Straight, No Chaser: Thyroid Awareness and Neck Self-Examination

thyroid awareness

Is your thyroid something you know exists but know very little about? Let’s change that. The thyroid gland lives in your neck and produces hormones that help you regular your body’s metabolism. This makes it quite important. Thyroid disease affects approximately 200 million people around the world. You care about this because abnormalities of the thyroid gland can cause real problems and deadly disease. Let’s take a brief look at four types of abnormalities.

Thyroid-dysfunctions-symptoms

Goiters are something you may know of if you’re of a certain age. It’s a condition notable for the presence of a visibly enlarged thyroid gland

  • Goiters frequently cause difficulty swallowing or breathing.

Hyperthyroidism is a disease resulting from an overactive thyroid

  • Symptoms of hyperthyroidism are: rapid weight loss, high blood pressure, anxiety and insomnia.

Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid.

  • Symptoms of hypothyroidism are: weak or slow heartbeat; muscular weakness; constant fatigue; weight gain; depression; slow reflexes; sensitivity to cold; thick, puffy, or dry skin; slowed mental processes and poor memory; and constipation.

thyroid-cancer

Thyroid cancer has seen a dramatic increase in the number of cases diagnosed due to increased detection. Of course, early detection and treatment is a good thing for prognosis.

thryoid self

All of these conditions can be discovered if you learn to examine your neck. 15-30 seconds can often help you discover lumps, nodules, goiters and cancers that will signal an immediate need for assessment, confirmation and treatment by a physician. Given the relatively non-specific nature of symptoms related to the thyroid, your role in discovering thyroid disease is an important one. As is the case with other self-exams (e.g. breast, testicles), you will become more familiar with your anatomy and will be most likely to pick up on any changes with repeated exams.

thyroid self exam

Performing a Neck (Thyroid) Self-Exam:

  • Grab a mirror, and tip your head back. Your area of interest is the middle area of your neck. Your thyroid gland is located above your collarbones and below the Adam’s apple (larynx).
  • Take a drink of water and slowly swallow.
  • As you swallow, check your neck for any bulges, lumps or protrusions. You may want to repeat this process several times.
  • If you discover any abnormalities, see your physician. You may need to checked for thyroid disease.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Endocrine/Metabolic, Health Prevention

4 responses to “Straight, No Chaser: Thyroid Awareness and Neck Self-Examination

  1. Sandra

    I have enlarged nodules on my thyroid gland last year I had a fna done and it came back normal. I’m having an ultrasound done today. Forgot that I was diagnosed in 1988 with Graves’ disease and was treated with radioactive iodine therapy. Do you think I should just have the thyroid removed?

    • Typically thyroid removal isn’t recommended in the absence of cancerous growth or dramatic abnormalities that can’t otherwise be controlled. I can’t speak to your individual case without reviewing your medical history (as occurs at http://www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com), but I’d suspect your physician wouldn’t advise it. Thanks for the question and for following Straight, No Chaser.

  2. Sandra

    Should my daughters check for thyroid problems?