Your thyroid is an important part of your endocrine system. The hormones produced by the thyroid regulate the function of the heart and digestive system. They also regulate your body’s metabolic rate, muscle control and brain development. This gland is responsible for mood and bone maintenance as well. In order for your thyroid to function properly, the body needs an adequate supply of iodine. When it is not functioning properly, you can develop a variety of health problems.
The thyroid gland can malfunction by producing too much thyroid hormone, or too little. Excess thyroid hormone is called hyperthyroidism, and too little is hypothyroidism. Problems with metabolism, the heart, nervous system and muscle weakness can indicate a thyroid issue. Sleep disturbances, an increase in irritability, mood swings and fatigue are also indicators.
All of these symptoms can also be attributed to other health issues. This is why thyroid screening is a useful preventive health care service. Your thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels are tested with a small sample of your blood. This test reveals how well the thyroid gland is functioning.
Treatment for Thyroid Problems
One of the most common endocrine conditions reported is a malfunction of the thyroid gland. Problems range from mild to extreme. Thyroid screening can detect low levels of thyroid hormone. When your levels are low, your risk of cardiovascular disease may be increased.
Treatment for low levels of TSH involves replacing the hormone with a synthetic thyroid hormone. Daily doses of the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine provide sufficient stimulation of the gland and usually reverse the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Many people who take thyroid medication feel better within days. Cholesterol levels can be elevated with thyroid disease and taking medication may lower these levels. Some people also experience weight loss after having gained weight with a malfunctioning thyroid.
It is not uncommon for a patient to have follow-up appointments to check TSH levels. Six to eight weeks after starting medication, you may be tested again to make sure your levels are correct. Your blood levels may be checked again in six months.
Contact Dr. Brent J. Michael today to schedule your thyroid screening.