Thyroid problems are very common these days and many people are suffering from these problems all over the world. A great proportion of patients do not even realize they have a serious disease just because of failure of diagnosis. Thyroid imbalance, which can lead to several dangerous health issues, has many symptoms but these symptoms are not clear and distinctive; therefore, proper checkup and tests are important to diagnose the actual disease. Once the actual problem is known, only then steps can be taken to fight it.
Following are some of the very effective tests that doctors should use to diagnose the thyroid imbalance:
TSH stands for Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. It is an important pituitary hormone that is secreted in response to the level of thyroid hormone present in the blood. If you have hypothyroidism, the test result will show an increased level of TSH. This refers to an under active thyroid which fails to produce sufficient hormone. On the other hand, patients with Grave’s disease will show a decreased level of TSH in the report. This indicates that your thyroid is over active and producing an excessive amount of the hormone. If your blood reports of TSH test are not normal, you should go for another test, the T4 test.
FREE T4 TEST
The thyroid gland produces a hormone named thyroxine, which is also called T4. An excessive T4 level refers to hyperthyroidism while a low level of T4 may indicate that you have hypothyroidism. The T4 test alone is not sufficient to diagnose the problem. T4 is usually conducted in conjunction with the TSH test for finding the accurate cause of the problem.
FREE T3 TEST
The T3 hormone is also known as Triiodothyronine. The test is conducted to measure its level circulating in the bloodstream to determine the condition of the thyroid gland. If the reports show an increased level of T3, it suggests hyperthyroidism. On the contrary, lower level of T3 refers to hypothyroidism. Free T3 measures the amount of T3 that is not bound to proteins, and that which is useable.
The reverse T3 (rT3) test measures how much of the free active T3 is able to bind at thyroid receptors. RT3 is produced in stressful situations and binds to thyroid receptors but turns them off instead of activating them.
THYROID ANTIBODIES TEST
These antibodies are produced as a result of a mistaken attack on the thyroid by the immune system. This important test is taken to diagnose the autoimmune disorder of the thyroid. This disorder can cause either Grave’s disease, which often causes Hyperthyroidism, or Hashimoto’s disease, which usually results in hypothyroidism. If the previously conducted tests indicate a problem in the thyroid, this one can be used to confirm the disorder. Please note for your doctor of functional medicine practitioner, it is suggested to run to tests to measure antibodies.
· Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb)
· Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb)
This test is usually done to have a close and better look at thyroid nodules. These nodules can be understood as the lumps present in the neck. The ultrasound can be helpful in determining if they are cancerous or not. This is easy to conduct and only includes a transducer. It is a very effective means of diagnosis and takes only half an hour to complete. The ultrasound can be done for all Thyroid conditions and they will check for lumps, nodules and sometimes will request a biopsy if needed.
In order to check the positioning, size, and shape of the thyroid gland, the scan can be conducted. It uses a small concentration of iodine (which is radioactive) which helps to find the reason of hyperthyroidism and to look for nodules. For this scan, the iodine or any other similar radioactive substance can either be injected or taken in the form of capsules or liquid. Once it is absorbed properly, the doctor can begin the scanning process
Important Note: Not all tests are mandatory, but they will give you a holistic picture of what’s happening with your thyroid. Be sure to have discussions with your doctor to come up with a testing approach that works for you.
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