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"How do doctors test for hypothyroidism?"
I have been having some symptoms of a metabolism problem, such as lethargy and sluggishness, weight cane, and a desire to sleep all the time. If I do go to the doctor to ask about whether this is a thyroid problem, what kind of tests should I expect? I am very uncomfortable with needles and can't do a biopsy.
Hypothyroidism is one of the most common medical conditions that requires evaluation and treatment. The doctors who will be well qualified to discuss this issue with you in greater detail include your internal medicine doctor. Hypothyroidism is caused when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone.
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The thyroid hormone is important in setting the metabolism of the body, so not enough thyroid hormone produces many symptoms, such as fatigue, sluggishness, weight gain, constipation, depression, and changes in the skin and hair. Luckily, the diagnosis of hypothyroidism is very simple. After performing a thorough physical exam, your doctor will order a simple blood test to detect levels of thyroid stimulating hormone. If these levels are high, hypothyroidism has been diagnosed. Fortunately further workup is rarely needed, so your fears about biopsies will not be necessary! If hypothyroidism is diagnosed, it will require taking thyroid replacement hormone for the rest of your life and periodic blood tests to make sure you are taking the right dose. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Setting up an office visit with your primary care doctor as soon as possible is highly advised.
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