Skip to content

    50+: Live Better, Longer

    Font Size

    Everyone Over 35 Needs Thyroid Test, Group Says


    One thing that is important to remember is that an abnormal test doesn't necessarily mean you have thyroid disease. Other illnesses -- and even some medications -- can temporarily affect thyroid hormone levels.

    That is one reason, says endocrinologist Linda Lester, MD, that doctors should always retest patients with no symptoms who have an abnormal result on a thyroid test. If the second test still shows evidence of a thyroid problem, treatment should be started, because even minor thyroid dysfunction can cause other health problems.

    "This is easy to treat and we can treat with really minimal side effects," says Lester, who is an assistant professor of medicine in the division of endocrinology at Oregon Health Sciences University. She reviewed the guidelines for WebMD.

    In addition to adults age 35 and older, Lester says there is now new evidence that women of child-bearing age, who are in their 20s and early 30s, also should be tested because, left undetected, thyroid disease can affect the health of their babies.

    Vital Information:

    • New guidelines from a group of thyroid experts recommend that everyone be screened for thyroid disease every five years, beginning at age 35.
    • The symptoms of thyroid disease can be easily missed, but it is important to treat, because it can lead to other health problems.
    • An underactive thyroid can be treated with thyroid hormone; treatment for overactive thyroid is more complex and varies according to the cause of the problem.
    1 | 2

    Today on WebMD

    Eating for a longer, healthier life.
    woman biking
    How to stay vital in your 50s and beyond.
    womans finger tied with string
    Learn how we remember, and why we forget.
    smiling after car mishap
    9 things no one tells you about getting older.
    fast healthy snack ideas
    how healthy is your mouth
    dog on couch
    doctor holding syringe
    champagne toast
    Two women wearing white leotards back to back
    Man feeding woman
    two senior women laughing