How do you interpret a thyroid test?


Quick Answer

A person receiving a thyroid test should examine the results and note the level of the thyroid-stimulating hormone, as noted by About.com. This figure can determine if a patient is suffering from either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

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Full Answer

The thyroid regulates critical bodily functions, such as cognitive development and hormone regulation, notes WebMD. Thyroid blood tests can be conducted to determine the cause of an abnormal thyroid-stimulating hormone. These tests measure the levels of total thyroxine (T4), free thyroxine (FTI) and triiodothyronine (T3) in the blood, and medical experts use the results to diagnose related conditions. Healthy levels of T4, FTI and T3 vary form person to person, and all results should be discussed with a medical expert.

A person with abnormal thyroid hormones may be suffering from either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, notes WebMD. Hyperthyroidism relates to an overly active thyroid gland and can lead to rapid, unhealthy weight loss, as stated by MayoClinic. In contrast, a person with hypothyroidism does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone. If untreated, both of these conditions may lead to heart problems, infertility, joint pain and obesity. Moreover, these conditions can impact developing infants in pregnant women. A doctor may prescribe synthetic thyroid hormones to treat these conditions, notes WebMD. These prescriptions are available in pill form and should be taken with caution if with additional medications.

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