ZocdocAnswersHow does a doctor diagnose a thyroid problem?

Question

How does a doctor diagnose a thyroid problem?

Had a lot of weird things happening with my body and I'm starting to think it is a thyroid issue. I'm worried because i have a lot of different symptoms that my doctor said are not related. I read things that say it could be thyroid problems though. What should I ask my doctor to test?

Answer

The thyroid gland is responsible for regulating the body's metabolism. Disorders of the thyroid come in two varieties: an under active thyroid gland (known as hypothyroidism) and an over active thyroid gland (known as hyperthyroidism). Of these two conditions, hypothyroidism is by far more common. Symptoms of hypothyroidism are vague, and include things like: weight gain, menstrual disturbances, fatigue, changes in mood, feeling cold all the time, and changes in the texture of the hair and skin. On the other hand, symptoms of hyperthyroidism are quite distinct. They include symptoms like feeling hot all the time, sweating, hot flashes, thinning of the hair, palpitations, anxiety, weight loss and jitteriness. As you can see, for both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, the possible range of symptoms is pretty broad, and it is common for these symptoms to be caused by many other conditions. That being said, however, it is very easy to check the function of the thyroid gland with a simple blood test known as a TSH. The TSH will be low in hyperthyroidism and it will be high in hypothyroidism. On the other hand, if the TSH is normal, then you will have to continue to work with your primary care doctor to figure out what else might be going on.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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