Check the Necks

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As Thyroid Awareness Month comes to a close, I think about how I just learned we had a month. I think about how depleting this disease was/is to my life; something that estimated 20 million Americans suffer from but yet people are unaware.

My goal is to be the face of thyroid disease. We need to start to give it the attention it deserves. Why? Because I know that there are many people wondering why they feel sluggish today or why their hair is falling out in clumps or why they are experiencing unexplained weight loss/gain etc. That was me for over 6 months prior to my diagnosis. It was the worst time of my life. I was searching for an answer. The answer was that my thyroid was not functioning properly. It was hyperactive, enlarged and the reason for all my symptoms. I had Graves’ disease. From my previous posts you know that I had a severe case which resulted in a total thyroidectomy.

What is the thyroid?

“The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the base of the neck just below the Adam’s apple. Although relatively small, the thyroid gland plays a huge role in our body, influencing the function of many of the body’s most important organs, including the heart, brain, liver, kidneys and skin.”(see link below)

Think about the thyroid as necessary to the overall functionality of the body. For example, lately I’ve been waking up not feeling good. Since surgery that tends to happen until a take my levothyroxine. The medicine that is supposed to do what a thyroid does. But now it’s to the point where I have to take my medicine as early as 3:30am for me to feel normal. As you know I’ve increased my exercising to about 5-6 times a week. I’m wondering if this has impacted my overall health. My thyroid medication is always in question when I don’t feel well. So I’ve scheduled a visit to my endocrinologist.

I can’t stress the importance of getting checked out when you don’t feel well. Whether or not you are suffering from a chronic condition, it is imperative. For the last few days of January (Thyroid Awareness Month), I’m urging everyone to check the necks.

  1. Hold the mirror in your hand, focusing on the lower front area of your neck, above the collarbones, and below the voice box (larynx). Your thyroid gland is located in this area of your neck.
  2. While focusing on this area in the mirror, tip your head back.
  3. Take a drink of water and swallow.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. (see link below)

Both literally and figuratively. My thyroid was enlarged to the point where you can see it protruding. Maybe check the neck for you means going to the doctor because you been putting off your latest physical. Or maybe it’s as simple as being an active participant in your overall health; exercising and eating right.

I’ve included a link to a thyroid awareness website that I quoted earlier. Please read, 12 percent of Americans will suffer from a thyroid condition in their lifetime and 60 percent of people suffering are unaware of their illness. It may not be you but it can be someone you care about.

Check the Necks!

A Woman in Process

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