Thyroid function tests are a series of blood tests used to measure how well your thyroid gland is functioning. Tests include the Free T3, Free T4, and TSH.
Today's tests are very accurate. They can help diagnose even the mildest cases of hypothyroidism. It's important to understand that just because your TSH test comes back normal, it does not rule out the possibility of you being hypothyroid.
There are several types of hormones checked in a blood test to assess your thyroid status—the most common one is the TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone). Often, physicians may decide to check the free thyroxine, free T4 index, Free T3, TPO, TSIG, and TG antibodies to aid in the diagnosis.
Pregnancy, a history of thyroid cancer, a history of pituitary gland disease, and older age are some situations when TSH is optimally maintained in different ranges as guided by an endocrinologist.
Weight gain may signal low levels of thyroid hormones, a condition called hypothyroidism. In contrast, if the thyroid produces more hormones than the body needs, you may lose weight unexpectedly. This is known as hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism is far more common.
15 Signs of Thyroid Problems
Because our biological functions are so often tied to our hormones, there are a number of symptoms that could indicate an issue with your thyroid.
- High Heart Rate
- Excessive Tiredness
- Weight Gain or Loss
- Body Shakes
- Cold or Overheated Feeling
- Trouble Concentrating
- Hair Loss
- Digestive Issues
- Muscle Aches and Trouble Swallowing
- Changes in Menstrual Cycle or Sexual Performance
- Dry or Oily Skin
- Sleep Issues
- Changes in the Eyes
- Growth on the Neck
These are not the only symptoms. They are simply the most common signs of thyroid problems. Thyroid testing can be a standard checkpoint and some medical evaluations and a thorough examination test regardless of symptoms.
Once an issue has been detected with the thyroid, generally there are two paths of treatment. Medications, I 131, and surgery are commonly used to resolve thyroid problems.
There are many medications available on the pharmaceutical market today that are commonly used to treat hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Most are pills or capsules. With severe hyperthyroidism, sometimes resistance to medication, or when the condition has caused complications, surgery will be necessary. Then rest. After surgery, medication is also prescribed. After a thorough examination and testing your endocrinologist can explain to you the best possible route to recovery and a healthy lifestyle.