Doing a Thyroid Self-Check
If you notice any lumps or nodules on your thyroid you should seek
Hello, I'm Dr. Michael Via, with Beth Israel Medical Center, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, and today on About.com, we are going to talk about how to perform a thyroid self-check.Because the thyroid gland is responsible for the production of hormones that regulate overall metabolism. When imbalance in thyroid function is present, it can have negative effects on the body that are sometimes severe.Since thyroid problems are especially common in women, early detection allows for earlier treatment that can drastically improves one's general health, and outcome.It is a good idea to perform regular self-check exams of the thyroid. Be advised that this self-administered test is not meant to replace regular visits to your doctor.The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists advises the following steps:Using a hand held mirror, hold it to the side and take a closer look at the area just above your collarbone, below the Adam's apple. This is where the thyroid gland is located.Take a glass of water and after tipping your head back slightly, take a sip and watch the reflection as you swallow. Pay attention not to confuse the thyroid gland with the Adam's apple, as the gland is located below it, generally at the base of the neck. The thyroid is only 3-5 cm, or less than 2 inches wide.Once you've located the thyroid gland on your neck, bulging areas are what you are looking for. You should repeat these steps several times and take mental notes of any protrusions or lumps you may see when swallowing. If you notice any lumps or nodules, you should seek a physician's help.Thyroid imbalance can cause a variety of issues, ranging from excessive weight gain or loss, exhaustion, depression, infertility or menstrual irregularities, skin and hair changes, etc.Tests at the doctor's office will typically include blood tests, where levels of thyroid hormones are checked for imbalance and a physical exam for palpation of the neck.To find out more, go to About.com.