is not clear whether people who do not have any risk factors and who do not
have any symptoms of
thyroid problems—which include an underactive thyroid
gland (hypothyroidism), an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism),
thyroid nodules, and
thyroid cancer—need to be screened for thyroid
The American Thyroid Association recommends that all
adults be tested beginning at age 35 and continuing every 5 years.1 After reviewing all of the research, the U.S.
Preventive Services Task Force
(USPSTF) has not recommended for or against routine
thyroid testing.2 Some other groups suggest that
people who are at high risk—pregnant women, anyone with a personal or family history
of thyroid disease, and people with other
autoimmune diseases—may want to be screened. Talk to your doctor about whether you need to be tested for
People who have a family history of medullary
thyroid cancer (MTC) may want to have a
genetic test. Before having the test, it is a good
idea to talk with a
genetic counselor. He or she can help you understand
what your test results may mean.
For more information, see the
topics Hyperthyroidism, Hypothyroidism, Thyroid Nodules, and Thyroid
CitationsLadenson PW, et al. (2000). American Thyroid Association guidelines for detection of thyroid dysfunction. Archives of Internal Medicine, 160: 1573–1575.U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2004). Screening for thyroid disease: Recommendation statement. Annals of Internal Medicine, 140: 125–141.
November 4, 2011
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
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