Should you take a thyroid test? Plus symptoms, causes and treatment

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Should you take a thyroid test? Plus symptoms, causes and treatment

A lot of people don’t know what a thyroid is, where it’s located or what it does, so before we delve into thyroid tests and why you may need to consider taking a thyroid test, we’ll first define what a thyroid is and what it does.

The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped gland that is located in the middle of the lower neck. The function of the thyroid gland is to produce hormones that play a role in almost all cell functions including heart rate, breathing, and regulating the metabolism. 

The thyroid gland produces two main hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). 

 The function of triiodothyronine (T3) is controlling the digestive system, muscle control, brain development, and maintaining healthy bones. 

The function of thyroxine (T4) is the same as triiodothyronine (T3), however this is the inactive form, so it needs triiodothyronine (T3) to activate it within the body. T4 transports T3 around the body. 

The thyroid gland plays an incredibly important role in the body, therefore if the thyroid gland is not working optimally, your body will not be working optimally either. 

The thyroid gland is the engine behind the production and secretion of both thyroid hormones. If your thyroid gland isn’t performing optimally, neither are you.

should-you-take-a-thyroid-test

What is a thyroid test? 

A thyroid test is used to measure a number of key markers that can be used to understand how your thyroid is functioning. 

Most common thyroid tests will measure: 

  • Thyroid stimulating hormone

(is a hormone which stimulates the production of thyroxine and triiodothyronine) 

  • Free thyroxine (T4)

(is a hormone which regulates the metabolism, and has an impact on every cell in the body)

  • Free triiodothyronine (T3)

(is the active form of thyroid hormones, T4 is transformed into T3 and it becomes the more biologically active version, i.e. it has an impact on the body’s cells.) 

  • Thyroglobulin antibodies

(is an antibody which indicates that thyroid damage has occurred.)

  • Thyroid peroxidase antibodies  

(is an antibody which can indicate that thyroid damage has occurred.)

Order your thyroid test today!

Two of the most common thyroid issues that the public face include: 

Hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid)

If you are living with hyperthyroidism, it means that your thyroid is producing too much triiodothyronine and thyroxine. 

Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid)

If you are living with hypothyroidism, it means that your thyroid is producing too little triiodothyronine and thyroxine. 

Should you take a thyroid test? 

Everyone should take a thyroid test at least once in their life. 

There is another group of people who should definitely consider taking a thyroid test including: 

  • You have a family history of a thyroid condition
  • You are experiencing the symptoms of an overactive thyroid
  • You are experiencing the symptoms of an underactive thyroid
  • You have an autoimmune condition such as type 1 diabetes or celiac disease 

So, what are the symptoms of thyroid issues? 

Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)

Some of the most common symptoms of hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid include:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Chronic fatigue
  • High blood pressure or increased pulse rate
  • Anxiety
  • Heat intolerance
  • Diarrhea
  • Itchy skin or hives
  • Low libido
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Muscle weakness
  • Hair loss or thinning
  • Smooth, warm or moist skin

Order your thyroid test today!

Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)

​​Some of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) include:

  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Low blood pressure/slower pulse rate
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Tingling skin
  • Irregular periods
  • Low libido
  • Short term memory loss
  • Muscle cramping
  • Hair loss or thinning
  • Dry or rough skin

What are the causes of thyroid issues? 

There are a number of causes of thyroid issues. 

Some of the most common causes of hyperthyroidism include: 

  • Graves disease
  • Toxic adenoma
  • Toxic multinodular goiter 
  • Plummer’s disease
  • Thyroiditis
  • Autoimmune conditions such as type 1 diabetes, pernicious anemia and primary adrenal insufficiency
  • A family history of thyroid issues  
  • Over-response to thyroid treatment 

what-causes-thyroid-issues

Some of the most common causes of hypothyroidism include: 

  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Thyroid surgery
  • Radiation therapy 
  • Medications 
  • Congenital disease
  • Pituitary disorder
  • Pregnancy 
  • Iodine deficiency 
  • Over-response to thyroid treatment 

Order your thyroid test today!

What are some of the most common risk factors for thyroid issues? 

Some of the most common risk factors for hyperthyroidism include: 

  • Gender (females at higher risk)
  • Family or personal history of autoimmune disorders (celiac, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Past trauma to thyroid gland
  • Current or recent pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Recent use of iodine contrast (such as that used in CT scans)

Some of the most common risk factors for hypothyroidisminclude: 

  • Age and gender (women over 60 at high risk)
  • Preexisting condition (autoimmune disease such as type 1 diabetes or celiac)
  • Pituitary gland disorder
  • Pregnancy (women who are pregnant or who have had a baby in the past six months at high risk)

Should you take a thyroid test? 

If you are experiencing the above symptoms, or you fall into the risk factor category, you should consider taking a thyroid test. 

LetsGetChecked provide thyroid testing that identifies all key markers associated with thyroid disorders. 

Order your thyroid test today!

Written by Hannah Kingston on July 23 2021

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