Get Your Neck Checked-January is Thyroid Awareness Month
Courtesy MercyCare Physicians, Linn County LIVING WELL Magazine
As many as 27 million Americans may be affected by thyroid disorders, although more than half remain undiagnosed. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck. Your thyroid gland helps control your body’s metabolism as well as the function of many important organs, including your heart, brain, liver, kidneys and skin.
Making sure your thyroid gland is healthy and functioning properly is extremely important to your overall well-being. Some patients who have an enlarged thyroid gland produce too much or too little thyroid hormone causing a variety of symptoms.
How to check for enlarged thyroid gland:
- Hold a mirror in your hand, focusing on your neck just below the Adam’s apple and immediately above the collarbone. 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.
- While focusing on this area, tip your head back.
- Take a drink of water and as you swallow, watch your neck. Check for any bulges or protrusions in this area while swallowing.
- If you see any bulges or protrusions in this area, see your physician. You should be checked to determine whether cancer is present or if treatment for thyroid disease is needed.
Your doctor will check to make sure your thyroid hormone levels are in balance and may refer you to an endocrinologist. An endocrinologist is a physician who diagnoses and treats patients with hormonal imbalances.
In December 2008, Cedar Rapids welcomed its first board certified physician specializing in endocrinology, Arun K. Movva, M.D. Dr. Movva treats patients with endocrine diseases, including thyroid disorders. His practice (MercyCare Endocrinology) is located at Joslin Diabetes Center, inside the Mercy Health Plaza, 5264 Council St. NE.
Ask your family physician about scheduling an appointment with Dr. Movva to check your thyroid. Remember, if your thyroid gland isn’t working properly, neither will you.
To reach Dr. Movva, or select another one of MercyCare’s doctors, please call 319-369-4444 or visit www.mercycare.org/doctors.