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Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, medical history, and family history. A physical exam will be done. Recommended tests may include:

These tests measure the blood levels of thyroid hormones. This can be done with by checking levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), free T4, and at times, free T3. The levels of these hormones determine the activity of the thyroid gland. Your blood may also be examined for thyroid antibodies, especially if you are pregnant.

This test is used to help define the cause of hyperthyroidism. The thyroid gland uses iodine to make thyroid hormones. For this test, you will orally ingest radioactive iodine. Some of it is taken up by the thyroid gland. The amount of radioactivity is then measured by a radiation counter. In Graves' disease, an autoimmune cause of hyperthyroidism, the amount is elevated. This test is not done on children or pregnant women.

In rare cases, this test may be done at the same time as the radioiodine uptake to evaluate one or more problematic nodules. If suspected on exam, a thyroid ultrasound may also be done. A thyroid nodule may or may not be functioning and is termed hot if it makes too much thyroid hormone, or cold if it does not make any.

References:

Hyperthyroidism. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us. Updated March 12, 2013. Accessed November 25, 2013.

Hyperthyroidism. The Endocrine Society Hormone Health Network website. Available at: http://www.hormone.org/questions-and-answers/2010/hyperthyroidism. Accessed November 25, 2013.

Pearce EN. Diagnosis and management of thyrotoxicosis. Brit Med J. 2006;332:1369-1373.

Wu SY, Weiss RE. Radioiodine imaging in the primary care of thyroid disease. Postgrad Med. 2006;119:70-77.

Last reviewed November 2013 by Kim Carmichael, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


 
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