Thyroid Health Awareness: American Thyroid Association
Neck Self-Exam · Thyroid Cancer Info
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that is normally located in the lower front of the neck. The thyroid’s job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body.
Thyroid hormones help the body use energy, stay warm, and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working as they should. These hormones, which are also referred to as T3 (liothyronine) and T4 (levothyroxine), affect almost every cell in your body.
· If you have too little thyroid hormone in your blood, your body slows down. This condition is called hypothyroidism.
· If you have too much thyroid hormone in your blood, your body speeds up. This condition is called hyperthyroidism.
· Some patients who have an enlarged thyroid gland may also produce too much or too little thyroid hormone.
Because many symptoms of thyroid imbalance may be hard to recognize and may be mistaken for symptoms caused by other conditions, the best way to know for sure about your thyroid health is to ask your doctor for a TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) test, a simple blood test that measures whether your thyroid gland is functioning normally.
Thyroid cancer is more likely to occur in people who have undergone radiation therapy of the head, neck, or chest during childhood. However, radiation that is used in diagnostic x-rays (for example, x-rays used by dentists or CT scans of the neck/chest) is probably not connected with thyroid cancer.
If you have a family member with thyroid disease, are over the age of 60, or have any symptoms or risk factors associated with thyroid disease, you should talk to your doctor about getting a TSH test.