Thyroid disease is a medical condition that affects around 200 million people globally. During the month of January, thyroid awareness month, we encourage everyone to perform a self exam. IfÂ thyroid diseaseÂ is not diagnosed and/or treated it can cause symptoms such as depression, constant fatigue, tremors and weakness in muscles. These are some of the reasons why it is important for people to perform regular self thyroid exams.
What Is The Function Of The Thyroid?
The thyroidâ€™s job is to produce the hormones that are necessary to assist the body in metabolism regulation. When the thyroid is not functioning properly, it can cause hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is when the bodyâ€™s systems speed up, and hypothyroidism is when the systems slow down.
The thyroid can also become affected with small nodules or tumors. Although in the majority of cases the tumors are benign, butÂ they can also be malignant and require further examination. This is one of the reasons why health care professionals promote thyroid awareness month.
When you examine your neck in some areas, you may be able to feel enlargements or abnormal lumps that may be indicators of a thyroid condition. These lumps may be nodules, thyroid cancer or even goiters. However, there are many different symptoms related not only to a thyroid imbalance but other conditions.
One of the best ways to know for sure is to discuss testing such as thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test to determine if your thyroid is functioning correctly. This is a blood test that will measure your thyroid. Your thyroid health is essential to your overall health.
Thyroid Awareness Month:Â How to Perform a Self-Exam
You will need to perform the exam in front of a mirror. Focus on the middle part of your neck in the lower area. The thyroid gland is located above the collarbone and below the larynx.
Slightly tilt you head back, drink some water and swallow. While you are swallowing, you are looking for bulges or lumps in this area of your neck. You may want to repeat this simple test a few times. If you notice any bulges, you should contact your physician.
Thyroid awareness month is geared towards informing the public about the importance of good thyroid health and thyroid disease. Speak with your physician if you have any questions or concerns, or if you want to be tested for hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism or thyroid cancer.
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