Thyroid disease is relatively common, affecting about 40 percent of Americans. The thyroid, a small gland in the front of the neck just below the ‘adam’s apple’, is important in supporting bodily functions that maintain life and growth. Thyroid conditions cause the thyroid gland to either under-function, or over-function. Unlike many conditions, which require blood tests to identify whether an organ is working correctly, you can do preliminary thyroid testing in your own home.
Why might you want to test your thyroid function? Malfunction of the thyroid can cause many disturbances in the body, which may be gradual and subtle and not immediately picked up by a medical practitioner. For example, overweight, constipation, thin hair, anemia, heart failure or dementia can all be caused by low thyroid function. (hypothyroidism.)
On the other hand, an over-active thyroid can cause problems with fertility, breathlessness, heart palpitations, insomnia, increased blood sugar,and mental disturbances. These are just a few of the symptoms that can arise from an increased thyroid function (Hyperthyroidism.)
You can find a quiz that will evaluate your risk of the thyroid condition and give you some indication of whether you may have a thyroid problem here.
Do this first, then if it appears that you might have a thyroid condition, test yourself at home using the Barnes Basal Temperature method. First get an oral mercury thermometer, or a digital thermometer, and place it by your bed each night. if you have a mercury thermometer, shake it down as far as it will go. in the morning take your temperature before you get out of bed. The mercury thermometer should be placed so that the bulb is under your tongue and should be left in the mouth for three minutes. A digital thermometer is safer and quicker. It should also be put under the tongue and should remain there for at least 30 seconds or until it beeps.
Record the temperature and repeat for a week. A temperature that is regularly at or below 97.5 degrees Fahrenheit (97.3 Celsius) indicates possible hypothyroidism. A temperature regularly at or above 98.2 degrees Fahrenheit (36.7 celsius) indicates possible hyperthyroidism. However, do not do this test when you have a fever or are mestruating.
If the home test is positive for either hyperthroidism or hypothyroidism, then go to your family doctor (GP) and ask whether you should be tested with medical tests.