Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How can I tell if I have a thyroid disease?"
I am a 25 year old female, and both my mother and sister have thryoid disease (one is overactive, one is underactive). I have tested positive for "antibodies" in the past, and sometimes I think I have symptoms such as weight changes, sensitivity to heat, anxiety, etc. But the last few times I went to the doctor and got a blood test, nothing came up as having a positive result. And I realize that the symptoms I listed could really mean anything. Am I seeing the wrong doctor and getting the wrong tests done or could I just be worried about nothing?
Having a strong family history of thyroid disease does increase your personal risk of developing thyroid disease in the future. Screening for thyroid dysfunction is fairly straightforward; the most sensitive test and the one that is used most often by doctors to diagnose over- or under-active thyroid disease is the blood test for TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). If this test is normal, then your thyroid function should also be normal. If you have tested positive for anti-thyroid antibodies in the past, then you may be at an increased risk of developing thyroid dysfunction in the future, and you should be screened regularly for any changes in your TSH levels. If you want more information about your chances of developing thyroid disease, then you can ask for a referral to an endocrinologist, a doctor that specializes in gland disorders.
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