A Quick Thyroid Check & Other Party Tricks

March 18th, 2010

I’m a mutant. No, I really mean it. I was born with only half a thyroid. That’s like being born with one kidney. It’s a great icebreaker at parties. Hi, I have half a thyroid.

Apparently, my little half is working doubletime, and I’m lucky to not have any problems with it so far. It’s still producing enough of the thyroid hormone that runs my metabolism. But thyroids are tricky things. As you get older, they can slow down. At least 13 million people suffer from this problem, called hypothyroidism, which can cause fatigue, weight gain or difficulty losing weight, dry skin, hair loss,
decreased libido and depression. All of which also make you fun at parties.

If your scale won’t budge and you’re actually gaining weight, or if you’re losing rapidly, your thyroid might not be working well or working too much (hyperthyroidism). Here’s a quick thyroid self-check to see if your next call should be to the doctor.

  1. Hold a mirror so that you can see the area of your neck just below your Adam’s apple and right above your collarbone.
  2. Tilt your head back, while keeping this view of your neck and thyroid area in your mirror. Take a drink of water and swallow.
  3. As you swallow, look at your neck. Watch carefully for any bulges, enlargement or protrusions in this area.
  4. Repeat this process several times. If you see anything that appears unusual, see your doctor right away. You may have an enlarged thyroid or a thyroid nodule and your thyroid should be evaluated.

And, in the meantime, you may call me a freak. I’ve been called worse. Usually behind my back at parties.

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2 Responses to “A Quick Thyroid Check & Other Party Tricks”

  1. Perri says:

    Hi Cheryl – My mom has Hypothyroidism – which the doctors actually incorrectly diagnosed as Cancer over 20 years ago – so I get my thyroid levels checked each year at my annual physical. I guess it’s hereditary. Just FYI. Again, love your articles.

  2. I’m glad your halff a thyroid is doing the work of a whole one and keeping your metabolism normal. A nurse friend of mine recently recommended that I have my thyroid checked because I lost a lot of weight (138 lbs) over the past year and a half (I needed to), and she said that can sometimes adversely effect the thyroid.

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