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National Thyroid Awareness Month: Have You Completed a “Neck Check” Lately?

female checking her thyroid

Did you know that thyroid disease affects 200 million people worldwide, causing symptoms like depression, tremors, muscle weakness and fatigue? Were you also aware that thyroid cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women?  

Did you also know that a simple self-exam called a “neck check” can detect possible thyroid problems? All you need is a glass of water, a mirror and a few minutes. The steps are simple:  

  1. Locate your thyroid gland above your collarbone and below the larynx or voice box.  
  2. Focus on this part of the neck, tip your head back and then swallow a sip of water.  
  3. Watch your neck in the mirror while you swallow, checking for bumps or protrusions that either move or remain still.   

If you do see any lumps, schedule an appointment with a physician. You may have an enlarged thyroid (also called a goiter) or thyroid nodules. Your doctor can perform a physical exam and order blood tests that can reveal thyroid hormone levels, helping to determine the cause for the enlarged thyroid.  

Many thyroid diseases go untreated. While symptoms may not be life threatening they can be detrimental to enjoying a healthy lifestyle. Don’t overlook this important gland that regulates many of your body’s daily functions.