How to Diagnose Hypothyroidism: Tests and Exams

Diagnose Hypothyroidism
If you are wondering about how to diagnose hypothyroidism, there are multiple tests and exams that can help you properly diagnose the condition. Knowing the health risks associated with hypothyroidism and how it is diagnosed can be a beneficial tool in managing the condition.

What is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism, also known as an underactive thyroid, is a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck, and it secretes hormones that play a major role in the body’s metabolism, digestion, and other hormones.

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What Causes Hypothyroidism?

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune condition known as Hashimoto’s disease. It occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland and disrupts its ability to produce hormones. Other causes of hypothyroidism include iodine deficiency, certain medicines, and radiation therapy for cancer.

Identifying Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

In order to properly diagnose hypothyroidism, it is important to identify the symptoms associated with the condition. The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, sensitivity to cold temperatures, joint and muscle pain, weight gain, dry skin and hair texture, depression, and constipation.

In order to properly diagnose hypothyroidism, your doctor may need to perform several tests and exams. The most common tests are a blood test to measure the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and a thyroid ultrasound.

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Blood Tests

A blood test that measures the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is one of the most common tests used to diagnose hypothyroidism. A high TSH level usually indicates an underactive thyroid, while a low TSH level usually indicates an overactive thyroid.

Thyroid Ultrasound

A thyroid ultrasound is performed to detect any abnormalities in the size, shape, and structure of the gland. An abnormally large thyroid gland can be a sign of hypothyroidism, while an abnormally small thyroid gland can be a sign of hyperthyroidism.

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Risk Factors of Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is more common in women and those over 60 years of age. Other risk factors include a family history of the condition, a history of autoimmune conditions, and radiation therapy. It is also more common in individuals who consume excessive amounts of iodine, such as those who take multivitamins containing high doses of iodine.

Bottomline

The diagnosis of hypothyroidism is essential to begin the proper treatment and monitoring of the condition. Knowing the signs, symptoms, tests and exams, and the health risks associated with hypothyroidism can help to diagnose the condition and to properly manage it. Keywords: Hypothyroidism, diagnosis, tests, exams, Hashimoto’s disease, TSH, thyroid ultrasound, risk factors.