gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland situated at the base of the neck just
below the Adam's apple. The gland
manufactures thyroid hormone to prompt cells to perform a function at a certain
It needs Iodine to produce thyroid hormone. Iodine is mainly found in
iodized table salt, seafood, bread, and milk.
‘Thyroid Awareness Month recommends people get their thyroid-stimulating hormone levels checked to make sure it is not too high or too low. If your TSH level is abnormal and you don't feel well, get your T3 and T4 thyroid hormones checked as well.’
The thyroid gland makes two kinds of thyroid hormone: thyroxine (T4)
and triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones play a vital role in our body, influencing the function of many of the body's essential organs, including the brain, heart, kidneys, liver and skin. The hormones work at cellular level and work to help cells burn its energy by
working on the mitochondria. Hence, keeping your thyroid gland healthy is essential to the body's overall well-being.
Thyroid disease affects around 200 million people
worldwide, and if left untreated it can cause conditions such constant fatigue, muscle weakness, tremors, and depression. Its symptoms include fatigue, sleep disorders, weight changes, depression, low sex drive, hair loss, diarrhea and constipation.
thyroid is responsible for producing hormones that help the body regulate its
metabolism. When not working properly it can cause the body's system to speed
) or slow down (hypothyroidism
). Furthermore, although the
vast majority of thyroid nodules are benign, some can be cancerous and require examination and workup," says Marita Teng, MD, Associate Professor of
Otolaryngology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Head and Neck Institute at Mount Sinai.
home-testing your neck can help you identify lumps that may point to thyroid
conditions. Because many signs of thyroid imbalance may be hard to recognize
and can mimic other conditions, the best practice to know for sure is to
discuss with your doctor the role of TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) testing.
TSH test is an easy blood test
that measures whether your thyroid gland is functioning normally.
Neck Check Self-exam
potentially identify a thyroid disease early by following these simple steps.
- Stand in front of a mirror
- Stretch your neck back
- Swallow water
- Look for enlargement in your neck
- Feel the area to confirm enlargement
- If any abnormality is detected, see a doctor
discover their thyroid problems by noticing a lump or swelling on the neck. But
a self-testing is not enough to confirm a thyroid disease or to start treatment.
So a thorough examination by a physician is needed to diagnose thyroid disease.
Get the Right Blood Tests
Most endocrinologists and physicians rely on the TSH
test in the diagnosis of thyroid disease
. But keep
in mind, the "typical" average range, which is between 0.5 and 5.5,
is controversial. Many doctors believe that levels above 2.5 are evidence of a
thyroid condition. However, millions of people fall into the limbo between 2.5
and 5.5, where clinicians wrongly claim they are 'normal.' If you feel sick,
and your TSH is in 'limbo' and get another opinion. Also, remember that
endocrinologist don't just rely on TSH, they test Free T4, Free T3 to get a
complete idea of thyroid function.
Thorough Clinical Thyroid Examination
Blood tests are
only a part of the equation. The challenging part of the diagnosis comes in the
clinical thyroid exam. During a thorough thyroid exam, the doctor:
Thyroid disease develops slowly and it is a chronic and long-term
disease. There is a lack of awareness about the disease, and the condition gets
less attention of the media. The Thyroid Awareness Month urges people in doubt
to get tested for the disease early.
- Palpate (examine by touch) your neck for thyroid abnormalities
- Test your reflexes
- Check your blood pressure and heart rate
- Measure body temperature
- Measure your weight, and discuss changes
- Check your face for puffiness and eyebrow loss
- Examine your eyes to identify thyroid-related signs
- Discuss changes in the quality/quantity of your hair
- Examine your skin, for hives and lesions
- Note any tremor, shakiness, slowness in movement
- Note slowness in speech and hoarseness of voice
- Examine swelling of hands/feet
- Review your family history of thyroid and autoimmune disease
- Listen attentively to your medical history, and your signs and