Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How often should I get tested for hypothyroidism?"
Hello, I was curious as to how often hormone tests should be done in people with hypothyroidism. Why does a diabetic check his or her blood sugar daily, while someone with hypothyroidism is checked every 6-8 weeks?--if that. Is there really no benefit to more frequent tests? Or is this simply a limitation of current resources? Thanks!
The answer to your question depends on whether you're checking for hypothyroidism, or whether you are evaluating someone that has hypothyroidism that is undergoing treatment. I recommend that you schedule an appointment with an endocrinologist. If somebody comes to me with symptoms that might be due to hypothyroidism and I checked their thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and its normal, then I might recheck in six months to a year. If somebody comes in and has symptoms of hypothyroidism and has an elevated TSH which is indicative of hypothyroidism, I will place them on levothryroxine and recheck their TSH between one and three months. The reason that I wait so long is that sometimes it can take this long for somebody's thyroid function to reach a steady-state. This is in contrast to a diabetic whose blood sugar will fluctuate multiple times during the day. Their dose of insulin will need to be adjusted based on this blood sugar. The adjustments that need to be made in levothryroxine dosing for someone with hypothyroidism need to be changed only when it is clear that a change is needed. This cannot be done if enough time has not yet passed. If you do have hypothyroidism, I would suggest you schedule an appointment with an endocrinologist. This is a specialist in thyroid function that will be what I hope you get on the right track.
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