What Should I Care About My Thyroid?
Your thyroid is a bow-tie shaped endocrine gland located just below your larynx in your neck. It weighs less than one ounce and the hormones that it excretes are essential to every cell and organ in your body. The hormones that the thyroid produces help to keep body temperature regulated and make energy.
Grading Of Goiters (using the Kilpatrik scale). There are 5 grades of goiters. They are based on the ability to see the goiter or the ability to palpate it.
1. Grade 0 - The goiter is not visible with the next extended and it is not palpable.
2. Grade 1 - the goiter is not visible but it palpable.
3. Grade 2 - the goiter is visible when the next is extended and when you are swallowing.
4. Grade 3 - the goiter is visible in all positions.
5. Grade 4 - a large goiter
Who Gets Thyroid Disease? Risk Factors.
It is estimated that 10% of Americans have a thyroid disease. Many people do not know they have this disease. You may be one of them. The following are risk factors are thyroid disease.
o And women are 6 to 8 times more likely to it than men.
o Being over the age of 50
o A previous history of any autoimmune disease
o You have a family history of thyroid disease
o Any surgery in the neck area
o The risk of any autoimmune disease increases during pregnancy and for the first year postpartum.
o Smoking increases your risk.
o Excess (or deficiency) iodine intake
o Some medications, herbs, and drugs
o Some foods (broccoli, turnips, radishes and others)
o Radiation to the neck area (can include treatment for cancers or accidental exposure like to Chernobyl in 1986).
The Proper Way To Take Your Thyroid Medications
1. Always take your thyroid medications on an empty stomach.
2. You will take these pills for the rest of your life, so do not allow yourself to run out. Fill your prescription early.
3. Take it the same time every day.
4. Store your pills in the original bottle and keep it tightly closed.
5. Store your pills in a cooler place (less than 80 degree Fahrenheit).
6. Never store your pills in the bathroom or kitchen. Both areas are too damp and warm. The best place to store them is in your bedroom.
7. Keep your medications out of the reach of children.
8. Never take your pill with milk or soy milk.
9. Never try to take your pill without a liquid (water is probably best). Drink at least 8 oz. of fluid with your pill. These pills have a tendency to stick in your throat with insufficient fluid.
10. If you have trouble swallowing your pill you can crush it and eat with a very small amount of applesauce.
11. Another option if you have trouble swallowing your pill is to chew your pill. Thyroid pills have very little flavor.
12. Many other prescription medications interfere with the absorption of your thyroid medications. Always take your thyroid medication at least four hours either before or after any other prescription medication. (this includes multi-vitamin and minerals and pre-natal vitamins.)
Call Your Doctor If
If you are taking a thyroid medicine you should know when to call your doctor. It is important to know the signs/symptoms that are important.
Call your doctor if:
1. You develop confusion.
2. Your heart is beating too fast, too hard, or feels like it is skipping a beat.
3. You have shortness of breath
4. You feel that your blood sugar is too low (shakiness, tiredness, or sweating)
5. You lose weight without trying
6. You have diarrhea unrelieved by anti-diarrhea medication
7. You have nausea unrelieved by anti-nausea medication.