How To Check Your Thyroid
This article was medically reviewed by Ricardo Correa, MD. Dr. Correa is a board certified Endocrinologist. Dr. Correa is the Program Director of the Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Fellowship at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and was a previous Assistant Professor of Medicine at Brown University. He completed his MD at the University of Panama and completed an internal medicine residency at the Jackson Memorial Hospital – University of Miami. He has been voted one of the 40 Under 40 Leaders in Health by the National Minority Quality Forum in 2019.There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 40,747 times.
The thyroid gland is located at the base of your neck. It is a very important gland that produces a hormone that helps regulate your entire bodys metabolism, temperature, heart rate, growth, and development.XResearch source The thyroid gland can be functionally underactive or overactive. The thyroid can be enlarged, have benign nodules and, more rarely, malignant nodules.
Thyroid Hormone Resistance And Also Disorder Of Thyroid Hormone Transport Or Metabolism
These are conditions that are rare and very difficult to diagnose properly. In these conditions sometimes because of genetic variation your body might become resistant to thyroid hormone. This is similar to what we see in Type II Diabetes where the body becomes resistant to the lin hormone.
The second condition is where there is a problem with either too high levels of thyroid binding protein or low levels of thyroid-binding protein. The thyroid hormone in the bloodstream is present in the bound form. Thyroid hormone is bound to thyroid binding protein, so if there is a significant difference in the levels of these thyroid-binding proteins it can interfere with optimal levels. Some of this condition is attributable to high cortisol levels and also is estrogen levels .
Signs Your Thyroid Isnt Working Right
by The Surgical Clinic |
The thyroid gland is an important part of the endocrine system. This butterfly-shaped organ regulates important hormones that influence many functions in your body. These hormones also influence how well your body performs physically and mentally.
Keep in mind, your body is a complicated and intricate system that operates on many levels of performance. However, over time many factors can build up and disrupt the balance of your body. Specifically, your systems can become overactive or underactive in order to compensate or respond to these factors.
Thyroid function problems, in particular, occur when the thyroid either becomes under or overused. These conditions are called hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, respectively. Both of these conditions can cause several problems. In order to explore twenty signs of thyroid problems, our Nashville, TN surgeons have divided them into ten signs for each of these separate conditions.
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How To Know If You Have A Thyroid Problem 7 Major Signs
How to know if you have a thyroid problem if no vivid signs are present on your body? There are 7 major signs that you can notice, so find out all about them on time!
The thyroid is a gland that intervenes in various metabolic processes, therefore, any deficit generates alterations. We tell you about the disorders it causes.
Thyroid diseases have a wide range of symptoms and associated disorders that usually have a serious impact on the quality of life of the patient, to a greater degree, women.
Fortunately, there are treatments for most. However, it must be said that these are usually quite long and even for life. On the other hand, it is possible that at some point patients require some surgical intervention to improve their quality of life.
Likewise, the thyroid gland regulates infinite metabolic processes and any deficiency or excess of the thyroid generates alterations that can be confused with other diseases. For example, tiredness or sudden weight gain. How to know if you have a thyroid problem, then?
Lets see below what the disorders are associated with thyroid diseases to understand the importance of paying attention to certain signs and discussing them with the doctor during the check-up.
How To Treat Thyroid Problems
Now that you know more about the problems that indicate thyroid problems, what should you do? Of course, the first thing you should do is ask your doctor about your symptoms. Depending on your symptoms, you may have another condition that needs to be treated.
However, if you are experiencing several of these symptoms at a time, you most likely have a thyroid condition.
Before you start receiving treatments, first youll need to work with your doctor to get tested. Typically this will include blood tests to check the levels of T4 and T3 in your blood. When the tests come back, your doctor will help you know that to do next.
Usually, treatments include hormone replacement therapy. Iodine supplements may be prescribed in order to treat goiters.
However, if your symptoms are severe, it can be a sign of thyroid cancer. In which case youll need to visit a thyroid surgeon to remove the cancerous cells. Chemotherapy and radiation oncology are also viable options.
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Are There Risk Factors That Increase Your Chances Of Having Thyroid Problems
Females are more likely to have a thyroid-related disease than males but other factors may increase the risk of thyroid problems. These include a family history of thyroid disease, having an autoimmune condition such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, ingesting excessive iodine , age older than 60, and having had a thyroid issue or thyroid cancer in the past.
What Causes Thyroid Problems
There are many steps that can go awry in this process of thyroid hormone production. The most common cause of thyroid disease is autoimmunity.
The most common autoimmune thyroid disease is Hashimotos thyroiditis. Hashimotos disease symptoms match the ones I outlined above.
Hashimotos usually appears as low thyroid symptoms, but as the body attacks the thyroid gland, thyroid hormone is released, and symptoms of hyperthyroidism can appear.
The other autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid is called Graves disease. This is less common, and its marked by signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism, like insomnia, racing heart, and rapid weight loss.
The definition of autoimmunity is straightforward:
Autoimmunity is the system of immune responses of an organism against its own healthy cells and tissues. Any disease that results from such an aberrant immune response is termed an autoimmune disease.
Understanding why autoimmunity happens, and how to reverse it, is much more complex.
Autoimmunity occurs due to a mixture of genetic predisposition and environmental factors. Autoimmunity is very much on the rise in our time and its likely thanks to our fast-paced, high-stress lifestyle combined with new chemicals and triggers in our environment.
Dr. Alessio Fasano has a theory that each autoimmunity case involves a genetic predisposition, a leaky gut and a vector, or an external infection or irritant that disrupts the body.
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Thyroid Problems: Here Are The Warning Signs And How To Check
If youre a woman, theres a good chance you spend a lot of time thinking about your breasts. You may have wanted them to be bigger as an adolescent, stressed about your milk supply as you became a mother and started lactating, or entered the stage of life where you need regular mammograms to help protect against breast cancer .
But theres another body part you need to make sure youre monitoring: your thyroid. Similar to the prevalence of breast cancer among women, the American Thyroid Association says that 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop a thyroid disorder, and 60% of those who have one are unaware of their condition.
Here, experts explain why staying on top of your thyroid function is important, and list some red flags that something may be up with yours.
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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What Are The Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism has many symptoms that can vary from person to person. Some common symptoms of hypothyroidism include
- thyroiditis, or inflammation of the thyroid
- congenital hypothyroidism, or hypothyroidism that is present at birth
- surgical removal of part or all of the thyroid
- radiation treatment of the thyroid
- some medicines
Less often, hypothyroidism is caused by too much or too little iodine in the diet or by disorders of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus.1 Iodine deficiency, however, is extremely rare in the United States.
Favorite Orgs For Essential Hypothyroidism Symptoms Info
As leading professionals on all things endocrinology, the physicians and experts from the Endocrine Society offer the latest research and 101 information on hypothyroidism. The Hormone Health Networks overview of hypothyroidism in particular is required reading for the latter, as its overview page offers key intel on how to spot signs of hypothyroidism and receive a prompt diagnosis.
Established in 1913, the American Thyroid Association is one of the oldest-serving organizations dedicated to thyroid health and research. Such extensive expertise informs their page on hypothyroidism, which not only discusses short-term symptoms, but also what you can expect with this condition down the road. Also be sure to check out the ATAs subpages on specific hypothyroid concerns, such as their Thyroid and Weight page, as weight changes are a key concern for people with this thyroid disease.
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Favorite Hypothyroid Symptom App
Unlike other smartphone apps that focus on your health more generally, Boost Thyroid includes specific measurements related to your thyroid health. Not only can you include your T4 and T3 levels after your blood work, but this free app has you track your symptoms, lifestyle, and supplement intake. Such data can be significant when reading it against your lab work, so we suggest showing your doctor the app and your tracking information to see how your symptoms may correlate with your current treatment plan. Download it on Google Play or the App Store.
Is There A Higher Risk Of Developing Thyroid Disease If I Have Diabetes
If you have diabetes, youre at a higher risk of developing a thyroid disease than people without diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder. If you already have one autoimmune disorder, you are more likely to develop another one.
For people with type 2 diabetes, the risk is lower, but still there. If you have type 2 diabetes, youre more likely to develop a thyroid disease later in life.
Regular testing is recommended to check for thyroid issues. Those with type 1 diabetes may be tested more often immediately after diagnosis and then every year or so than people with type 2 diabetes. There isnt a regular schedule for testing if you have type 2 diabetes, however your healthcare provider may suggest a schedule for testing over time.
If you have diabetes and get a positive thyroid test, there are a few things to you can do to help feel the best possible. These tips include:
- Getting enough sleep.
- Taking all of your medications as directed.
- Getting tested regularly as directed by your healthcare provider.
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What Is Postpartum Thyroiditis
Postpartum thyroiditis, or inflammation of the thyroid after giving birth, affects 10% of women. It often goes undiagnosed because symptoms are much like the “baby blues” that may follow delivery. Women with postpartum thyroiditis may feel very tired and moody.
Postpartum thyroiditis typically happens in two phases, though not everyone with the condition goes through both phases:
- The first phase starts 1 to 4 months after giving birth and typically last 1 to 2 months. In this phase, you may have because the damaged thyroid leaks thyroid hormones out into the bloodstream.
- The second phase starts about 4 to 8 months after delivery and lasts 6 to 12 months. In this phase, you may have because the thyroid has lost most of its hormones or because the immune attack is over and the thyroid may recover later.
Foot Pain And Cramping
Muscle, joint and nerve pains are not usually stressed as primary symptoms of hypothyroidism, but after years of hearing from hypothyroid patients at Hypothyroid Mom, there is one thing that I am certain about. Full thyroid testing should be conducted on every single person that presents with chronic pain or fibromyalgia.
The number of people that write to Hypothyroid Mom about plantar fasciitis, the pain along the bottom of the foot especially the heel that shoots through them especially when they step out of bed in the morning, cant be a mere coincidence. In the case of Hashimotos thyroiditis and Graves disease, the immune system can also attack the joints and muscles frequently in the feet and ankles. Like carpal tunnel syndrome, thyroid patients are also more vulnerable to develop tarsal tunnel syndrome. Add to this the increased risk of developing gout , burning feet from painful neuropathy , and plantar fasciitis , and the incidence of foot pain in thyroid disease becomes very clear.
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A Sore Or Hoarse Throat
Hypothyroidism may cause a sore throat or hoarseness if the thyroid becomes enlarged. This is often referred to as goiter.
An enlarged thyroid may present itself with a sore or hoarse throat, making it painful to speak or swallow.
The thyroid may become enlarged if you are suffering from Graves disease which is one of the causes of an overactive thyroid, also known as hyperthyroidism. Graves disease is an autoimmune disease, where the immune system attacks the thyroid.
Who Is At Risk For Thyroid Cancer
About three times as many women get thyroid cancer as men. The number of women with thyroid cancer is also going up. By 2020, the number of women with thyroid cancer is expected to double, from 34,000 women to more than 70,000 women.
Thyroid cancer is more common in women who:
- Are between the ages of 25 and 65
- Had radiation therapy to the head or neck, especially in childhood, to treat cancer
- Have a history of
- Have a family history of thyroid cancer
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Other Causes Of Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism can also result from thyroid nodules. These are lumps that develop inside the thyroid and sometimes begin producing thyroid hormones. Large lumps may create a noticeable goiter. Smaller lumps can be detected with ultrasound. A thyroid uptake and scan can tell if the lump is producing too much thyroid hormone.
The Role Of Your Thyroid
First, its good to know what your thyroid does in the body. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland right near the larynx that produces hormones, said Naresh Rao, a board-certified family medicine physician, partner at Sports Medicine at Chelsea and founder of Max Sports Health in New York City.
The thyroids main function is to produce triiodothyronine and thyroxine , which help regulate almost all bodily functions, including your weight, metabolism, energy levels and body temperature, as well as how your skin, hair and nails grow.
Theres also something called the thyroid-stimulating hormone, which is produced by the pituitary gland and tells your thyroid to make more T3 and T4. There are tests to check your TSH, T3 and T4 levels, all of which can tell doctors if you have a thyroid problem.
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Who Is Affected By Thyroid Disease
Thyroid disease can affect anyone men, women, infants, teenagers and the elderly. It can be present at birth and it can develop as you age .
Thyroid disease is very common, with an estimated 20 million people in the Unites States having some type of thyroid disorder. A woman is about five to eight times more likely to be diagnosed with a thyroid condition than a man.
You may be at a higher risk of developing a thyroid disease if you:
- Have a family history of thyroid disease.
- Have a medical condition .
- Take a medication thats high in iodine .
- Are older than 60, especially in women.
- Have had treatment for a past thyroid condition or cancer .
How Are Thyroid Diseases Diagnosed
It can be hard to tell if you have a thyroid disease. The symptoms are the same as many other health problems. Your doctor may start by asking about your health history and if any of your family members has had thyroid disease. Your doctor may also give you a physical exam and check your neck for thyroid nodules.
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may also do other tests, such as:
- Blood tests. Testing the level of thyroid stimulating hormone in your blood can help your doctor figure out if your thyroid is overactive or underactive. TSH tells your thyroid to make thyroid hormones. Depending on the results, your doctor might do another blood test to check levels of one or both thyroid hormones in your blood.
- Radioactive iodine uptake test. For this test, you swallow a liquid or capsule that holds a small dose of radioactive iodine . The radioiodine collects in your thyroid because your thyroid uses iodine to make thyroid hormone.
High levels of radioiodine mean that your thyroid makes too much of the thyroid hormone. Low levels mean that your thyroid does not make enough thyroid hormone.
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