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Auckland DHB Endocrinology Service

Public Service, Endocrinology

Thyroid Disorders

The thyroid is a gland that sits in the front of the neck.  It is responsible for producing a hormone called thyroxine.  Thyroxine has an important role in the body as it affects many organs including the heart, muscles and bones.  Diseases that affect the thyroid can make it either overactive (producing too much thyroxine), underactive (not producing enough thyroxine) or enlarged (goitre).  Endocrinologists specialise in these diseases as well as cancer of the thyroid.

Tests
Thyroid dysfunction, whether under or overactive, is usually picked up with a blood test. Other tests may be required for thyroid enlargement or goitre. These include:
  • An ultrasound scan.  This is where a hand-held scanner is passed over your thyroid gland and pictures are taken
  • A nuclear medicine scintiscan.  This is where you are given a marker by intravenous injection that is selectively taken up by the thyroid gland.  Although it is radioactive it does not damage you or anyone else.  Pictures are then taken of the thyroid gland that give the doctor information about what might be causing the problem
  • Fine needle aspirate (FNA). This is where the doctor puts a very fine needle (smaller than for a blood test) into the thyroid gland to take some cells to look at under the microscope.

Further details about the Greenlane clinic and specific thyroid disorders are contained in the following document. Please click on the link My Thyroid Gland

The American Thyroid Association link is http://www.thyroid.org/

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This page was last updated at 12:35PM on June 9, 2021.