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Thyroid Function Tests for the Thyroid Gland

by | Dec 29, 2023

Explore thyroid function tests to assess the health of your thyroid gland including TSH, T3, and T4 tests that are crucial for diagnosing thyroid disorders. These tests evaluate thyroid function, ensuring early detection, and guiding personalized treatment plans for optimal thyroid health.

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Introduction to Thyroids

Located at the front of the neck below the Adam’s apple, the thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that produces thyroid hormones. These hormones help control growth and development, body temperature, and heart and digestive functions. Any abnormalities in thyroid hormone levels can impact your overall health and well-being. Fortunately, imaging and blood tests can be used to evaluate your thyroid function and help diagnose conditions like nodules.

The Function of the Thyroid Gland

The thyroid gland secretes two main hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones regulate metabolism by controlling the body’s rate of burning energy and producing proteins. The pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain, releases thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which signals the thyroid to produce T3 and T4. When thyroid hormone levels are too high or too low, it can disrupt metabolic processes throughout the body.

 

Imaging Tests for Thyroid Nodules

Thyroid nodules are abnormal growths that develop within the thyroid gland. Although 95% are non-cancerous, nodules should be tested to rule out thyroid cancer—one of the fastest-growing cancers but also the most treatable if caught early. Standard imaging tests for thyroid nodules include:

  • Ultrasound: This test uses sound waves to create images of the thyroid gland and any nodules present. Ultrasound is a noninvasive way to evaluate the size, shape, and structure of nodules.
  • Fine Needle Biopsy: If ultrasound reveals suspicious nodules, a fine needle biopsy may be performed. Using ultrasound as a guide, a very thin needle is inserted into the nodule to extract cells for examination under a microscope. This test determines if a nodule is benign or cancerous.
  • Thyroid Scan: This imaging test uses small amounts of radioactive iodine and a special camera to take pictures of the thyroid gland. It shows how well the thyroid is taking up and using iodine, helping diagnose conditions like hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

To protect your thyroid health, it is important to have basic knowledge of thyroid nodules and lumps. This includes how they occur, thyroid risk factors, diagnosis and the treatment options available. That way, you will be better able to prevent cancerous thyroids and make informed decisions when it comes to treating these lumps. Learn more on our blog post, “Types of Thyroid Nodules and Cancer”.

Blood Tests for Thyroid Nodules

Blood tests are pivotal in evaluating thyroid function and detecting any abnormalities. The results of these lab tests discussed below can help determine if thyroid nodules are (likely) benign or if further testing is needed:

  • Thyroid Function Tests: Blood tests measure TSH, T3, and T4 levels to determine if the thyroid is functioning correctly. Abnormal levels can indicate hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
  • TSH, T3, T4 Levels: TSH levels indicate how hard the pituitary gland is working to stimulate the thyroid. High or low T3 and T4 may indicate an overactive or underactive thyroid function.
  • Thyroid Antibody Tests: Tests for thyroid peroxidase (TPO) and thyroglobulin antibodies show if your immune system is attacking the thyroid, which can be a sign of an autoimmune thyroid disease like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Swollen Lymph Nodes Causes and Treatments

Almost everyone will experience a swollen lymph node at some point. However, there is a chance that the swelling indicates an issue with your thyroid.

Regular Thyroid Nodules Screening 

A thyroid nodules specialist recommends an initial thyroid ultrasound to evaluate newly discovered thyroid nodules. Annual thyroid ultrasounds are generally advised for nodules that have grown in size or changed in appearance during a physical exam. Early detection of changes in thyroid nodules allows for timely treatment, especially if cancer is found. Routine screening is beneficial for diagnosing thyroid conditions that could affect one’s mood, weight, sleep, and even sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. An endocrinologist will use thyroid imaging tests and blood work to examine the thyroid gland’s structure and function to identify related issues. Ultrasounds can detect nodules in the thyroid, which may require further testing, like biopsies, to determine if they are cancerous.

 

World Class Care for Thyroid Nodules Treatment in Singapore

Singapore-based Dr Manish Taneja of Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic offers an all-inclusive approach to thyroid care to ensure the best possible outcomes for all patients. Our services include ultrasound-guided biopsies, thyroid function testing, and surgical management of thyroid nodules including minimally invasive treatment options like radiofrequency ablation. Contact us to arrange an appointment.

Thyroid Nodule Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) Treatment

Radiofrequency ablation aims to give patients a non-surgical option for treating thyroid nodules. This procedure is a minimally invasive option that a surgeon can perform, should the preliminary tests determine that you would benefit from it.

The Advantages of RFA of Thyroid Nodules

The major advantages of the technique are as below.

  1. It is done as day surgery procedure under light sedation.
  2. It takes about 45 minutes to one hour to complete the entire procedure.
  3. Patients are discharged the same day.
  4. Normal thyroid tissue adjacent to the nodule is preserved.
  5. It does not affect thyroid function.
  6. Multiple nodules can be treated at same time.
  7. The treated nodules do not regrow again.
  8. No surgical scar with needle mark on the skin.
  9. Quick recovery and back to full activity and normal lifestyle.
  10. The technique is suitable to treat even large thyroid nodules.

Find out how thyroid nodule Radiofrequency Ablation can help you in a minimally invasive way on our blog post, “Thyroid Nodule Radiofrequency Ablation Treatment: Diagnosis,  Management, and Recovery.”

Find the Right Doctor

From family and internal medicine to specialist, Dr. Manish Taneja is the best in the field.

As a vascular and interventional radiology specialist, Dr Manish Taneja looks after peripheral vascular disease, aneurysms, dialysis interventions, venous diseases like deep vein thrombosis, and varicose veins/spider veins/reticular veins. He is also competent in performing newer endovascular procedures such as uterine artery embolization, prostate artery embolization, genicular artery embolization, and erectile dysfunction interventions.

Dr. Manish Taneja also has extensive experience in performing all vascular interventions, non-vascular interventions and interventional oncology procedures.

Read More About Vascular Treatments on Our Blog

To dive deeper into the types of vascular treatments such as thyroid nodule radiofrequency ablation, head over to our clinic’s blog.  Read our recommended vascular treatments related blog posts to stay informed.

Thyroid Nodule Resources

How to Keep Thyroid Healthy for Optimal Well-Being

As part of the endocrine system, the thyroid hormones must be perfectly balanced at all times for the body to function normally.

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Caring For Your Thyroid Health

Have you ever experienced difficulty swallowing or breathing? You may have risk factors including a family history of thyroid nodules or iodine deficiency. Thyroid nodules are abnormal lumps (growths) within the thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped gland located below your voice box. Even if most thyroid nodules are benign, 10-15% of nodules are cancerous. Sometimes overgrowth of normal thyroid tissue can lead to hyperthyroidism. In other cases, multiple nodules can form in the thyroid called multinodular goiter. Fluid filled thyroid cysts can be one type of thyroid nodule within the thyroid. More complex nodules may lead to thyroid cancers.

Depending on the root cause and type of nodule you have, patients can monitor with regular ultrasound or even have a thyroid fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAC) if required. Surgery to remove partial or whole thyroid gland can be done but thanks to minimally invasive treatments such as Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA), this procedure can treat noncancerous and cancerous thyroid lumps.

Types of Thyroid Nodules and Cancer

Watch our video guide and find out more on our blog post, “Types of Thyroid Nodules and Cancer” with the types, causes, evaluation, biopsy, treatment options, and when to see a thyroid specialist. Find answers to questions on whether thyroid nodules are cancerous or not.

Arrange Your Appointment

Consult Vascular Specialist, Dr. Manish Taneja

Other Health Conditions

The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic is your “go-to” facility for various conditions and pain management. To arrange an appointment with Dr. Manish Taneja, our thyroid nodule specialist, contact us. You can also call us at (+65) 6904 8084 for a consultation.