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Thyroid Disease: How to Perform a Thyroid Neck Self-Exam

From the Show: HER
Summary: Around 200 million people worldwide, 59 million Americans, suffer from some form of thyroid condition.
Air Date: 1/29/15
Duration: 10
Host: Michelle King Robson and Pamela Peeke, MD
Guest Bio: Marita Teng, MD
DrTengDr. Marita Teng received her medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine, after which she completed residency training at Mount Sinai, and advanced fellowship training in Head and Neck Cancer & Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle.

A diplomat of the American Board of Otolarygology and an active member of the American Head & Neck Society, Dr. Teng is an expert in head and neck surgical oncology, reconstructive surgery of the head and neck, and salivary gland diseases and tumors.

Her clinical interests include squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, microvascular reconstructive surgery, and thyroid and parathyroid diseases, and robotic surgery. She also has a particular focus in minimally invasive salivary gland treatment, including sialendoscopy.

Dr. Teng is the residency program director for the Department of Otolaryngology, which is one of the top training programs in the country. She has a vested interest in the training of future physicians in the field, and is active in national organizations focused on maximizing the quality of surgical education.
Thyroid Disease: How to Perform a Thyroid Neck Self-Exam
Even though you might be feeling chronically tired, notice a change in your mood, experience weight gain or weight loss, or if you're always cold, you may think you're just in a funk or coming down with something. However, these symptoms are also associated with a thyroid issue, and if left undiagnosed and untreated, can lead to conditions such depression, tremors, muscle weakness, and other serious health issues.

According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, more than 30 million Americans suffer from some type of thyroid disorder, but majority of people are unaware and undiagnosed.

How can you preform a thyroid neck self-exam?

How to Perform a Thyroid Neck Self-Exam:
  • Use a mirror and focus on the lower middle area of your neck, above the collarbones, and below the Adam's apple (larynx). Your thyroid gland is located in this area of your neck.
  •  While focusing on this area in the mirror, tip your head back.
  •  Take a drink of water and swallow.
  •  As you swallow, look at your neck. Check for any bulges or protrusions in this area when you swallow. Reminder: 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. You may want to repeat this process several times.
  • If you DO see any bulges or protrusions in this area, see your physician. You may have an enlarged thyroid gland or a thyroid nodule and should be checked to determine whether cancer is present or if treatment for thyroid disease is needed.
Dr. Marita Teng explains the symptoms of common thyroid disorders, the hidden risks if left undiagnosed and untreated, and how to preform a self-exam.
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