The thyroid is a small gland responsible for producing hormones that play a crucial role in many of the body’s systems — from cells and tissues, to organs like the heart, brain, liver, and kidneys. Dysfunction occurs when the thyroid produces either too much or too little thyroid hormone. Either can disrupt healthy functioning of vital organs — leading to a wide range of symptoms. The good news? Once diagnosed and treated, it’s entirely possible to live a normal, healthy life.
HOW TO OBSERVE THYROID AWARENESS MONTH
Take the thyroid neck check
Have a hand-held mirror and a glass of water handy. With the mirror in your hand, focus on the lower front area of your neck, above the collarbone, and below the voice box (larynx). This is where your thyroid gland is located. While focusing on this area, tip your head back, take a drink of water, and swallow. As you swallow, look at your neck. Check for any bulges or protrusions. (Don’t confuse the Adam’s apple with the thyroid gland.) If you do see any bulges, see your physician. You may have an enlarged thyroid gland or a thyroid nodule.
Encourage friends and family to get tested
If a family member or a friend has mentioned feeling cold a lot of the time, having trouble sleeping, or difficulty swallowing, maybe it’s time to suggest they ask their doctor about thyroid dysfunction. It’s all too easy to dismiss “little” issues like dry skin as being insignificant, but testing could help them find treatment quicker.
Make a donation
It’s likely that you know someone who has been (or will be) impacted by thyroid dysfunction, even if it hasn’t directly affected you. Celebrate your good health by making a donation to one of the many research or treatment institutions; there are most likely some in your area that would be very appreciative of your support.
📸 Picture courtesy: ISTOCK