The Link Between Thyroid Function Tests and Hypothyroidism

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The Link Between Thyroid Function Tests, Hypothyroidism and Health

Having regular Thyroid Function Tests (TFTs) is important for ensuring that the hormones produced by the thyroid are at the proper level. A TFT identifies thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism, which can have a significant effect on overall health.

What Are Thyroid Function Tests?

Thyroid function tests are blood tests used to measure the levels of hormones produced by the thyroid, such as thyroxine (T4) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). High or low levels of T4 or TSH in the blood can indicate a thyroid disorder, such as hypothyroidism.

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What Is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid is not producing enough hormones. The most common signs and symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, dry skin, depression, constipation, and a slow heart rate. If untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to serious health problems, including high cholesterol levels, goiter, heart disease, infertility, and even coma.

The Link Between Thyroid Function Tests & Hypothyroidism

Thyroid function tests provide crucial information about the health of the thyroid, and can help diagnose thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism. A simple TSH test is used to measure the amount of TSH in the blood. If the TSH levels are abnormal, then a full thyroid panel consisting of T4, T3, and thyroid-stimulating immune globulin (TSI) tests may be ordered. If the results of the panel indicate hypothyroidism, then the patient will likely be prescribed thyroid hormone replacement therapy.

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The Effects of Hypothyroidism on Health

Poor thyroid health can have a significant effect on overall health and wellness. With hypothyroidism, there is often a decrease in energy, and patients may experience feelings of depression and fatigue. Hypothyroidism can also be linked to difficulty maintaining a healthy weight, and increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Additionally, hypothyroidism can cause infertility and pregnancy complications.

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Take Away

Regular Thyroid Function Tests are an important tool for detecting thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism. Early diagnosis and treatment of hypothyroidism is key to maintaining good health. If you suspect that you may have a thyroid problem, talk to your healthcare provider about the possibility of testing your thyroid levels.