Thyroid Awareness Month: Thyroid Testing for Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism
Thyroid Awareness Month: TSH Screening for Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism
There are many conditions that can affect the thyroid, but two of the most common are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. January is Thyroid Awareness Month, and there is no better time than the beginning of the year to make sure your health is in check. Here is everything you need to know about these two chronic health conditions and how you can make sure you and those you care about are protected.
What is Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism is a condition that results when the thyroid gland is working overtime. It occurs when the gland produces too much thyroxine, a hormone that is responsible for many functions in our body including metabolism, heart health, digestion, and more. Hyperthyroidism is suspected when an individual suffers from symptoms such as:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Weight loss
- Increased appetite
- Heat intolerance
- Hair loss
What is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism is a similar condition, but it happens when the thyroid gland is not working hard enough. This means the body is not getting adequate levels of thyroxine. Hypothyroidism is frequently caused by a condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune condition that results when our body’s own immune system attacks the thyroid. Symptoms are typically opposite of those seen in hyperthyroidism, and can include:
- Slow heartbeat
- Weight gain
- Cold intolerance
- Hair loss
How Does TSH Screening Help?
Thyroid conditions are detected through a form of thyroid testing called “TSH testing.” TSH stands for Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. When levels of this hormone are elevated or too low in our blood, additional testing can be requested to confirm the presence of a thyroid disorder.
For a long time, TSH testing could only be performed in a doctor’s office, but today, point of care medical devices like Hanson’s HMS Diagnostix TSH-Thyroid Test can bring the medical laboratory to you. Point of care testing products, usually referred to as POC tests, can give you safe and accurate results with just one drop of blood from the finger.
TSH screening is important, especially for individuals who are experiencing symptoms of a thyroid condition. Routine testing for these disorders is not usually performed by doctors, so being aware of the symptoms is key. Many of the symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism mimic other conditions, including those associated with aging. This can cause thyroid disorders to go for years without treatment.
Keeping track of TSH levels with POC tests allows patients to be proactive about their healthcare. Although definitive diagnoses cannot be made from a single POC test alone, the information gained from a preliminary test such as this is valuable. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, there are many treatment options available that make living with thyroid disorders manageable.
Treatment for thyroid conditions depends on the levels of hormones your thyroid is producing. Medications can range from synthetic hormones, antithyroids, beta blockers, or iodine treatments. These methods will help prevent the potentially dangerous effects an untreated thyroid condition presents, including life-threatening cardiovascular problems.
TSH screening provides vital information, detects underlying health problems, and can save lives. Testing has never been easier thanks to point of care diagnostic devices. Ensuring the health of you and those you care about is as simple as placing an order online. If thyroid related symptoms are posing a problem to your health, Hanson Medical Systems can help today!