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Physical Exam for Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism can affect many different parts of your body. During the physical exam, your doctor will:

  • Weigh you.
  • Examine your skin, nails, and hair. People with hyperthyroidism may have dry skin, thick skin on their shins and on the tops of their feet, brittle nails, and thin hair.
  • Examine your eyes for swelling, bulging, and redness, and check to see if you have trouble with following a moving object with your eyes.
  • Check the movement of your eyelids as you look up and down.
  • Examine your legs, arms, hands, and feet and look for hand tremors.
  • Listen to your heart to identify any irregularities in your heartbeat.
  • Examine your belly.
  • Check your reflexes by tapping your elbow or knee with a small rubber hammer. People with hyperthyroidism may have stronger reflex responses.

The exam will also focus on the thyroid gland itself. Your doctor will:

  • Look at and feel the thyroid gland at the front of your neck.
  • Listen to your thyroid gland. If you have Graves' disease, you may have more blood than normal flowing through your thyroid gland. Your doctor can hear this extra blood flow by listening through a stethoscope.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
Last Revised November 4, 2011

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