How Hyperthyroidism Is Diagnosed

If you have signs or symptoms of hyperthyroidism, it ‘s important that you undergo a comprehensive evaluation so you can be properly and promptly treated, if necessary. Your healthcare provider will do a thorough physical interrogation, review your aesculapian history, and run detail blood tests to come to a diagnosis ; imaging tests, such as a thyroid sonography, CT scan, or thyroid uptake read may besides be ordered. hyperthyroidism can be managed, but can cause complications if left untreated, so an early diagnosis is constantly dear .

hyperthyroidism diagnosis
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After reviewing your symptoms and risk factors for thyroid disease, if your healthcare supplier suspects a potential diagnosis of hyperthyroidism, he or she will perform an in-depth interrogation focusing on your thyroid .

Thyroid interrogation

During the thyroid gland examination, your healthcare provider will touch ( palpate ) your neck, looking for thyroid gland expansion and nodules .

He or she will besides palpate for what ‘s known as a “ bang, ” which describes increased blood menstruation in the thyroid that can be felt. Your healthcare supplier will besides listen for a “ rumor ” with a stethoscope, which is the sound of increase blood run to the thyroid .

The presence of a thyroid gland shudder or rumor is highly indicative of Graves ‘ disease .

physical examination

In summation to a thyroid examen, your healthcare provider will examine the perch of your body for signs of an hyperactive thyroid gland .

For model, the healthcare provider will test your reflexes, since fast or hyper-responsive reflexes can be a sign of hyperthyroidism. He or she will besides check your heart rate, rhythm, and lineage coerce. This is because palpitations, atrial fibrillation, a race blink of an eye, or high blood pressure can be suggestive of hyperthyroidism as well .

Other Parts of the Physical Examination

  • Examination of your skin, since unusually smooth and warm skin, may be a sign of hyperthyroidism. A small percentage of people with Graves’ disease also develop a rash on their shins (pretibial myxedema).
  • Observation of the general quantity and quality of your hair, as thinning, fine, or shedding hair may signal a thyroid condition.
  • Observation for any tremors, shakiness in the hands, or hyperkinetic movements such as table drumming, tapping feet, or jerky movements (often more severe in children).
  • Examination of your eyes, since red, bulging, dry, swollen, puffy, and watery eyes can be signs of a thyroid problem. In addition, “lid lag” (when the upper eyelid doesn’t smoothly follow downward movements of the eyes when you look down) can be seen in hyperthyroidism.

Labs and Tests

blood tests include a thyroid induce hormone ( TSH ) trial, along with thyroxine ( T4 ) and triiodothyronine ( T3 ) tests. Your healthcare supplier may besides test for thyroid antibody levels to confirm the diagnosis of Graves ‘ disease .

It ‘s important to review your test results with your healthcare provider. Do not be afraid to ask questions. This is your health, so it ‘s authoritative you understand what is going on .

TSH Results

The normal range for the TSH test is approximately 0.5 to 5.0 milli-international units per liter ( mIU/L ). All people with elementary hyperthyroidism have a low TSH ; however, the TSH level entirely can not determine the degree of hyperthyroidism. This is why your healthcare provider will besides check your T4 and T3 levels .

senior high school Free T4 and T3 Results

A diagnosis of primary coil hyperthyroidism is coherent with a low TSH, and a high free T4 and/or T3 blood quiz .

If your TSH is convention or elevated, and your free T4 and T3 are high, you will need an MRI of your pituitary gland to evaluate for a condition called central or TSH-induced hyperthyroidism .

high T3 and Normal Free T4 Results

If your TSH is low and your T3 is high ( but your barren T4 is normal ), it ‘s likely that your diagnosis is placid Graves ‘ disease or a thyroid gland nodule that is producing besides much hormone. An image test called a radioactive tincture of iodine consumption scan can differentiate between these two diagnoses .

Taking excessively much T3 ( called exogenous T3 consumption ) is another possibility .

Normal T3 and High Free T4 Results

If your TSH is low, your free T4 is high, but your T3 is normal, you may be experiencing hyperthyroidism from taking excessively a lot exogenous T4 ( levothyroxine ). Another possible diagnosis is an amiodarone-induced thyroid problem.

This lab combination may besides be seen in people with hyperthyroidism who have a coincident non-thyroidal disease ( for exemplar, a severe infection ) that is decreasing the conversion of T4 to T3 .

Normal Free T4 and T3 Results

If your TSH is low, but your T3 and T4 levels are normal, you may have subclinical hyperthyroidism. This can besides occur during pregnancy .

antibody Results

Testing your lineage for antibodies, such as thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin or TSH sense organ autoantibodies, is important. A cocksure test confirms the diagnosis of Graves ‘ disease, though some people with the disease do have a veto antibody test. In this case, a radioactive tincture of iodine consumption test ( RAIU ) can confirm the diagnosis .


In many cases, imaging tests, such as an ultrasound, RAIU, CT scan, or MRI, will be performed to make a thorough and accurate diagnosis .

radioactive Iodine Scan

In a RAIU test, a little dose of radioactive tincture of iodine 123 is administered in pill or fluid form.

several hours by and by, the sum of iodine in your system is measured, accompanied by an x-ray. An hyperactive thyroid will frequently have elevated RAIU results ( the hyperactive gland normally takes up higher amounts of iodine than convention, and that consumption is visible in the x ray ) .

In Graves ‘ disease, RAIU is high, and the test will show that there is consumption throughout the integral gland. If you are hyperthyroid due to a nodule overproducing thyroid gland hormone, the uptake will be seen in that set nodule. If you have thyroiditis as the lawsuit of your hyperactive thyroid gland, the uptake will be low throughout the gland .

While radioactive iodine 123 is not harmful to your thyroid gland, it should not be given to women who are fraught or breastfeeding.

Thyroid Ultrasound

A thyroid ultrasound can identify goiter, a well as nodules that may be causing hyperthyroidism. In women who are fraught or breastfeed, a thyroid sonography is much used as an alternative to a radioactive iodine scan.

Computed Tomography ( CT ) Scan

A CT scan, besides known as a kat scan, is a speciate type of roentgenogram that may help detect goiter vitamin a well as larger thyroid nodules .

magnetic Resonance Imaging ( MRI )

Like a CT scan or ultrasound, an MRI can not tell a healthcare provider how the thyroid is functioning, but it can help detect goiter and thyroid nodules .

MRI is sometimes preferable to a computerized tomography read because it does n’t require any injection of contrast, which contains iodine and can interfere with a radioactive iodine scan .

differential gear Diagnoses

While the symptoms of hyperthyroidism can be mistaken for heighten nervousness or tension, they can besides mimic those of other park aesculapian conditions .

For exemplify, unexplained weight passing could be a sign of a whole-body illness ( for example, an infection, non-thyroid autoimmune disease, or cancer ). It could besides be the first gear sign of a psychiatric illness, like low or dementia, particularly if a person is experiencing climate swings, irritability, or apathy—symptoms that are more coarse in older people with hyperthyroidism .

A fast affection rate or irregular heart cycle could be the first signal of a primary heart or lung trouble or of anemia .

These examples are just the tip of the crisphead lettuce. The good newsworthiness is that a healthcare provider can by and large confirm or discount a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism easily and quickly with a medical history, physical examination, and some blood tests .

last, if your healthcare provider diagnoses you with hyperthyroidism, he or she will then want to determine the causal agent of your hyperthyroidism ( for exemplar, Graves ‘ disease versus thyroiditis ). This can be sorted out with more lineage tests and an imagination test called a radioactive tincture of iodine uptake read .

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does a low TSH level mean?

    gloomy TSH normally means the thyroid is making excessively much thyroid hormone. It ’ s a sign that you may have hyperthyroidism, which can cause metabolic problems, high rake atmospheric pressure, hair loss, dry hide, and other symptoms. Your healthcare provider will holy order extra tests to confirm the diagnosis .

  • When should you be treated for hyperthyroidism?

    The American Thyroid Association recommends treatment for hyperthyroidism based on TSH levels and certain demographic characteristics : Treat TSH levels of 0.1 to 0.4 mIU per L for those :

    • Age 65 and older
    • Postmenopausal women younger than 65 who are asymptomatic and not receiving estrogen or bisphosphonate therapy
    • Younger than 65 years who have heart disease, osteoporosis, or symptoms of hyperthyroidism 

    Treat TSH levels less than 0.1 mIU per L for those :

    • Younger than 65 years
  • If I have mild hyperthyroidism do I need medication?

    It depends. If you have no symptoms, treatments don ’ thyroxine seem to offer any benefit. however, antithyroid medicine may be prescribed if you have a slightly swell goiter or if you ’ rhenium pregnant or planning to become fraught in the approach months.

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