After reviewing the different types of thyroid orders and how they arise, it is essential to summarize the diagnostic process and treatment options available. Diagnosis in regards to thyroid dysfunction is through a thorough physical examination, an overview of family history, comprehensive blood work, and if indicated, a biopsy or ultrasound.
· The physician will assess for mood disturbances, alterations in weight, fluctuations in heart rate, temperature sensitivity, irregular digestion, and fatigue.
· Risk factors of thyroid disease include people over the age 60, women, the pregnant and postpartum population, a thyroidectomy, head or neck radiation, and a family history of thyroid disease or autoimmune disease.
· TSH, T3, & T4 will be analyzed through blood work, and at times, thyroid antibodies may need to be reviewed if there is a personal or family history of autoimmune disease.
· Elevated TSH is indicative of Hypothyroidism
· High Thyroid Antibody Count with an elevation of TSH is indicative of Hashimoto’s
· Low TSH is indicative of Hyperthyroidism
· High Thyroid Antibody Count with low TSH indicates Graves’ Disease
· If there is a suspicion of cancer or the presence of thyroid nodules, a biopsy or ultrasound may be ordered to rule out malignancy.
Treatment options will be discussed after these steps are completed, and sometimes, not all of the above diagnostic tools will be utilized by your physician. Levothyroxine, a drug that provides synthetic T4, is the drug of choice for the diagnosis of hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s. There are different variations of synthetic T4 that go by alternative names, but levothyroxine continues to be the most widely prescribed medication for hypothyroidism. Treatment options for hyperthyroidism and Graves’ disease include radioactive iodine and anti-thyroid medications. Sometimes, if hyperthyroidism is severe or the presence of malignancy is confirmed, a thyroidectomy, also known as a complete thyroid removal, will be the recommended course of action.
After the proper diagnostic process has been completed and treatment has begun, it is important to implement certain lifestyle modifications to boost your overall wellness. To discover what lifestyle modifiers you can apply, come back tomorrow for the last piece in this series. Take advantage of the numerous resources available to you through Shifa4U and speak with a doctor today about your thyroid diagnostic and treatment options.