The thyroid produces hormones that regulate the metabolic processes in the body. There are two main malfunctions of the thyroid; hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. In these conditions the thyroid either produces too much hormone (hyperthyroidism) or too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism).
Often people with hypothyroidism have problems with weight gain and experience low energy levels. Hypothyroidism is especially dangerous in infants as underproduction of the thyroid hormones can result in mental retardism and dwarfism. Newborns and infants are usually tested early to ensure treatment can being immediately after being diagnosed.
Disorders of the thyroid include goiter, an enlargement of the gland, Grave’s disease, and cancerous tumors. To determine the condition of the thyroid gland, a PET scan is usually done which involves injecting a radiotracer approximately 30 minutes before the scan. The radiotracer is seen via the images produced by the scan and a diagnosis can be made. This procedure is relatively painless except for a slight prick when the IV is placed. The scan takes 30 minutes.