LatinaLista — At a time when most people operate in overdrive, it's easy to ignore feeling tired. After all, who isn't tired juggling multiple commitments, tired of stressing out over the job situation or even tired trying to create a good work-life balance?
But when that tired feeling just won't go away, it might be more than just a feeling. It might be a thyroid problem.
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland found just below the Adams' apple. The thyroid produces hormones that influence essentially every organ, tissue and cell in the body. When it's not acting right, it can be a cause for fatigue.
This month is National Thyroid Awareness Month. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists launched a new web site, Thyroid Awareness, to alert more people about the disease. As many as 30 million Americans are affected with the disease but only half ever realize they have it.
When it comes to racial and gender breakdowns of who is most susceptible to getting thyroid disease, women are the big losers compared to men.
In 2005–2006, women were nearly five times more likely than men to report having ever been told by a health professional that they have a thyroid problem (16.4 versus 3.4 percent, respectively)
Latinas are the least likely to get thyroid disease, according to some studies but if ever there is a time when cultural factors play a role in a disease, it might be this one. Most Latinas, speaking anecdotally, are overworked and so feeling overtired is not a new phenomenon — nor is not going to the doctor to check it out.
According to medical experts, thyroid disorders runs in families and it's one of the fastest growing cancers in America and one of the most curable.
In addition to the symptom of feeling tired, there's a neck test to see if there are any obvious signs of thyroid disease.
How to take the Thyroid Neck Check
All you will need is:
A. Glass of water
B. Handheld mirror
1. Hold the mirror in your hand, focusing on the lower front area of your neck, above the collarbones, and below the voice box (larynx). Your thyroid gland is located in this area of your neck.
2. While focusing on this area in the mirror, tip your head back.
3. Take a drink of water and swallow.
4. 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.
5. 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.