Since the prevalence of Hypothyroidism is increasing especially in women, thyroid tests are now an important part of routine laboratory investigations.
Thyroid disease can be diagnosed on physical examination by detecting an enlarged thyroid gland in the neck region.
- The examination may also reveal other possible signs of thyroid disease, including:
- Brittle nails
- Puffiness of the face
- Poor muscle tone
- Pale or dry skin, which may be cool to the touch
- Swelling of arms and legs
- Thin and brittle hair
- Diagnosis of Hypothyroidism can be based on blood tests that measure the level of TSH and thyroid hormones T3 and T4 (Thyroid Function Tests).
- In addition, TSH tests are also used to diagnose a condition called Subclinical Hypothyroidism, which usually causes no outward signs or symptoms, although abnormalities are present.
- Many cases of Hypothyroidism are associated with mild elevations in creatine kinase and liver enzymes in the blood.
- In addition, tests like Anti-thyroid Antibodies (for evidence of autoimmune disease) and Anti-TPO Antibodies in the blood (for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis) are also done.
- If a pituitary or hypothalamic cause is suspected, an MRI of the brain is required.