Diagnosis and Treatment of Thyroid Disorders | Part 3
May 29, 2019 | Abigail Mckay

Diagnosis and Treatment of Thyroid Disorders | Part 3

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. 


1.  Physical Examination

·   The physician will assess for mood disturbances, alterations in weight, fluctuations in heart rate, temperature sensitivity, irregular digestion, and fatigue.


2.  Personal and Familial History

·  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.


3.  Blood Work

·  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 Hashimotos

·  Low TSH is indicative of Hyperthyroidism

·  High Thyroid Antibody Count with low TSH indicates Graves Disease


4.  Ultrasound or Biopsy (If indicated)

·  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 Hashimotos.  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.

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Abigail Mckay

Abigail has been a nurse for five years, and throughout her time as a nurse, she has worked in multiple medical-surgical units as well as spent time in the infusion therapy clinic and endoscopy lab. She is passionate about preventative medicine through patient education regarding nutrition and exercise. Due to her passion, Abigail has gone on to earn two certifications including a certification in medical-surgical nursing (CMSRN) and a certification in holistic nursing (HNB-BC), in hopes of being able to better serve her patients. Abigail earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA and now bettering patient education in the healthcare system through partnering with American TelePhysicians.