Diagnosis of Thyroid Disease
Almost all health complaints ranging from short temper, insomnia, acne, and hair loss to obesity, infertility impotence can be indicators of a thyroid problem. Therefore, it is necessary to have periodic thyroid function tests. It is no coincidence that this small organ with a weight of 25 g is called the conductor of the body's symphony. It controls almost all the processes in an organism.
When the Thyroid is Out of Shape
Unfortunately, thyroid disease is not uncommon today. There is only diabetes mellitus which is more frequent. Every year the number of patients with endocrine disorders is increasing. So, over the last three years, the incidence rate increased by 12% between 2017 and 2020. Stress, bad ecology, and unhealthy eating habits are considered to be the main causes.
The most common disorders of the thyroid gland include hypothyroidism, autoimmune thyroiditis, nodular goiter, and Graves-Basedow disease (thyrotoxicosis). Besides, thyroid cancer is one of the fastest-growing cancer types in recent years.
Don’t Wait for Symptoms
Thyroid diseases can affect people of any age, from newborn children to the elderly. The most vulnerable categories of the population are adolescents during puberty, pregnant women and women who have recently given birth, as well as women in perimenopause. They are most likely to have hypothyroidism.
Thus, it is vital to make a timely diagnosis in order to control the condition of this most important organ and prevent dangerous complications. This should be done regularly, at least once a year. Another significant cause for testing thyroid disease lies in the absence of its specific symptoms.
For example, half of the patients with Graves-Basedow disease have a feeling of sand in the eyes, bulging eyes, light sensitivity, and excessive tearing, while the other half doesn’t experience these symptoms. Half the time, many other thyroid-related diseases develop without visible symptoms. In any case, it is better to consult a physician in the early stages when the treatment is most effective. In addition, those signs that may represent the pathology of the thyroid gland are also capable of accompanying other diseases.
For example, a feeling of a lump in the throat or tight-collar syndrome is supposed to be a sure sign of a goiter. But in fact, this is not always the case! Such feelings may be easily associated with increased anxiety. While other symptoms that are associated with hyperthyroidism (weight loss, heart palpitations, increased skin moisture) can occur with plenty of other pathologies (in particular, cancer). Therefore, make sure to regularly monitor the function of the endocrine system.
Diagnosis of Thyroid Disease
Basic and initial laboratory examination includes blood tests for hormones.
- TSH — stimulating thyroid hormone
- free T4 — thyroxine
- free T3 — triiodothyronine
It is essential to test them altogether since a change in one indicator is not informative. The physician has to identify the effect of one level change on other indicators.