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January is Thyroid Awareness Month. 

The thyroid, a small gland located in the neck, influences many of your body’s vital organs, including your heart, brain, liver, and skin, by producing hormones to help them operate. Thyroid disease happens when too much or too little of the hormone is produced. The disease can cause your body’s regular functions to speed up or slow down, which can have negative effects including weight gain, feelings of anxiety and swelling in the neck.

The two types of thyroid disease are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism refers to an overactive thyroid gland, which produces too much thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces less than the normal amount of thyroid hormone, resulting in a decrease of many bodily functions. There are many tests and treatments to determine if you have a thyroid condition. Treatment for hyperthyroidism usually includes prescription drugs, radioactive iodine therapy and/or surgery. Hypothyroidism is generally treated most effectively with a prescription thyroid replacement hormone.

If you’ve experienced any pain in your neck while swallowing or notice any swelling or protrusions near your collarbone, contact your physician about a thyroid evaluation. For more information, please click here

Take Action

As we continue to raise awareness for the health of your thyroid, it’s important to make a plan for yourself. Use this action plan to track your weekly progress as you establish your healthier lifestyle.

Week 1 (12/30/18-1/5)  – Create a wellness plan What do you want to improve this month? Set a short-term health goal and a plan for achieving it.

Week 2 (1/6-1/12)  – Get started Are you ready? Begin your plan and stick to it.

Week 3 (1/13-1/19) – Look for improvement How are you doing? Think about what’s working with your plan and if you need to adjust it.

Week 4 (1/20-1/26) – Keep going Are the adjustments helping? Continue with your revised plan and finish the month strong.

Week 5 (1/27-2/2)  – Reflect Did you reach your goal? Consider what worked with the plan and what should change next month.