Overview of All Thyroid Tests Video
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Video:Overview of All Thyroid Tests

with Dr. Mary Ann Block

Your thyroid can be tested in several methods. Watch this About.com health video to see how your doctor can evaluate the thyroid for possible conditions.See Transcript

Transcript:Overview of All Thyroid Tests

Hi, I’m Dr. Mary Ann Block, Physician, Author and Medical Director of The Block Center in Dallas/Fort Worth. I’m here for About.com. In this video, I’ll give you a brief overview of thyroid tests. 

Evaluating the Thyroid

A very important part of finding out what is going on with your thyroid - is a clinical evaluation. Your doctor will probably feel your neck, looking for thyroid enlargement and nodules. The doctor will probably also check your heart rate and blood pressure, weigh you, get your temperature, and examine your face, eyes and reflexes for signs of problems with your thyroid. If there is reason to suspect a thyroid condition, your doctor might do more tests.

Blood Tests to Check Thyroid

 The most common thyroid test is a pretty simple blood test that finds out how much thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) your blood contains. If your TSH is above normal, you’re likely to be hypothyroid - your thyroid functions too slow. If the blood test shows you have a low TSH level, you might have hyperthyroidism, which means your thyroid is not producing enough thyroid hormone.  Your doctor can also specifically test your T3 and T4 levels. T3 and T4 are the hormones produced by your thyroid. Blood tests can detect the total level of hormone, free levels of hormone, and reverse hormone levels.  

Thyroid Scans and Uptake Tests

Besides from blood tests, your doctor may also do a scan of your thyroid. It can help the doctor evaluate inflammation, thyroid lumps - or nodules, and find out the cause of an overactive thyroid. Most thyroid scans are done with ultrasound and take little time to complete. Sometimes, your doctor might also want you to get a radioactive iodine uptake test. This helps your doctor determine why your hormone levels might be high. This test sometimes happens simultaneous with a thyroid scan, since both tests require a small dose of radioactive iodine. You’ll probably be asked to drink liquid or take in a pill, and after 6 to 24 hours, the doctor will measure the radioactivity level in your thyroid using a radioactive tracer.  

For more on thyroid issues, go to health.about.com. Thanks for watching!

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