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Check Your Neck for Thyroid Awareness Month

How to Check Your Neck for Thyroid Awareness

Your thyroid is a gland in the front of your neck. It makes thyroid hormone, which plays an important role in keeping you healthy. Thyroid hormone helps your body use energy and keeps your brain, heart, nerves and muscles doing their job.

Up to 30 million Americans may have thyroid disease, but half may go undiagnosed. The thyroid may become over active (hyperthyroidism), become underactive (hypothyroidism), or develop nodules (“lumps”). You may need a blood test to see if the thyroid is making the right amount of hormone. Thyroid problems are more common in women than in men and may run in families.

Some symptoms of hyperthyroidism may include:

  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Hand tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling hotter than others
  • Changes in menstrual cycle

Some symptoms of hypothyroidism may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Hair changes
  • Decreased mood
  • Feeling colder than others
  • Changes in menstrual cycle

Call Drexel Endocrinology

If you'd like to speak with one of our endocrinology specialists, we encourage you to call and schedule an appointment today.

Talk with your doctor about any symptoms you may have to see if you should be tested for thyroid disease. You can also perform a self-assessment.

How to Check Your Neck

  1. All you will need is a handheld mirror and a glass of water. An enlarged thyroid (a goiter) is common, and can cause problems with swallowing, talking or even breathing.
  2. Hold the mirror in your hand, focusing on the lower front area of your neck, above the collar bones and below the voice box (larynx). Your thyroid gland is located in this area of your neck.
  3. While focusing on this area in the mirror, tilt your head back.
  4. Take a drink of water and swallow.
  5. As you swallow, look at your neck. Check for any bulges or protrusions in this area when you swallow. Reminder: Don’t confuse the Adam’s apple with the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located further down on your neck, closer to the collarbone. You may want to repeat this process several times.
  6. If you do see any bulges or protrusions in this area, see your physician. You may have an enlarged thyroid gland or a thyroid nodule that should be checked to determine whether further evaluation is needed.

The information on these pages is provided for general information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment, or as a substitute for consultation with a physician or health care professional. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health, you should consult your health care professional.

The images being used are for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted is a model.

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