You worry that your general tiredness, constipation, and chilliness - or your revved-up feeling, racing irregular pulse, and heavy sweating - are caused by your thyroid. Or you havebeen treated for a thyroid problem in the past and now you feel that things "aren't right." But your doctor discounts what you say and doesn't order thyroid tests. What can you do?
An enlarged thyroid gland, or lumps in the gland are definite-but all the other problems you report can be caused by a hundred other conditions as well. That's what makes thyroid diagnosis so complex.
There are approximately 10 million people in this country who have unrecognized hypothyroidism. Some 2 million received childhood neck irradiation and have greater risk of thyroid problems. Many older people have symptoms of a failing thyroid mistaken for "merely aging." More than half of the population develops thyroid nodules, which are more common as we get older. Many of these lumps need to be checked for cancer.
Be sure your doctor knows of any special risk factors in your background - click here for more information.
If you feel you have thyroid symptoms, or some of the risk factors such as being over 50 or having a relative with a thyroid problem, yet your physician still won't test, you should consider a second opinion. You can ask to see an endocrinologist or a thyroid specialist at a medical center near you. These specialists will likely be members of the American Thyroid Association, the Endocrine Society, and/or the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, all of which can give you referrals. This is also a service that the Thyroid Foundation of America can provide for you. Please contact us if you would like TFA to provide you with a referral.
Some patients with Graves' or Hashimoto's disease also have a tendency to certain kinds of tendon and joint inflammation.