Especially if you are a woman or if there are already similar cases in your family, you should monitor your Thyroid, a gland that produces fundamental hormones for many of your body's activities.
The thyroid is a small endocrine gland shaped like a butterfly. It is located more or less at the base of your neck and produces several hormones that the body uses to perform some fundamental tasks, such as metabolism control, bone and muscle development, and brain functioning. For this reason, it is very important to keep it monitored. These are absolutely non-invasive procedures like a normal Medical Examination or the classic Blood test.
The thyroid tests is above all, a simple physical examination and a blood test to assess whether the amount of hormones produced by this gland is regular or not. In case you suspect a more serious ongoing problem, your doctor, or a specialist, will prescribe you more detailed tests like a scan or even an ultrasound.
Medical examination and thyroid palpation
The first exam consists of a simple medical examination. Your GP, once you tell him the symptoms that made you worry, will look carefully at the area of your neck, at the level of the thyroid, in search of possible asymmetries, anomalies or swellings visible even with the naked eye. Then he will proceed to the palpation of the area from different positions, positioning himself both in front of and behind you, and will ensure that he is not suspiciously enlarged. If you notice any alteration, you will proceed with other, more detailed investigations.
In a blood test, the number of thyroid hormones present in the blood will be quantified. If it turns out to be too low, you may suffer from hypothyroidism; if the concentration is excessive, the problem could be hyperthyroidism.
This is a normal ultrasound, with which, thanks to an ultrasound probe that scans the affected area, it is possible to identify the presence of various abnormalities in the form and constitution of the thyroid. First of all, the ultrasound test detects the enlargement and a possible goiter, but also the presence of nodules or a tumor mass.
Thyroid autoantibody test
Again, it is a simple blood test, but this time it serves to evaluate another datum: the presence or absence of thyroid autoantibodies. They are cells that defend your body, but, and they only attack this gland. As a result, they can cause malfunctions, but also inflammations such as thyroiditis.
If previous tests suggest a tumor, nodule formation or Basedow-Graves bite, your doctor or specialist could prescribe a thyroid scan. A decidedly more invasive procedure than the previous ones, which involves the injection of a radiopharmaceutical and screening through a device called gamma-camera.
Through a special needle, a microframmento of your thyroid is taken to be analyzed in the laboratory. If there is a suspicion that you have a tumor, this is the most reliable tool for verifying whether the formation is benign or not.