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Hypothyroidism Diagnosis

Hypothyroidism Diagnosis
What is Hypothyroidism?
Causes and Risk Factors

Characteristic symptoms of hypothyroidism and physical signs can signal hypothyroidism. However, the condition may develop so slowly many people do not realize that their body has changed. This is why it is important that doctors perform diagnostic laboratory tests to confirm a diagnosis and to determine the cause of hypothyroidism. Furthermore, diagnosing all types of hypothyroidism is important because treatment can immediately help.

Who you see is generally dependent on the symptoms you manifest. To evaluate symptoms, first see your family doctor who can recommend you to a specialist, if necessary. Even though your family doctor may make the diagnosis of hypothyroidism, assistance is often needed from an endocrinologist, a physician who is a specialist in thyroid diseases. But generally, hypothyroidism can be diagnosed by these doctors or medical professionals:

  • Endocrinologist
  • Family medicine doctor or other primary care doctor
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Gynecologist
  • Internist
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Pediatrician
  • Physician assistant
  • Psychiatrist

Medical exams
To find out whether you are truly deficient in thyroid hormone, your doctor will first conduct a thorough physical exam and order a series of blood tests. During a physical, your doctor will check for signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism including a hands-on check of the thyroid gland for enlargement. Tests for basal body temperature are also performed.

When required, other hypothyroidism tests are routine and easy to perform. Diagnostic tests should be administered as early as possible so that this condition can be diagnosed before hypothyroidism becomes severe and complications arise. The following hypothyroidism tests are commonly used:

Anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies test - This test confirms or excludes a Hashimoto's thyroiditis diagnosis, caused by antibodies produced by the body to attack the thyroid gland and render it under-active.

Blood tests - Blood tests such as serum cholesterol are used to evaluate possible complications such as coronary artery disease, hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis caused by hypothyroidism.

Chest x-ray, CT scan or MRI - These tests create a visual image of the chest, the brain and/or the pituitary gland.

Electrocardiogram (ECG) - An ECG is used to diagnose possible heart complications as the result of hypothyroidism.

RAIU (radioactive iodine uptake) - After doctors administer an iodine tracer dose, they measure the amount of iodine that has been absorbed. If it's too low, then it can mean the presence of hypothyroidism; if it's too high, then it can indicate the presence of hyperthyroidism.

T3 and T4 tests - These blood tests measure the amount of free T4 and analyze the free T4 index, to find out how much unattached T4 hormone is available in your blood to get into cells.

TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test -THS testing is considered the best screening hypothyroidism test. Hypothyroidism is suspected if the TSH level is high and this is confirmed when compared with the level of the thyroid hormones (T3 and T4). If you have a high TSH and low T3 or T4 levels, then you will probably be diagnosed with hypothyroidism.

Once diagnosed, hypothyroidism can be controlled quickly with the use of specialized medications. With proper treatment, most people who are diagnosed with hypothyroidism can even expect to recover from symptoms in a matter of hours. To learn more about how to treat hypothyroidism, continue reading the next section on Hypothyroid Treatment here.

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Tags: hypothyroidism, hypercholesterolemia, gastroenterologist, thyroid hormones, hyperthyroidism, thyroid hormone, Atherosclerosis, complications, thyroid gland, pediatrician, blood tests, medications, Cholesterol, temperature, thyroiditis, hypothyroid, administer, basal body, treatment, diagnosis
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