It’s only the size of your thumb, but your thyroid controls three main aspects of your life – your waistline, your mood and your energy level. Located between the voice box and the collar bone, and wrapped around your windpipe, your thyroid helps to control your energy levels. The gland, shaped like a butterfly, pumps out a hormone that regulates both your metabolism and body temperature. It also works with nearly every system in your body to help keep you on your toes – both mentally and physically. But, thyroid disorders are on the rise and of the 25 million Americans with thyroid disorders, the majority is female.
Fortunately, we can check ourselves to make sure that our thyroid is the proper size, as an enlarged thyroid may mean that you are producing too much or too little hormone. You should do this self-test once every two months:
1. Hold a mirror in front of you and focus your gaze on the lower front area of your neck, right above your collarbone.
2. Tilt your head back, moving the mirror along with you.
3. Take a medium-size sip of water.
4. As you swallow, watch your thyroid area, checking for any unusual bulges or protrusions. (Note: Don’t confuse your thyroid with your Adam’s apple, which is farther up.)
5. If you see anything suspicious, go to your doctor.