Dr. Ladenson shares how often a woman should have a thyroid-stimulating hormone(TSH) blood test.
Whether people without symptoms of a thyroid condition should have routine thyroid blood testing is controversial. Certainly no one would doubt that a woman with complaints like constipation, dry skin, weight gain, fatigue, depressed mood, are symptoms that might be due to an underactive thyroid gland, no one would doubt that that woman should have a blood test to be sure.
And on the other hand, that a woman with heat intolerance, trembling of the hands, pounding of the heart, palpitations, unexplained weight loss or anxiety, a woman with those complaints should have thyroid blood testing to be sure she doesn’t have an overactive thyroid gland.
Similarly, many endocrinologists believe that any woman who is planning pregnant, or pregnant, ought to have a thyroid blood test to be sure that the thyroid function that is so important for her health and her baby’s health during pregnancy, remains normal throughout, especially early pregnancy.
With a woman who feel perfect and have no complaints, should have routine blood testing is more controversial. The recommendations of the American Thyroid Association, however, are that women over the age of 35 should have a blood test every five years to be sure that they don’t have a thyroid condition that is silently beginning to emerge and might in future endanger their health.
About Dr. Ladenson:
Dr. Ladenson is Director of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, where he is the John Eager Howard Professor of Endocrinology and Professor of Medicine, Pathology, Oncology, and International Health. Dr. Ladenson was raised in Missouri and educated at Dartmouth College, Oxford University, and Harvard Medical School before training in Internal Medicine and in endocrinology and metabolism at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He is also the past-president for the American Thyroid Association. Dr. Ladenson’s research interests include the effects of thyroid hormone on the cardiovascular system, applications of thyroid hormone analogs, novel approaches to thyroid cancer diagnosis and management, and health economic analyses related to thyroid patient care.
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