The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland in your neck. Endocrine glands help control many body functions including growth, development, metabolism, and fertility. The thyroid gland secretes thyroid hormones. These hormones are responsible for regulating body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and metabolism. Hypothyroidism means when your thyroid gland doesn’t work properly. Hyperthyroidism totally means the opposite: the thyroid gland becomes overactive. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can have adverse effects on the patient and when the symptoms become visible, a thyroid test is needed. It is also called a thyroid function test. There are different thyroid tests: T3, T4 and TSH. You can get a thyroid test as a complete thyroid package. This package may evaluate the parathyroid hormone, triiodothyronine and thyroxine. Exactly which thyroid test you require depends on the recommendation made by your doctor.
Without a properly functioning thyroid, your body isn’t able to process carbohydrates and vitamins, or break down proteins. Since it is your thyroid gland that controls your growth and development, your metabolism, and even your mood, pretty much every other function, directly or indirectly, it depends on how well your thyroid gland works. When things go awry, the best course of action is to go for a thyroid test and when the result comes out, take the necessary action under the guidance of a doctor.
Some common diseases of thyroid include
The thyroid gland becomes overactive and produces more thyroid hormones than needed. Due to excessive metabolism, you experience weight loss. You go through mood swings. You have trouble sleeping. You are uncomfortable under heat. You experience fatigue all the time. You may be nervous or irritable due to no reason. You also experience frequent bowel movements or diarrhea. Some people with hyperthyroidism also develop Goiter – an enlarged thyroid that swells your neck. Sometimes breathing and swallowing becomes difficult. It may also cause fertility problems among women. Some people with hyperthyroidism experience thinning bones and osteoporosis. Irregular heartbeat is common. This can lead to blood clotting, stroke, heart failure and other heart problems. An early thyroid test can help you detect the problems associated with hyperthyroidism.
The thyroid gland doesn’t produce as many thyroid hormones as it should. The gland becomes underactive. People with hypothyroidism develop a puffy face. They also gain weight. Their skin is constantly dry. They regularly experience constipation. Their voice becomes hoarse. Their joints swell, become stiff and develop chronic pain. People with hypothyroidism also experience a slow heart rate. They go through constant bouts of depression. Some also experience impaired memory.
Other major thyroid problems include goiter, thyroiditis, Graves’ disease (an autoimmune condition), thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer. A thyroid test can reveal what type of thyroid disease you have.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it important to get a thyroid test done?
Your quality of life may be completely diminished at the onset of a thyroid problem whether you are suffering from hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Your body metabolism depends on the correct functioning of the thyroid gland. Due to the imbalance, you may gain lots of weight while wandering why you are becoming obese. Even cutting on your diet may not help. At the other end of the spectrum, you may go on losing weight no matter how hard you try to gain weight. An increased or decreased weight is not your only problem. You may develop heart problems. Hormones needed to process your nutrients are not being produced. Or they are being produced excessively. This creates a dangerous imbalance in your body. The good news is that most of the thyroid problems can be contained provided you get a thyroid test done in time and start the treatment.
What is the process of getting a thyroid test done?
There are numerous varieties of thyroid tests. For all the tests you need to submit your blood sample. A phlebotomist will visit you to collect your blood sample. The process is quite simple. The blood is drawn from your arm and stored in a vial. This sample is submitted to our lab. You get the results within a couple of days. Once you get the results you will know what type of thyroid gland disease you are being troubled with. You can approach your doctor with the report and then start the appropriate treatment.
Can a thyroid problem be life threatening?
There is a condition called thyroid storm that can be quite life-threatening. It happens when hyperthyroidism is untreated or undertreated. During thyroid storm, your blood pressure shoots, your heart rate is very fast, and your body temperature rises to a dangerous level. This condition is fatal if not handled properly. A thyroid test can help you detect whether there is a danger of your body experiencing a firestorm due to hyperthyroidism.
What is the difference between hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism?
The thyroid gland makes hormones to help your body perform certain functions. In hyperthyroidism your gland produces more hormones than required and your body cannot handle those excess hormones. In hypothyroidism less of those hormones are produced by your thyroid gland.
What are the symptoms of thyroid disease?
The symptoms of thyroid disease depend on what type of disease you have got. The symptoms of the two main thyroid diseases are listed below. The symptoms of hyperthyroidism Excessive weight loss without reason. Increased heart rate Arrhythmia Palpitations. Nervousness and anxiety coupled with mood swings. Increased sensitivity to heat. Altered menstrual cycle. Increased appetite. Fatigue. Muscle weakness. Sleeplessness. Easily breaking hair. Trembling hands. Skin thinning. The symptoms of hypothyroidism Weight gain and obesity. Puffy face. Muscle weakness. Chronic fatigue. Hoarseness. Increased sensitivity to cold. Increased blood cholesterol level. Muscle aches. Joint stiffness and tenderness. Heavy or irregular menstrual cycles. Slow heart rate. Impaired memory. Depression. Goiter.