

How Is Thyroid Disease Diagnosed

Sometimes, thyroid disease can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are easily confused with those of other conditions. You may experience similar symptoms when you are pregnant or aging and you would when developing a thyroid disease. Fortunately, there are tests that can help determine if your symptoms are being caused by a thyroid issue. These tests include:

  • Blood tests.
  • Physical exams.

Blood tests

One of the most definitive ways to diagnose a thyroid problem is through blood tests. Thyroid blood tests are used to tell if your thyroid gland is functioning properly by measuring the amount of thyroid hormones in your blood. These tests are done by taking blood from a vein in your arm. Thyroid blood tests are used to see if you have:

  • Hyperthyroidism.
  • Hypothyroidism.

The specific blood tests that will be done to test your thyroid can include:

These tests alone arent meant to diagnose any illness but may prompt your healthcare provider to do additional testing to evaluate for a possible thyroid disorder.

Additional blood tests might include:

Talk to your healthcare provider about the ranges for these thyroid blood tests. Your ranges might not be the same as someone elses. Thats often alright. If you have any concerns or worries about your blood test results, talk to your provider.

Imaging tests

An ultrasound typically takes about 20 to 30 minutes.

Physical exam

What Imaging Tests Do Doctors Use To Diagnose And Find The Cause Of Thyroid Disease

Your health care professional may order one or more imaging tests to diagnose and find the cause of thyroid disease. A trained technician usually does these tests in your doctors office, outpatient center, or hospital. A radiologist, a doctor who specializes in medical imaging, reviews the images and sends a report for your health care professional to discuss with you.

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Your Thyroid Does Change As You Age

As with any organ, your thyroid may start to function differently as you get older.

Thyroid dysfunction generally occurs in either early adulthood or between the ages of 40 to 50, Lee said. As we get into our 70s, TSH naturally increases, meaning that your thyroid hormone levels may shift to be a little lower. This seems to happen to protect our bodies as we age, with less stress on our heart and metabolic system.

This is important to note, Lee said, because it gives physicians a greater threshold to treat someone who is older who may have higher TSH levels. Alternatively, low TSH levels can be more harmful the older we get.

This isnt to say that if youre young, you dont need to think about your thyroid at all. Thyroid disorders can happen at many different ages, as can lumps.

We do know that the younger population, those in their 20s, 30s and 40s, can develop thyroid nodules, Rao said. The vast majority of these nodules, especially if theyre below one centimeter, are 95% of the time completely benign. But its still important to be aware that they are there, and periodically monitor them.

Testing Your Hormone Levels

Why You Should Get Your Thyroid Checked

To determine if you have an issue with your thyroid, a doctor will order a simple blood test measuring TSH, which should fall between .4 and 4.0 milli-international units per liter .

James Hennessey, M.D., director of clinical endocrinology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, notes that studies indicate that higher levels of TSH can be normal as we age.

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To get the most accurate results from the blood test, experts recommend that you give your doctor a complete list of all medications you take, including vitamins and supplements, which can influence both test results and thyroid function. Supplements that claim to naturally boost metabolism can be especially problematic, as they often contain bovine thyroid tissue, which may contain hormones that disrupt your own thyroid function.

Eating large amounts of soybean products, walnuts, cottonseed meal, kelp or seaweed as well as taking supplements with iodine, calcium or iron can also cause problems with thyroid function and blood test accuracy. Consuming excessive amounts of sushi or tofu can skew test results, too. And, Singer says, if you take or use biotin products , these should be discontinued several days before testing. For the most precise results, experts also advise that you have your blood drawn in the morning before eating or drinking anything.

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You’re Tired All The Time Or You Can’t Sleep

Insomnia can have many causes. But if you’re having a hard time sleeping, it could be hyperthyroidism, according to the Mayo Clinic. In addition, Dr. Block said, “I also find racing thoughts before bedtime often accompany hyperthyroidism.” That is something that we might think is psychological, but it can have a physical cause.

Another symptom to watch out for is fatigue, which can be a symptom of both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Dr. Ehsan Ali, the physician known as the Beverly Hills Concierge Doctor, told me that fatigue is a big sign you should get your thyroid checked.

The Link Between Hyperthyroidism And Menopause

Disorders of the thyroid, especially hyperthyroidism, can mimic menopause, causing similar symptoms.

It can be difficult to differentiate between hyperthyroidism and menopause, which makes treatment almost impossible.

Additionally, hyperthyroidism can worsen the symptoms of menopause. Many women have found great relief in their menopause symptoms after being treated for their thyroid disorders.

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Side Effects And Aftercare

A blood draw is a routine, minimally invasive procedure. During the days immediately after the blood draw, you may notice slight bruising or soreness at the area where the needle was inserted. An ice pack or an over-the-counter pain reliever can help ease your discomfort.

If you experience a great deal of pain, or if the area around the puncture becomes red and swollen, follow up with your doctor immediately. These could be signs of an infection.

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.

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How To Make Sure Sure You Are On The Right Dose

If you have hypothyroidism, you must find the right type and dose of thyroid medicationfor you. Your doctor will determine your starting dose based on your age, underlying health conditions, and blood test results. Starting doses may vary. For example, some people begin at a full replacement dose of 1.7 mcg/kg/day. In contrast, others are started at low doses between 25mcg-50mcg/day and titrated up as necessary. It can take several weeks to determine if the amount is therapeutic or not.

Once you find the right dose of thyroid medication, is it essential that you stay on that same dose and take it every day. You will also want to use the same brand continuously. Switching between generic and brand medications can change how your body responds to each type of medication. To remain stable on your thyroid medication, make sure that you know about things that can affect thyroid medication absorption.

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Signs To Look Out For

So theres no hard, fast rule for when to get your thyroid checked, but there are certain signs and symptoms that can point to a thyroid problem. Any of the following can indicate a thyroid issue:

  • Chronic fatigue. Feeling exhausted all the time even when you get enough sleep.
  • Feeling anxious or depressed can be a sign of an underproduction of thyroid hormones.
  • Sudden weight gain or loss. Thyroid hormones are largely responsible for metabolism regulation and get have an impact on a patients weight.

These symptoms may be indicative of hyperthyroidism , hypothyroidism , or other thyroid conditions. If you notice any of these signs, its time to get your thyroid levels checked. Your primary care physician should be able to order the appropriate tests. Once a thyroid diagnosis is made, you may need the help of a doctor who specializes in thyroid treatment or removal.

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Can I Check My Thyroid At Home

You can do a quick and easy self-exam of your thyroid at home. The only tools you need to do this self-exam are a mirror and a glass of water.

To do the thyroid self-exam, follow these steps:

  • Start by identifying where your thyroid is located. Generally, youll find the thyroid on the front of your neck, between your collar bone and Adams apple. In men, the Adams apple is much easier to see. For women, its usually easiest to look from the collar bone up.
  • Tip your head back while looking in a mirror. Look at your neck and try to hone in on the space you will be looking once you start the exam.
  • Once youre ready, take a drink of water while your head is tilted back. Watch your thyroid as you swallow. During this test, youre looking for lumps or bumps. You may be able to see them when you swallow the water.

Repeat this test a few times to get a good look at your thyroid. If you see any lumps or bumps, reach out to your healthcare provider.

Signs Of Thyroid Trouble

Get Your Thyroid Checked Now

Untreated thyroid disorders can lead to serious health complications

    The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists estimates that 30 million Americans have some kind of thyroid disorder. That’s a surprising number but even more startling is that up to 50 percent of people with thyroid disease aren’t even aware that they have it.

    “Its common for people to chalk up some thyroid symptoms fatigue, irritability, sleep problems to general life stress,” says Tiffany Hor, MD, an endocrinologist at Rush.

    Such nonspecific symptoms are often easy to ignore, but the consequences of postponing diagnosis and treatment can be serious: Over the long term, untreated thyroid issues can lead to health complications ranging from an increased risk of osteoporosis to cardiovascular issues.

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    Its Most Commonly A Sign Of Hypothyroidism

    Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid is underactive, meaning it does not create enough thyroid hormone. According to David Beatty, MRCGP, a general practitioner with more than 30 years of experience, if you have hypothyroidism, most of the eyebrow hair loss occurs in the outer third part of your brow where it extends toward your ears. Thinning eyebrows in this area are often cited as a unique, early symptom of hypothyroidism.

    Other symptoms of an underactive thyroid include dry skin, brittle nails, or weight gain, says Shafipour.

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    What Causes Thyroid Disease

    The two main types of thyroid disease are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Both conditions can be caused by other diseases that impact the way the thyroid gland works.

    Conditions that can cause hypothyroidism include:

    • Thyroiditis: This condition is an inflammation of the thyroid gland. Thyroiditis can lower the amount of hormones your thyroid produces.
    • Hashimotos thyroiditis: A painless disease, Hashimotos thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition where the bodys cells attack and damage the thyroid. This is an inherited condition.
    • Postpartum thyroiditis: This condition occurs in 5% to 9% of women after childbirth. Its usually a temporary condition.
    • Iodine deficiency: Iodine is used by the thyroid to produce hormones. An iodine deficiency is an issue that affects several million people around the world..
    • A non-functioning thyroid gland: Sometimes, the thyroid gland doesnt work correctly from birth. This affects about 1 in 4,000 newborns. If left untreated, the child could have both physical and mental issues in the future. All newborns are given a screening blood test in the hospital to check their thyroid function.

    Conditions that can cause hyperthyroidism include:

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    Can Pregnancy Cause Me To Develop Thyroid Issues

    You may develop an illness called postpartum thyroiditis after you give birth. During the next 12 months, you might experience weight loss, develop an increased sensitivity to heat, and suffer from other health issues. The symptoms of postpartum thyroiditis may resemble the health issues that are associated with hyperthyroidism.

    Unfortunately, some healthcare providers may misdiagnose this problem. For example, your healthcare provider might believe that a postpartum mood disorder is causing you to experience these negative symptoms. If you receive a misdiagnosis and do not treat your postpartum thyroiditis, you might develop other health issues. If you are experiencing symptoms of this illness, you should visit our office in Louisville for thyroid testing.

    How Having Hyperthyroidism Changed My Life

    How To Check Your Thyroid

    In early 2007, I found that I was tired all the time and felt very weak. My muscles seemed to get tired quickly even just walking down the street from my car to my house seemed to wear me out. I also had tremors in my hands, I was hot all the time, even in winter, and my eyesight seemed to be fading.

    I chalked some of it up to stress at work but I began to get really scared when even on days off from work, I was still so exhausted. So I went to my primary care physician to see what was going on. He ran a battery of tests, including blood work, on me, and discovered my thyroid numbers were way off, indicating an overactive thyroid.

    My physician referred me to an endocrinologist, a doctor who is a specialist in thyroid issues. All it took was him taking literally one look at me, as well as feeling my thyroid nodules in my neck, to figure out that I appeared to have Graves’ Disease, an autoimmune disease that causes hyperthyroidism. He also asked me about how I was feeling. I didn’t have all of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. For example, my hair didn’t change, and my skin stayed the same. But I had enough of the symptoms to indicate that there was an issue.

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    Follow This Eating Pattern

    Eating plenty of colorful vegetables and fruit along with heart-healthy fats such as olive oil and nuts as well as fish and vegetarian proteins appears to be one of the healthiest ways to promote weight loss and prevent chronic diseases. It may also make your cells more sensitive to insulin, reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

    In particular, oily fish contains long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that may help reduce insulin resistance, a risk-factor for Type 2 diabetes.

    Having healthy fats in your meals and snacks triggers the release of hormones that help you feel more satiated, which can support weight loss.

    What Should I Do If I Have A Hormonal Imbalance

    The testing is complete, the results are in, and it appears as though you may be experiencing some kind of hormone imbalance or age-related hormone change. While this may be frightening, its important to remember that hormone imbalances are often easily resolved.

    Depending on the severity and the cause of your hormone issue, you may be able to resolve the issue naturally via careful lifestyle adjustments. In other cases, you may consider replacing the hormones your body is lacking in order to restore balance. This treatment option is called hormone replacement therapy, and its a very common first line of defense against hormone problems of all kinds.

    A good hormone health practitioner will help you understand your treatment options and create a comprehensive plan that makes sense for you. With their support, you can find the best path toward symptom relief and optimal health.

    If you are interested in hormone testing, BodyLogicMD can help. The practitioners in the BodyLogicMD network are experts in hormone replacement therapy and dedicated to helping patients achieve hormonal balance. Using a functional approach to medicine, each patient is treated as a whole individual, receiving nutrition and lifestyle counseling in addition to any necessary medications. If you need a hormone balance test or are looking for a specialist to interpret the results, contact a local practitioner today. Or take the BodyLogicMD Hormone Balance Quiz to better understand the impact of hormones.

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