Test Your Thyroid Knowledge
When it comes to your thyroid, do you know where it is, much less what it does? The thyroid is an oft-forgotten gland located just beneath your larynx. If you don’t have thyroid problems, there’s little chance that you know the facts about this small, hormone-producing gland. Because everyone is at risk for developing thyroid conditions, it’s important that you understand a few key facts. Test your current thyroid knowledge with this brief quiz:
1. Is the TSH test the most reliable means of diagnosing a thyroid problem?
If you had asked a medical professional this question a decade ago, the answer would have been yes. If you ask a physician the same question today, the answer varies widely. Many new physicians, and thyroid experts like David Derry, MD, Ph.D., would like to see the TSH scrapped. Says Dr. Joseph Mercola, “…90 percent of the patients that I diagnose with underactive thyroids have a completely normal TSH level.” A better way to diagnose thyroid conditions is through a physical exam and patient symptom history.
2.True or False: Elderly women are the only people prone to developing thyroid problems
False. While it’s true that a woman has a 1 in 5 chance of developing thyroid problems by the age of 60, young women and men of any age also develop thyroid conditions. For women in their late 30’s, the risk of developing thyroid problems increases as hormone levels change. In both women and men, the symptoms of thyroid problems are similar: fatigue, depression, hair loss, weight changes, and changes in the skin.
3. How much weight do people tend to gain when they are hypothyroid?
There is no hard and fast answer to this question. How much weight you gain with hypothyroidism depends on several factors, including gender, age, lifestyle, metabolism, genetics, and other metabolic changes. For some people, the weight gained may amount to just a few pounds; for others, the weight gained can equal 40 pounds or more. No matter how much weight you’ve gained, if you can’t explain why you’re packing on the pounds, you may want to talk to your doctor about possible problems with your thyroid.
4. Thyroid disease is easily recognized by an enlarged thyroid (goiter).
While an enlarged thyroid is a good indicator of an underlying thyroid condition, the majority of thyroid patients will never have an enlarged gland. Commonly called goiters, enlarged thyroids occur in the minority of thyroid patients. Don’t rely on the size of your thyroid to tell you that you have a problem.
5. If you feel a lump on your thyroid, is it cancerous?
Not necessarily. In fact, only five percent of nodules on the thyroid is cancerous. It’s not to say that you shouldn’t alert your physician to the fact that you have a nodule on your thyroid. If you feel something suspicious, your doctor can perform various diagnostic procedures to determine whether or not you have one of the rare thyroid cancers.
How did you do? If you didn’t score well, you aren’t alone. Many people don’t consider their thyroids unless they develop some type of problem. Now that you’ve gotten a few of the facts, get more. Thyroid problems can wreak havoc on your general health; early diagnosis is often the key to relief.