The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland in front of your windpipe. It uses iodine in the diet to product thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), two hormones responsible for regulating important processes in your body, including, metabolism, mood and energy.

Thyroid function tests are a series of blood tests that measure how well your thyroid gland is working.

The UPMC Thyroid Center offers testing and diagnostic services, as well as a team of specialists trained to manage a range of thyroid conditions. Call 412-586-9205 today to make an appointment.

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Do You Need a Thyroid Test?

If you have certain symptoms, often related to weight, mood, or energy, your doctor may recommend a thyroid test. Thyroid function tests look for two conditions: hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

Hypothyroidism means the thyroid gland isn’t producing enough hormones, which can cause weight gain, fatigue, depression, irregular menstrual periods, and dry skin.

Hyperthyroidism means the thyroid gland is overproducing hormones that may result in weight loss, anxiety, rapid heart rate, diarrhea, and irregular menstrual periods. Hyperthyroidism can be caused by thyroiditis, Graves’ disease, or thyroid nodules.

Procedure for Thyroid Function Tests

Your doctor will likely first recommend a simple blood test to check your levels of thyroid stimulating hormone which is responsible for stimulating the production of T3 and T4. The results of this test will give your doctor more clues about what may be causing your symptoms.

Additional blood tests may be ordered to measure the levels of T4 or T3. The results of these tests signal how well the thyroid gland is working and whether you need treatment for hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. A test to measure thyroid antibodies may be ordered if you are suspected of having an autoimmune disorder that is affecting your thyroid function.

Although thyroid tests are simple to perform, you may need to prepare ahead of time. Certain medicines and pregnancy can affect the test results, so tell your doctor what medicines and supplements you are taking, and follow all instructions leading up to the test.

The UPMC Thyroid Center offers testing and diagnostic services, as well as a team of specialists trained to manage a range of thyroid conditions. Call 412-586-9205 today to make an appointment.

About UPMC

A $21 billion health care provider and insurer, Pittsburgh-based UPMC is inventing new models of patient-centered, cost-effective, accountable care. The largest nongovernmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC integrates more than 90,000 employees, 40 hospitals, 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and a 3.8 million-member Insurance Services Division, the largest medical insurer in western Pennsylvania. In the most recent fiscal year, UPMC contributed $1.4 billion in benefits to its communities, including more care to the region’s most vulnerable citizens than any other health care institution, and paid more than $500 million in federal, state, and local taxes. Working in close collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC shares its clinical, managerial, and technological skills worldwide through its innovation and commercialization arm, UPMC Enterprises, and through UPMC International. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside on its annual Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. For more information, go to