Thyroid- causes, diagnosis- how blood tests can help, once you know it it’s easy to treat
The thyroid is a gland located in the base of a neck. Its hormones affect almost every single process in our body. To avoid going into details, it would be enough to say that it controls the pace of the metabolism. When it comes to causes, the most common cause of thyroid disease in the world is iodine deficiency. The high level of stress and the fast pace of living is what makes the main preventable cause for thyroid disease in the US.
How to diagnose a thyroid disease?
In order to determine if everything is ok with it, doctors need to answer two questions: Does it looks ok? Does it work ok? Ultrasound diagnostics can answer the first question. Nodes, cysts and other pathological findings in the gland can be diagnosed with ultrasound. By measuring the level of TSH, T3 and T4, doctors get an answer to the second question (evaluate its function).
Absolutely yes! Sometimes the thyroid appears to be healthy on ultrasound, but the hormone levels are changed and require treatment. On the other hand, in some patients the thyroid looks unhealthy, but the hormone levels are not changed and in those patients the treatment is often unnecessary (just a follow up- ultrasound and lab work). What makes people feel sick are not the nodes and cysts, but hormonal imbalance. If the hormone levels are high, we are talking about hyperthyroidism and if their level is low, we are talking about hypothyroidism. Thyroid lab testing is the only way to determine if the thyroid function is adequate and to check if the therapy is effective.
How often should you do the lab?
It depends whether or not you already have been diagnosed with thyroid disease. If you are a healthy individual, but you want to check if the thyroid gland “works” its job like it’s supposed to, it would be ok to check the hormones once in a three or four years.
If your relatives (grandparents, parents, brothers or sisters) are having troubles with their thyroid, you should keep an eye on yours, since the thyroid disease has a strong genetic background. Do the lab work once in two to three years.
In case you already have a diagnosed thyroid disease, you should check the hormone level twice a year, if your doctor doesn’t ask for more frequent testing. Keeping a TSH, T3 and T4 levels within the physiological limits is the goal of its treatment.
Have in mind that thyroid hormones affect the lipid profile as well. If there is a hormonal imbalance of TSH, T3 and T4, you should check the total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglycerides, since it is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and has to be treated adequately.
How to prepare for a blood test?
No special preparation is needed. The blood can be sampled anytime and with Labwork365 at your service, anywhere you want.