It's very important that an underactive thyroid(hypothyroidism)is diagnosed as soon as possible.
Low levels of thyroid-producing hormones, such astriiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), can change the way the body processes fat.
This can cause Hyperlipidemia and atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries) , which can potentially lead to serious heart-related problems, such as angina and heart attack .
Therefore, you should see your GP and ask for a blood test if you repeatedly have symptoms of an underactive thyroid .
Ablood test measuring your hormone levels is the only accurate way to find out whetherthere's a problem.
The test, called a thyroid function test, looks at levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroxine (T4) in the blood.
Ahigh level of TSH and a low level ofT4 in the bloodcould mean you havean underactive thyroid.
If your test results show raised TSH but normalT4, you may be at risk of developing an underactive thyroid in the future.
Your GP may recommend that you have a repeat blood test every so often to see whether you eventually develop an underactive thyroid.
Blood tests are also sometimes used for other measurements, such as checking the level of a hormone calledtriiodothyronine (T3). However, this isn't routine, because T3 levels can often remain normal, even if you have a significantly underactive thyroid.
Thewebsite has more information about the different types of thyroid function tests .
Your GP may refer you to an endocrinologist (a specialist in hormone disorders) if you:
An underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) is where your thyroid gland doesn't produce enough hormones.
Read more about the symptoms of an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), including tiredness, weight gain, depression and increased sensitivity to cold.
Read about the causes of an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), including the immune system attacking the thyroid gland and previous thyroid treatment.
Read about the importance of correctly diagnosing an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) using a specialised type of blood test called a thyroid function test.
Read about how an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) is treated. The first line treatment is a daily hormone replacement tablet called levothyroxine.
Read about the complications of an untreated underactive thyroid, including heart problems, goitre and pregnancy-related complications.