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What Is Thyroid Disease And What Tests Might Help You To Diagnose It?

Thyroid disease is a disease that affects the thyroid gland. Sometimes the body makes too much or too little thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, the way the body uses energy and affects almost every organ in the body. Too many thyroid hormones are called hyperthyroidism and can cause many body functions to speed up. Too few thyroid hormones called hypothyroidism and can cause many body functions to slow down requiring to have thyroid test.

Thyroid hormones play an important role during pregnancy and in the development of a healthy child and the preservation of the mother's health during pregnancy and hypothyroidism.

Women having thyroid problems can have a healthy pregnancy and safeguard their fetuses' health, learning about the effect of pregnancy on the thyroid gland, keeping current on their testing of thyroid function, and also taking the necessary medications.

A blood test includes blood sampling at the office of a health care provider or a commercial facility and sending samples to a laboratory for analysis. Diagnostic blood tests may include:

  • TSH test.  If the symptoms of a pregnant woman suggest hyperthyroidism, her doctor will probably, first of all, perform a hypersensitive TSH test. This test detects even small amounts of TSH in the blood and is the most accurate indicator of thyroid activity available. Typically, hyperthyroidism is indicated below normal TSH levels. However, low levels of TSH can also occur in normal pregnancy, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy, due to a slight increase in thyroid hormones from HCG.
  • T3 and T-4 test.  If the TSH level is low, another blood test is performed to measure T3 and T4. The increased level of free T4- part of thyroid hormones is not attached to the thyroid gland-binding protein-confirming the diagnosis. Rarely, in women with hyperthyroidism, free T4 levels may be normal, but T3 at high levels. Because normal pregnancy-related changes in thyroid function, test results should be interpreted with caution.
  • TSI test.  If a woman has a disease or has had surgery or radioactive iodine treatment for the disease, her doctor can check her blood for TSI antibodies.

What to remember?

Thyroid disease is a disorder that occurs when the thyroid gland produces more or less thyroid hormones than the body needs.

  • Pregnancy results in normal changes in thyroid function, but can also result in having thyroid disease.
  • Uncontrolled hyperthyroidism during pregnancy can also affect the mother and unborn baby negatively.
  • During pregnancy, mild hyperthyroidism does not require treatment. More serious hyperthyroidism is treated with            anti-thyroid drugs that act by interfering with the production of thyroid hormones.
  • Uncontrolled hypothyroidism at the time of having pregnancy can also lead to severe health issues in the mother              and can affect fetal growth and brain development.
  • The treatment of hypothyroidism during pregnancy is done with the thyroid tests having synthetic thyroid                      hormone, thyroxine (T4).
  • Postpartum thyroiditis, an inflammation of the thyroid gland, causes a short period of hyperthyroidism, often                    accompanied by hypothyroidism, which usually goes away within a year. Sometimes hypothyroidism is permanent.
How Thyroid Can Get Inspected?

Especially if you are a woman or if there are already similar cases in your family, you should monitor your thyroid, a gland that produces fundamental hormones for many of your body's activities.

The thyroid is a small endocrine gland shaped like a butterfly. It is located more or less at the base of your neck and produces several hormones that the body uses to perform some fundamental tasks, such as metabolism control, bone and muscle development, and brain functioning. For this reason, it is very important to keep it monitored. These are absolutely non-invasive procedures like a normal medical examination or the classic blood test.

The thyroid tests is above all, a simple physical examination and a blood test to assess whether the amount of hormones produced by this gland is regular or not. In case you suspect a more serious ongoing problem, your doctor, or a specialist, will prescribe you more detailed tests like a scan or even an ultrasound.

Medical examination and thyroid palpation

The first exam consists of a simple medical examination. Your GP, once you tell him the symptoms that made you worry, will look carefully at the area of your neck, at the level of the thyroid, in search of possible asymmetries, anomalies or swellings visible even with the naked eye. Then he will proceed to the palpation of the area from different positions, positioning himself both in front of and behind you, and will ensure that he is not suspiciously enlarged. If you notice any alteration, you will proceed with other, more detailed investigations.

Blood tests

In a blood test, the number of thyroid hormones present in the blood will be quantified. If it turns out to be too low, you may suffer from hypothyroidism; if the concentration is excessive, the problem could be hyperthyroidism.

Thyroid ultrasound

This is a normal ultrasound, with which, thanks to an ultrasound probe that scans the affected area, it is possible to identify the presence of various abnormalities in the form and constitution of the thyroid. First of all, the ultrasound test detects the enlargement and a possible goiter, but also the presence of nodules or a tumor mass.

Thyroid autoantibody test

Again, it is a simple blood test, but this time it serves to evaluate another datum: the presence or absence of thyroid autoantibodies. They are cells that defend your body, but, and they only attack this gland. As a result, they can cause malfunctions, but also inflammations such as thyroiditis.

Thyroid scintigraphy

If previous tests suggest a tumor, nodule formation or Basedow-Graves bite, your doctor or specialist could prescribe a thyroid scan. A decidedly more invasive procedure than the previous ones, which involves the injection of a radiopharmaceutical and screening through a device called gamma-camera.

Thyroid biopsy

Through a special needle, a microframmento of your thyroid is taken to be analyzed in the laboratory. If there is a suspicion that you have a tumor, this is the most reliable tool for verifying whether the formation is benign or not.

Thyroid Ultrasound - Conditions and Essential Information

Thyroid Ultrasound

Ultrasound can be used to check for an overactive or hypoactive gland. An ultrasound may also be ordered if your doctor considers a thyroid tumor when examining the neck. Thyroid ultrasound is used to look at the thyroid, a gland located in the neck that regulates metabolism and conducted at Ultrasound clinics.

How is Ultrasound Performed?

The ultrasound is a painless method that uses sound waves to create images from inside the body. The examination is conducted at the ultrasound lab or clinic.

The patient lies with the neck extended beyond its usual limit (hyperextended). The radiologist applies a lubricating gel on the neck and then passes a wand, called a transducer, over the area.

The transducer releases sound waves, which pass through the body and bounce from the area under study (in this case, the thyroid gland). A computer analyzes the pattern that sound waves create when they bounce and make an image.

Why Thyroid Ultrasound?

               

Ultrasound Test is safe and non-painful and produces images of the interior of the body using sound waves. It involves the use of a small transducer (probe) and an ultrasound gel for exposing the body to high-frequency acoustic waves. The transducer picks up the bouncing sounds, and a computer then uses those sound waves to create an image.

Ultrasound examinations do not use ionizing radiation (as used on x-rays). Since the ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the internal organs of the body, as well as the blood flowing through the blood vessels.

Ultrasound imaging is a non-invasive medical examination that helps doctors diagnose and treat medical conditions.

Thyroid Ultrasound Test produces images of the thyroid gland and adjacent structures in the neck. The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck, just above the clavicle bone, and is butterfly shaped, with a lobe on each side of the neck connected by a narrow band of tissue. It is one of nine endocrine glands located in the body that produces and send hormones to the bloodstream.

Some of the Common Uses of the Procedure

Usually, the ultrasound of the thyroid is used:

  • To determine if a lump in the neck originates in the thyroid or any adjacent structure
  • To analyze the appearance of the nodules in the thyroid and thus determine if they are one of the most common benign nodules    or if the nodule has characteristics that require a biopsy. If a biopsy is needed, fine-needle aspiration guided by ultrasound can  help improve biopsy accuracy.
  • To look for additional nodules in patients with one or more nodules palpated on a physical examination
  • To see if a thyroid nodule has grown substantially over time

Since ultrasound provides real-time imaging (images that are continuously renewed), it can also be used to guide procedures such as aspiration biopsy, in which a needle is used to extract samples of cells from an abnormal area to be subjected to Laboratory analysis. Ultrasound is also used to aid the insertion of a catheter or other drainage device and helps ensure accurate placement and drainage of the fluid for diagnosis and relief of patient discomfort.

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