The thyroid is a small gland that sits in the middle of your lower neck. It produces hormones that are released into your bloodstream to control your metabolism.
Anyone of any age can get thyroid disease, but women are five to eight times more likely than men to have it.
Relatively simple tests will identify if you have a problem. You can have either an underactive or overactive thyroid, which both cause many symptoms that make your life difficult. Both problems can be treated easily with drugs or, in rare cases, a simple operation to remove part or the whole of the gland.
Thyroid disorders affect around one in 20 people in the UK. (source: British Thyroid Foundation). Overactive thyroid (known as hyperthyroidism) is a relatively common problem when you have too much thyroid hormone in your body. It has various causes including:
The symptoms of an overactive thyroid include:
Underactive thyroid (known as hypothyroidism) means your thyroid gland is not producing enough hormones. It's most often caused by your immune system attacking the gland and damaging it, or from damage that happens as a result of other drug treatments. Other less common causes include a lack of dietary iodine, and sometimes you are just born with an underactive thyroid.
The symptoms include:
Blood tests are the simplest way to test your thyroid function. They can also be used to monitor the effects of treatment.
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You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
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Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.
We understand that having tests can often be a time of anxiety and worry, but our experienced and caring medical staff will be there for you, holding your hand, every step of the way.
The thyroid tests are relatively straightforward and painless. They involve your specialist taking a small blood sample for analysis in our laboratories.
These tests are carried out as an outpatient case so you will be able to go home straight after or as soon as you feel comfortable.
These tests are painless. You might feel some slight discomfort but you shouldn’t need any pain relief medication.
When we discharge you we'll talk to you about an appointment to see your specialist again to discuss the test results.
You should be able to return to work immediately.
Even once you’ve left hospital, we’re still here for you. Your specialist is likely to want to see you after your tests results become available, a follow up appointment will be made for you. We take an integrated approach so we can organise any other care that you may need should your test results show something abnormal.
If you have any questions or concerns, we’re ready to help.
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The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.