What Does High Thyroid Count Mean?


Quick Answer

A high thyroid hormone count indicates an overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism, states the American Thyroid Association. Shaped like a butterfly, the thyroid is an endocrine gland in the neck that makes thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism is a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland becomes overactive and produces too much hormone.

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Full Answer

Hyperthyroidism is a disorder that occurs when the thyroid gland produces and releases more thyroid hormone into the bloodstream than the body needs, according to WebMD. Thyroid hormone affects many of the body's functions, including metabolism regulation and how the heart beats. The hormones produced by the thyroid help the body remain warm, and keep the brain, muscles, and skin working properly.

Laboratory tests that diagnose an overactive thyroid measure the amounts of three types of thyroid hormone in the bloodstream, according to the American Thyroid Association. The thyroid is overactive when the levels of triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) are higher than normal, and when the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is lower than normal. To further diagnose the cause of hyperthyroidism, a doctor orders a thyroid scan to determine if there is a toxic node goiter or thyroid inflammation, called thyroiditis, or whether the entire thyroid gland is overactive.

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