Making the Diagnosis
Treatment for hypothyroidism quickly improves your symptoms, but treatment is possible only if you're properly diagnosed. So if you suspect you have hypothyroidism, it's important to get diagnosed promptly.
To find out whether you are truly deficient in thyroid hormone, your doctor should perform a thorough physical exam and order a blood test. In some cases, the results of your blood test will make it clear that you have hypothyroidism. But in other cases, the results may be less revealing.
In any case, a doctor should also take into account the signs and symptoms that you are experiencing, and work toward getting you properly diagnosed, even if it isn't hypothyroidism causing your problems. After all, many of these symptoms do overlap with other medical conditions such as depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia.
To figure out whether you have hypothyroidism, your doctor will want to know your health history as well as that of your family. He should engage you in a conversation about your health and probe into your health status. What symptoms are you concerned about? How are your mood and energy level? Do you notice any swelling or changes in your voice?
Your physician will also perform a physical exam. He may check your fingernails, your complexion, and your pulse. He should also perform a hands-on check of the thyroid gland to see if it is enlarged.
During the visit, be sure to share details about your health, including any medications you may be taking and any recent illnesses. Don't be shy about discussing your lack of libido or your recent bouts of depression. Although these details may seem embarrassing to you, they are actually signs and symptoms of disease that can assist your doctor in making a proper diagnosis.