January is officially thyroid awareness month. It’s a great time to focus on this vital gland in your body. Many people don’t think of their thyroid until something goes wrong and they have to have tests. However, keeping your thyroid healthy all year should be one goal that you keep in mind.
We’re going to help you with this goal and give you tips to help you keep your thyroid functioning at the best possible level. In turn, this can help you stay healthy throughout 2019. We’ve compiled a list of the top five things that you need to know about your thyroid. We’re also going to talk about what you may want to do if you find a lump or bump in, on, or around this gland.
Five Things You Need to Know About Your Thyroid
1. The Basics
Do you know what your thyroid is, where it is, and what it does? You’re not alone if you answered with a no. Your thyroid gland is shaped a little like a butterfly. You can find this gland toward the front of your neck in the lower portion. You can’t feel or see this gland if it’s healthy and functioning like it should be. It’s usually a good indicator that something is wrong if you can feel it or even see it when you look.
This small gland plays a huge role in helping regulate several systems in your body. It helps with hormone production as well as linking directly to your nervous system, menstrual cycle, body weight, cholesterol levels, muscle strength, and your heart rate and breathing.
2. Your Thyroid Needs a Constant Supply of Iodine to Function Properly
Your thyroid gland loves iodine. You have to have enough in your body to help support a healthy thyroid function because your thyroid uses iodine to help produce hormones. These hormones are vital because they help to regulate your organs. Unfortunately, your body doesn’t produce iodine by itself.
You have to get your needed iodine by eating foods that contain good levels of it. You can get iodine from bread and table salt in the United States. These foods were originally specially formulated with iodine in 1924 to combat the wave of iodine deficiency found all over the United States. Not having enough iodine in your diet can lead to a condition called Hypothyroidism. Your thyroid won’t get enough iodine to produce the hormones your body needs to function.
3. Thyroid Disease is Common
Did you know that roughly 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease? There are even more people who don’t have any idea that there is a problem with their thyroid. You can have Hypothyroidism or Hyperthyroidism. Both are a result of an improperly functioning thyroid gland. However, they mean very different things.
Hypothyroidism is a condition where your gland isn’t producing enough hormones to cover needed hormone production adequately. Hyperthyroidism is a condition where your gland is producing too many hormones for your body to handle. Common signs of Hyperthyroidism include things like trouble sleeping, losing weight, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and feeling too warm. On the other hand, symptoms of Hypothyroidism include feeling cold, lethargy, dry skin, slow heartbeat, constipation, and unexplained weight gain.
4. You Can Encourage Thyroid Health by Diet
There are things that you can do to promote good thyroid health even though the exact causes of thyroid issues is unknown. Your diet plays an essential part when it comes to keeping your gland working at optimal levels.
You may want to cut down on heavily processed foods and gluten to start. Once you do this, you can start adding foods to your diet that promote good health. These foods include things like seaweed, nuts, fish, whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and spices like Turmeric. As always, you want to add everything in moderation to get a balanced and healthy diet.
5. You Can Live Without Your Thyroid
Did you know that you can live without your thyroid? This is true although this gland is responsible for so many vital functions in your body. Cancer in your thyroid is one instance where your doctor may decide to remove it.
It’s important to note that you will have to take a pill each day for the rest of your life that essentially replaces your thyroid’s function. This is usually the last resort for people who have issues with their thyroid. Also, you want to try alternative treatments or get a second option with an FNA specialist first.
Thyroid Testing with Fine Needle Aspiration
Many people who find lumps on or around their thyroid choose to see a reputable FNA doctor LA to help with testing. Fine needle aspiration is a popular testing method because it’s minimally invasive, there is a very short recovery time, and it’s precise. It’s a very reliable way of finding out if your lumps are cancerous or benign.
This is an outpatient procedure where the FNA specialist uses an ultrasound to pinpoint where the lumps are. They’ll mark the area and insert a very thin needle to collect the sample. These samples go to a laboratory for testing. You usually get the results within a few days. It can be as short as up to 48 hours after the procedure.
Benefits of Fine Needle Aspiration
Several advantages come with getting this type of biopsy. We’ve highlighted the biggest reasons why people decide on having this procedure. They include but are not limited too:
• Minimally invasive
• Outpatient procedure
• Comes with pinpoint accuracy
• Very little or no downtime
• Quick results
Lumps around or on your thyroid can be a scary time. It’s immensely important that you have a reputable FNA specialist. If you’re experiencing a lump on your thyroid, you should talk to your doctor about an FNA. This can help you get the answers you need, and you can contact us today to schedule your appointment.