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Thyroid Testing

It is not clear whether people who do not have any risk factors and who do not have any symptoms of thyroid problems-which include an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism), an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism), thyroid nodules, and thyroid cancer-need to be screened for thyroid problems.

The American Thyroid Association recommends that all adults be tested beginning at age 35 and continuing every 5 years.1 After reviewing all of the research, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has not recommended for or against routine thyroid testing.2 Some other groups suggest that people who are at high risk-pregnant women, anyone with a personal or family history of thyroid disease, and people with other autoimmune diseases-may want to be screened. Talk to your doctor about whether you need to be tested for thyroid problems.

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Feeling all revved up, even at bedtime? Or maybe your throttle's on idle with symptoms of depression, fatigue, and weight gain. In both cases, the root cause may be your thyroid. The thyroid -- a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck -- makes hormones that control the way your body uses energy. Your thyroid controls your metabolism, which is how your body turns food into energy, and also affects your heart, muscles, bones, and cholesterol. While thyroid disorders can range from a small,...

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People who have a family history of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) may want to have a genetic test. Before having the test, it is a good idea to talk with a genetic counselor. He or she can help you understand what your test results may mean.

For more information, see the topics Hyperthyroidism, Hypothyroidism, Thyroid Nodules, and Thyroid Cancer.

Citations

  1. Ladenson PW, et al. (2000). American Thyroid Association guidelines for detection of thyroid dysfunction. Archives of Internal Medicine, 160: 1573-1575.

  2. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2004). Screening for thyroid disease: Recommendation statement. Annals of Internal Medicine, 140: 125-141.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
Last Revised November 4, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 04, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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