ZocdocAnswersCan a TSH test detect a thyroid disorder?

Question

Can a TSH test detect a thyroid disorder?

Is there another way to detect a tyroid disorder? I'm a 28 year old male and I don't like medical tests.

Answer

TSH is a measurement of the function of your thyroid gland. The best way to screen for a thyroid abnormality is through blood work. If there is concern for a discrete thyroid nodule a thyroid ultrasound or radioactive iodine uptake test can be considered. However, most physicians will start a thyroid evaluation with blood work including a TSH. You should speak with your primary care physician regarding your symptoms that are concerning for thyroid abnormalities and necessary testing. The thyroid gland produces a hormone thyroxine, T4, which is converted to T3 and is important in metabolism and development. The hypothalamus (a structure in your brain) produces TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) which stimulates the thyroid to produce thryoxine. When these thyroid hormone levels are abnormal, a patient can developed hypothyroidism (low thyroid level) or hyperthyroidism (high thyroid level.) In testing for abnormal thyroid activity, a TSH level is often obtained as a screening test. However, if it is even slightly abnormal other testing is often required including T4 and T3 levels and occasionally other hormone levels. These are all blood tests that can be drawn by your physician. You should follow up with your primary care physician to discuss your symptoms and necessary thyroid testing. If a thyroid abnormality is found on blood work, an endocrinology consultation should be considered.

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