For describing a system or object made up of multiple items sharing a large number of structural differences specific to the thyroid, the term used is heterogeneous thyroid. Typically, this particular term is commonly used by scientists, mathematicians, sociologists, and even medical professionals. In this case, heterogeneous thyroid would consist of two or more compounds.
A heterogeneous thyroid could involve a benign or malignant tumor. This is why when symptoms appear a doctor should be seen. Usually, if a doctor suspects this problem, an MRI would be ordered to determine if a heterogeneous thyroid could be seen. People that have this type of thyroid problem are generally fatigued, gain weight, experience headaches, and often feel depressed. Using these symptoms, the doctor would begin his or her search to find an answer, whether a heterogeneous thyroid or not.
If the doctor is able to feel any type of lump and suspects a heterogeneous thyroid could be the cause, the first test would probably be an ultrasound. This test would show the doctor if the lump found would be large enough for a biopsy. If it is large enough, then a small needle biopsy would be performed so thyroid tissue could be examined under a microscope. If the lump were not large enough, the doctor would order an MRI. If a heterogeneous thyroid were detected on an MRI, the doctor would likely have a thyroid panel study done for confirmation.
Of course, when looking for a heterogeneous thyroid, blood work would be a part of the testing process. If the blood work came back normal, meaning no indication of a thyroid problem exists, it would still be worth having the blood retested annually. Of course if something were to change in the meantime, perhaps an additional lump found or the existing lump growing, or some other kind of physical issue, the doctor may want blood work redone earlier.
The challenge with a heterogeneous thyroid is that sometimes, confirmation requires numerous different tests to be performed. Remember, any physical change that is accompanied by symptoms such as those mentioned should be taken seriously. If a heterogeneous thyroid were ultimately detected, early diagnosis followed by appropriate treatment is essential. That way, if cancer cells or a tumor was present, aggressive treatment could be started immediately.
Of course, the endocrinologist or doctor should understand the thyroid, specifically a heterogeneous thyroid to ensure an accurate diagnosis is provided. In addition, this doctor should be aware of the new standard for thyroid testing. For instance, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, or TSH standards have recently been updated so if the doctor is unaware of these changes, it could have a negative impact on getting the thyroid problem treated.
The primary change has to do with the “normal range” for the TSH tests. For instance, the normal range used for identifying problems such as a heterogeneous thyroid has been lowered to a 0.5 to 5.0 range. If hyperthyroidism were the issue, the number would fall below .05 whereas an issue with hypothyroidism would be greater than 5.0. Medical experts believe that the new range guidelines have doubled the number of people that have some kind of abnormal thyroid function, whether a heterogeneous thyroid or something else. Therefore, earlier numbers of 13 million people are now estimated around 27 million.