January is Thyroid Awareness Month. During this time, Delaney Radiology is committed to providing facts about the thyroid, its importance to your body’s health and what imaging options are available if your doctor suspects thyroid issues.
What is the thyroid and why is it important to my health?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland, located in the lower front of the neck and makes thyroid hormones. These hormones run through the blood and are carried to every tissue in the body, thus affecting almost every organ in your body. Thyroid hormones help control metabolism, energy levels, weight, internal body temperature, among other things. Thyroid disorders occur when the gland produces too much or too little hormone.
How common are thyroid disorders?
According to the American Thyroid Association, an estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. However, up to 60% of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition.
What are common thyroid disorders?
- Hyperthyroidism: the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone
- Hypothyroidism: the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone
- Hoshimoto’s Disease: an autoimmune disease where antibodies attack thyroid cells
- Graves’ Disease: an autoimmune disease that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones
- Goiter: an irregular growth of the thyroid gland
- Thyroid Cancer: a cancer that starts in the thyroid gland
How are thyroid disorders found?
- Blood tests
- Imaging tests
- Physical exams
What testing can be used to diagnose thyroid disorders?
- Computerized Tomography (CT)
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Nuclear scan/radioactive iodine uptake
What are some signs that you need to speak to your doctor about your thyroid?
- Significant weight change in a short period of time
- Extreme change in appearance like face and neck swelling, brittle hair and nails and irritated skin
- Always feeling tired and drained
- Always feeling too hot or too cold, never comfortable
- Skipped menstrual cycles, but not pregnant
You have options when it comes to your health care decisions. Being educated on your options is one way that you can make informed decisions. If you and your doctor opt for imaging to diagnose or treat thyroid issues, have them refer you to Delaney Radiology. Our team of compassionate and knowledgeable staff will ensure that your imaging is done accurately and with the utmost quality of care.