Did you know that about 20 million people have some form of thyroid disease? The sad part is that 60 percent of them are unaware of their condition.
Although the causes are known, thyroid disease is more prevalent in women, especially those above the age of 40. If left undiagnosed, the disease can put patients at risk of developing serious conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and osteoporosis.
Fortunately, it's pretty easy to test for thyroid disease, and here’s how.
1. Testing Your Thyroid at Home
This is the simplest form of testing for thyroid disease. It can be done in a few minutes.
First, you need a glass of water and a hand-held mirror. While looking into the mirror, focus on the lower part of your neck, above the collarbones and just below the larynx (voice box). This is where your thyroid glands are located.
Tip your head back a little bit and take a sizeable sip of water and swallow. As you swallow to look at your neck and check for any bulges or protrusion in the area where the glands are located.
You may have to repeat this process a few times for accuracy. If you notice any protrusions, it’s best you see a doctor.
2. Blood Tests
These tests are a little bit invasive since they require some blood drawn from the body. Mainly, the tests focus on hormones from the thyroid itself as well as the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) that’s released by the pituitary gland to trigger your thyroid.
When testing your blood, doctors use a reference range that helps diagnose thyroid disorder. The values on the upper range and those at the lower range suggest that a patient has a sub-clinical thyroid disorder. Often, these disorders have no observable symptoms, especially for people with strong immune systems.
3. Iodine Uptake Tests
The iodine test tries to establish the amount of iodine absorbed by thyroid glands, which is a key component of thyroid hormone.
This is done by the use of a radioactive measuring device which the doctor first places on your neck to measure how much radioactivity is present on your glands. After that, you’ll be given a small amount of radioactive iodine in the form of a capsule or liquid. After a few hours, the doctor takes another radioactive measurement.
If the results show the whole iodine is spread throughout the gland, then you may have an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).
Why Testing for Thyroid Disorders is Important
Testing for thyroid disorders allows patients to get started on treatment early, before the condition worsens. This can be especially helpful for patients with sub-clinical hypothyroidism which has no visible symptoms.
Moreover, when patients start treatment on time, the risks of osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases are minimized.
Given the high number of people unaware of their thyroid condition, going for tests regularly would be a good way of keeping the condition in check.
Want to boost your overall well-being? Check out this healthy lifestyle plan.
- Gonzales, E P. "[Normal 131iod ine uptake values at 2 and 24 hours]." NCBI, 2008, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19194625
- "Hyperthyroidism (Overactive Thyroid)."WebMD, 1 Nov. 2019, https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/overactive-thyroid-hyperthyroidism#1
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