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HomeExclusiveWhere Do You Get Your Thyroid Checked

Where Do You Get Your Thyroid Checked

If You Snore At Night It Could Be A Sign Of An Underactive Thyroid

How To Do A Thyroid Neck Check Self-Exam

Snoring has a number of potential explanations, a thyroid problem being one of them. Respiratory disturbances are fairly common in people with hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid. “People with hypothyroidism may experience sleep apnea, which can cause snoring,” says Sapna Shah, MD, an endocrinologist with Paloma Health. Although not everyone who snores experiences sleep apnea, a condition where your breathing repeatedly stops and starts throughout the night, it is a leading cause of snoring. “The thyroid gland makes hormones that regulate your body’s metabolic rate. When the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormones, you might experience symptoms that feel like the body is slowing down, like tiredness, muscle cramps, or a depressed mood. So, sleep apnea associated with hypothyroidism may be due to increased mucus in the upper airway, decreased lung function, or weight gaina common symptom of hypothyroidism,” she explains.

How Does A Blood Test For Hypothyroidism Work

How to test for hypothyroidism?

Itâs important to note that there is no hypothyroidism test that can check thyroid hormones andâbased only on those test resultsâconclusively determine if someone has hypothyroidism. Thatâs because both thyroid hormone testing and a physicianâs evaluation of symptoms and medical history is required for a diagnosis.

A blood test for hypothyroidism is based on your levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone and the thyroid hormones T3 and T4. Because TSH signals the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormones, unusually high levels of TSH can mean that your thyroid isnât making enough hormones.

A thyroid lab test might also measure T3 and T4 to reveal just how low your thyroid hormone levels are, which can help your healthcare provider decide on a treatment strategy.

Signs You Should Get Your Thyroid Checked

One tiny gland in your body that weighs under one ounce can put you into a world of hurt if it is not working correctly. That would be the thyroid gland. The Mayo Clinic notes that your thyroid “is located at the base of your neck, just below the Adam’s apple.” The gland contains hormones that regulate multiple functions in your body, including your metabolism, heart rate, and body temperature. So if it malfunctions, you can have a variety of health issues.

There are two basic ways your thyroid gland can go awry, according to EndocrineWeb.com: hyperthyroidism, in which the gland produces too much thyroid hormone, and hypothyroidism, in which it produces too little. These disorders can be caused by a variety of issues and are more common in women than in men, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Here are the symptoms you should watch out for that can show that the gland is overactive or underactive.

Also Check: What Happens When Thyroid Nodules Grow

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.

Simple Test Straightforward Treatment

Do You Have These Symptoms? It Could be Your Thyroid

The good news: Most thyroid problems are easy to diagnose with a simple blood test that measures your level of thyroid hormone. “The test is very reliable and very sensitive,” says Hor.

Treatments are often very straightforward as well. Hypothyroidism is frequently treated with an inexpensive synthetic thyroid hormone that’s taken orally and is usually very well tolerated.

Hyperthyroidism treatments are more varied but might include 12 to 18 months of an oral medication or a one-time dose of radioactive iodine .

Bottom line: “If youre feeling fine and your weight is stable, there’s no need to get checked,” says Hor. “But if you notice one or more of these symptoms, or if you have a family history of thyroid dysfunction, ask your primary care doctor whether you should be tested.”

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Signs Your Thyroid Isn’t Working Right

Thyroid hormones affect everything from your brain to your bowels.

At least 30 million Americans have a thyroid disorder and half15 millionare silent sufferers who are undiagnosed, according to The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. Women are as much as 10 times as likely as men to have a thyroid problem, says integrative medicine specialist Robin Miller, MD, co-author of The Smart Woman’s Guide to MidLife & Beyond.

Located above the Adam’s apple, your thyroid produces thyroid hormone , which regulates, among other things, your body’s temperature, metabolism, and heartbeat. Things can start to go wrong when your thyroid is under- or over-active. If it’s sluggish, it produces too little TH; amped-up and it produces too much. What causes your thyroid to go haywire? It could be genetics, an autoimmune attack, pregnancy, stress, nutritional deficiencies, or toxins in the environment, but experts aren’t entirely sure. Because of thyroid hormones far reach in the bodyfrom brain to bowelsdiagnosing a disorder can be challenging. Here’s how to tell if your thyroid could be on the blink.

Too little thyroid hormone coursing through your bloodstream and cells means your muscles aren’t getting that get-going signal.

“Fatigue is the number one symptom I see,” says Dr. Miller. “It’s the kind of fatigue where you’re still tired in the morning after a full night’s sleepthat’s a clue that you’re not simply sleep deprived; your thyroid may be underactive.”

Breast Development In Men

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.;

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What To Do Next

If there is asymmetry between sides or any out-of-place bumps near your thyroid gland that become apparent when you swallow, you need to discuss your findings with a doctor. An endocrinologist specializes in evaluating and treating glands like the thyroid and would be able to confirm whether or not you have thyroid cancer or another thyroid disorder.

Here is a short video with a demonstration of the thyroid self check:

Read these related posts:

What Is Thyroid Disease

Thyroid exam: How to check your thyroid with Dr. Christianson

Thyroid disease is a general term for a medical condition that keeps your thyroid from making the right amount of hormones. Your thyroid typically makes hormones that keep your body functioning normally. When the thyroid makes too much thyroid hormone, your body uses energy too quickly. This is called hyperthyroidism. Using energy too quickly will do more than make you tired it can make your heart beat faster, cause you to lose weight without trying and even make you feel nervous. On the flip-side of this, your thyroid can make too little thyroid hormone. This is called hypothyroidism. When you have too little thyroid hormone in your body, it can make you feel tired, you might gain weight and you may even be unable to tolerate cold temperatures.

These two main disorders can be caused by a variety of conditions. They can also be passed down through families .

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Why Hypothyroidism Is Not Diagnosed On Symptoms Alone

Many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism are fairly common complaints found in people with a normally functioning thyroid gland, so it can be hard to decipher if the symptoms are related to the thyroid. One of the best ways to figure out if your symptoms could be related to a thyroid condition is to consider how long you have been experiencing them.;

For example, have you always felt cold when others were warm? Did you just start to notice decreased energy? If you are starting to notice new signs and symptoms, it could be related to a thyroid issue. However, only a physician can diagnose a thyroid problem.

What Are Thyroid Hormones

The thyroid is a small gland that sits at the front of your neck. Itâs responsible for controlling many of the bodyâs key activities â such as metabolism. It does this by releasing specific hormones into the bloodstream.

A hormone is small chemical messenger that allows different parts of your body to âtalkâ with each other. The thyroid makes two kinds of hormones: thyroxine and triiodothyronine . These hormones circulate in your blood, allowing the thyroid gland to regulate many of the bodyâs important functions, such as:

  • Metabolism â Thyroid hormones tell the body when to burn fat, which gives you more energy. Thyroid hormones can also trigger the production of glucose â a sugar formed from carbohydrates â to provide your body with more energy.
  • Heart rate â Thyroid hormones can affect your resting heart rate .
  • Internal body temperature â Thyroid hormones are involved in regulating your bodyâs internal temperature â so the thyroid gland acts a bit like a thermostat that helps make sure your body doesnât get too cool or too hot.

Whatâs more, thyroid hormones can contribute to more wakefulness and alertness because of how they affect the nervous system.

In short, your body requires the right balance of thyroid hormone levels in order to effectively carry out many of its functions.

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You’re More Sensitive To Cold Or Heat Or You Sweat A Lot

Since one of the things the thyroid does is regulate body temperature, if it is malfunctioning, you may notice it with how you feel when it comes to the cold and heat. The Mayo Clinic cites both “sweating” and “increased sensitivity to heat” as symptoms of hyperthyroidism, while “increased sensitivity to cold” can be a sign of hypothyroidism.

Dr. Jason Cohen, a Los Angeles-based surgeon and expert in thyroid cancer treatment, told me that because “the thyroid maintains our homeostasis and keeps the body’s energy levels in check,” when it malfunctions, people may notice a difference in body temperature. When the “thyroid levels are low,” he said, “people typically feel cold all the time,” and when the levels are high, people may be “feeling hot or sweating.” So what women of a certain age may think of as menopausal hot flashes may have another cause.

Take A Sip And Take A Look

13 thyroid facts everyone should know

Take a sip of water and tilt your head back with your chin up, and keep an eye on your throat and neck as you swallow.

You may need to do this several times to get a good look at your neck as you swallowkeeping your chin up and your eyes down on the mirror can be a bit tricky at first.

Watch the thyroid area as you swallow, looking for any bulges near the area where your thyroid gland would be. Is the area symmetrical as you swallow, or is there a difference between the sides.

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Other Ways To Test Your Thyroid

What about the more traditional ways to assess your thyroid? Those shouldn’t be ignored either which is why they are mentioned here.;

First on the list is the use of thyroid function testing which can be done by checking your blood.;

This gives us an idea as to how much thyroid your gland is producing in total because we can assume that most of the thyroid that is produced by your thyroid gland is being released into your blood.;

We can also test how responsive your thyroid gland is to influence from your brain by looking at hormones which are secreted from the brain .;

All of this information helps us understand how your thyroid is functioning at the various levels of thyroid regulation.;

Each one is important and has value, contrary to popular belief, with some tests being more valuable than others.;

Thyroid Function Testing

There is definitely an art to testing the thyroid with many different tests being available.;

Ordering the right tests and putting them into the greater context is very important for every thyroid patient.;

I recommend that you use thyroid lab testing in conjunction with the other tests I already mentioned.;

As it relates to lab tests, I’ve broken down the important lab tests below.;

You can read more about each of these labs, what they mean, and how to interpret your results in the links provided above.;

Each test gives you slightly different information and it’s important to understand how they all fit together.;

Ultrasound testing

And this is a good thing.;

What Is Being Tested

A thyroid panel is a group of tests that may be ordered together to help evaluate thyroid gland function and to help diagnose thyroid disorders. The tests included in a thyroid panel measure the level of thyroid hormones in the blood.

A thyroid panel usually includes tests for:

  • Free T3 or total T3
  • Although rarely used these days, sometimes a T3 resin uptake test is included. T3RU and T4 can be used to calculate a free thyroxine index . This is another method for evaluating thyroid function. It corrects for changes in certain proteins that can affect total T4 levels.

    The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped organ that lies flat across the windpipe at the base of the neck that produces thyroid hormones, primarily T4 and some T3. These hormones travel throughout the body and regulate the metabolism by telling the cells in the body how fast to use energy and produce proteins. Most of the hormone produced by the thyroid is T4. This hormone is relatively inactive, but it is converted into the much more active T3 in the liver and other tissues.

    Almost all of the T3 and T4 circulating in the blood is bound to protein. The small portions that are not bound are called “free” and are the biologically active forms of the hormones. Lab tests can measure the amount of free T3 or free T4 or the total T3 or total T4 in the blood.

    The body has an elaborate feedback system to control the amount of T4 and T3 in the blood.

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    Can I Take The Test At Home

    At-home thyroid test kits are commercially available without a prescription and measure the same hormones as the traditional thyroid panel.

    For at-home testing, you prick your finger to get the necessary blood sample. That sample is then mailed to a laboratory that conducts the thyroid panel and makes the results available to you directly.

    While at-home testing can measure thyroid levels, it is generally not a substitute for a test ordered by your doctor. If an at-home test detects abnormal thyroid levels, your doctor will likely recommend a new blood sample and thyroid panel to confirm the results. At-home tests for thyroid labs may not be as accurate as tests done in a laboratory.

    What Does Your Thyroid Gland Do

    How to test your Thyroid at home

    Your thyroid gland is a gland found at the front of your neck, just below your Adams apple. Your thyroid gland produces hormones that play a key role in regulating your metabolism and affects things like your heart rate, body temperature, and breathing. These hormones are:

    • thyroxine

    The levels of these hormones are controlled by thyrotropin-releasing hormone and thyroid-stimulating hormone .

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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 Is A Thyroid

    Your thyroid is a small gland found at the front of your windpipe . It produces two hormones that help control your metabolism the chemical processes that occur in your body that keep you alive, like breathing and breaking down food into energy. These hormones are called triiodothyronine and thyroxine .

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    If You Get Overheated Easily You May Have Hyperthyroidism

    On the other hand, an overactive thyroid, referred to as hyperthyroidism, can cause you to feel too hot at times. That’s because your thyroid gland is making more thyroid hormone than your body needs, forcing your temperature to rise, which can make you more sensitive to hotter external temperatures.

    Shah says you may also experience other symptoms “that feel like the body is speeding up” when you have hyperthyroidism, like restlessness or a fast heartbeat.

    Muscle Aches And Trouble Swallowing

    How to Properly Test Your Thyroid

    Muscle aches throughout the body are sometimes associated with abnormal thyroid levels. If your muscle aches have recently onset without any other obvious causes, a thyroid disorder is one likely cause. Rarely, muscle breakdown can also occur. If you find that you are unable to build toned muscle, reach out to your physician.

    On a similar vein, because the thyroid is located in the neck, the neck muscles are usually the first to experience these symptoms. This includes the muscles associated with swallowing. If you are struggling to swallow, this could be another signs of thyroid problems.

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