The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are usually administered to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions.

Screening Tests

A physical examination by your healthcare provider may reveal signs of hypothyroidism, such as a slow pulse, large tongue, or slowed reflexes.

The best screening test is a blood test that measures thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). A high level of TSH suggests hypothyroidism. Other blood tests include T4, T3, and TBG (thyroid binding globulin).

Screening Guidelines

Routine screening for thyroid disease with thyroid function tests is not recommended for children or nonpregnant women without symptoms, as per the US Preventive Services Task Force. However, screening is appropriate in the following :

  • All newborn infants (mandatory in many states)
  • Pregnant women with or without goiter
  • If you:
    • Have a strong family history of thyroid disease
    • Have an autoimmune disease, such as type 1 diabetes
    • Are over 60 years
    • Are taking lithium
    • Have depression
    • Have elevated lipid levels