January is Thyroid Awareness Month, which aims to bring awareness and education to issues related to the thyroid. The thyroid is a small gland at the front of your neck that controls how your body uses energy. When you have a thyroid gland issue, your body’s systems may not be working properly. If your doctor suspects that a  thyroid condition may be at the root of your symptoms or issues, he or she may order a thyroid test to evaluate the health of your thyroid. Below, we will touch on a few thyroid tests you should know about.

What do thyroid tests do?

Doctors and medical professionals use thyroid tests to check how well your thyroid is working and to find the cause of problems such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Thyroid tests help identify and diagnose thyroid issues or diseases such as:

  • Hyperthyroidism, which occurs when thyroid hormone levels are too high.
  • Graves’ disease—the most common cause of hyperthyroidism.
  • Hypothyroidism, which occurs when thyroid hormone levels are too low.
  • Hashimoto’s disease—one of the most common causes of hypothyroidism.
  • Thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer 

Types of Thyroid Tests 

There are a number of thyroid tests your doctor can recommend and order to diagnose issues related to the thyroid. Below are four of the most common thyroid tests:

1. TSH test is a thyroid test that measures the amount of TSH in your blood. TSH is the hormone that originates in the pituitary gland that tells the thyroid how much T4 and T3 to generate. High TSH levels usually indicate hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid; low levels of TSH point to hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid. 

2. The T4 test is another blood test that evaluates the thyroid. A high level of T4 can sometimes indicate hyperthyroidism. 

3. A T3 test is often used to confirm hyperthyroidism after a T4 test is conducted

4. Thyroid FNA or thyroid fine-needle aspiration uses a biopsy of thyroid nodules to test for issues related to the thyroid. Typically, it is performed using image guidance from an ultrasound machine to ensure that the needle is placed in exactly the right position. Ultrasounds can also be used alone to look more closely at thyroid nodules to ensure they are healthy. The biopsy is then sent off for testing.

Visit your doctor or radiologist to discuss the options you have for thyroid testing. If you are considering thyroid biopsy in Manhattan, you’ll be in good hands with the board-certified radiologists at Rosetta Radiology who have years of experience with the thyroid FNA test. Call to make your appointment today.