While lymph nodes are located throughout your entire body, many in your neck are related to your thyroid. The thyroid is responsible for secreting hormones that regulate growth and development. According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, at least 30 million Americans suffer from thyroid and lymph node conditions –– and about half are undiagnosed.
It’s important to have your thyroid evaluated if you’re exhibiting any of the following signs or symptoms:
- Lack of sex drive
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Thinning hair
- Dry skin
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
Diagnosing thyroid conditions
A series of blood tests that examine specific hormone levels can be conducted to measure how well the thyroid is working. These include:
- Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)
- Thyroxine (T4)
- Free thyroxine (Free T4)
- Triiodothyronine (T3)
There are also many imaging tests that can help measure thyroid function, including:
- Radioactive Iodine Uptake (RIU) or nuclear scan
- CT scan
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Thyroid Ultrasound
Types of thyroid conditions that can be detected
Some of the most common thyroid conditions include:
- Thyroid nodules – Lumps in the thyroid gland
- Hypothyroidism – Occurs when the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones
- Hyperthyroidism – Occurs when the thyroid gland produces too many thyroid hormones
- Goiter – Enlargement of the thyroid gland
- Thyroiditis – Inflammation of the thyroid gland
- Thyroid cancer
If cancer is suspected, a thyroid biopsy or aspiration test is required. A needle biopsy, also called fine needle aspiration (FNA) is used to extract the cells and liquid from the lump or swollen lymph node. These cells are then evaluated for cancer.
Many thyroid conditions can be treated with medication. Symptoms will usually begin to improve in about six weeks and disappear within a few months of taking the medication.
If you have any concerns about your thyroid or lymph nodes, call Alaska Family Sonograms, Inc. at (907) 885-0390 for a reliable thyroid ultrasound performed by an experienced ultrasound technician.