The Thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland located in the lower part of your neck, just under Adam’s apple. Important blood vessels and nerves pass through it. Thyroid functions in secreting important growth hormones that impact metabolism, growth, body development, and temperature.
When this gland does not function properly, it results in many disorders. Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism being the two most common Thyroid disorders. These disorders result in health issues such as sudden weight loss or gain, lethargy, depression, mood swings, hair fall, infertility, menstrual disorders, and many others.
Common sign of Thyroid disorder
Thyroid issues are so common that, 1 in every 10 Indians are affected by it, a majority of them being women. People suffering from this issue tend to suddenly gain weight or lose it and find it hard to get back to their normal weight. This is a sign of having a Thyroid issue and calls for a Thyroid test or Thyroid function test.
What are the common Thyroid disorders?
- Thyroid cancer
- Graves disease
Who is prone to Thyroid disorders?
Although anyone can develop a Thyroid disorder, depending on many factors, certain people are more prone to developing it. Some of the common factors include:
- People over the age of 50
- Women (more common than in men)
- People with a family history of Thyroid disorders
- Exposed to radiation
- Unhealthy eating and living habits
- Iodine deficiency
- Under medication that affects the production of Thyroid hormones
What are Thyroid function tests?
In order to determine the functioning of your Thyroid gland, a series of blood tests are conducted. This also helps in understanding the severity of your Thyroid issue.
The Thyroid gland majorly produces two hormones, Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4). If the Thyroid gland does not produce enough of these hormones, you may gain weight and suffer signs of depression and lethargy. This is known as Hypothyroidism.
If the Thyroid gland excessively produces these hormones, you may lose weight and suffer from anxiety issues and feelings of being high. This is known as Hyperthyroidism.
Your doctor will order you to take a series of blood tests that are done like any other blood test. Your blood samples will be then analyzed at a lab for hormone levels and to evaluate the Thyroid functioning. Below are some of the tests conducted to determine the same.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test is one of the best tests to understand the functioning of your Thyroid gland and to measure its TSH. Normal levels of TSH indicate that the Thyroid is functioning properly.
Any abnormal changes in the TSH values are early signs of detecting improper Thyroid functioning.
The normal range of TSH is 0.4-4.0 milli-international units per liter of blood.
T4 is another test that is generally ordered along with the TSH test. It is also known as the Thyroxine test. Thyroxine is the primary form of Thyroid hormone that circulates in your blood. The T4 levels along with TSH will determine if it is Hyperthyroidism or Hypothyroidism.
High levels of TSH and low T4 suggests an underactive Thyroid or Hypothyroidism.
Low levels of TSH and High T4 suggests an overactive Thyroid or Hyperthyroidism.
If T4 and TSH levels indicate Hyperthyroidism, a T3 test will be required. A few other tests are Thyroid Antibody test, Nuclear or Radioactive Thyroid scanning, and Ultrasound scanning of the Thyroid gland.
How does a blood test help in managing Thyroid issues?
Initially, a blood test will determine the functioning of your Hashimoto’s disease, and the amount of hormone it is able to generate. You need to undergo tests to understand the improvement and eventually make changes to the treatment as it progresses.
When do I need to see a doctor for a Thyroid test?
You may go to a general physician when you notice certain signs of changes in your body. The changes can be:
- Sudden loss or gain of body weight
- Erratic or fast heartbeat
- Swelling in the neck
- Changes in your menstrual cycle
- Fertility issues
- Muscle weakness
- Thinning of hair
- Planning pregnancy and have previously been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder
We believe you now understand the importance of a Thyroid Test and when to get one. Do contact us if you have further queries or would like to book a comprehensive Thyroid test and consultation with an expert doctor.