January is Thyroid Awareness Month

January is thyroid awareness month. During this month, Eastern Radiologists would like to remind you to take care of your thyroid to ensure it functions properly. Your thyroid plays a large role in the function of many of your body’s vital organs. If your thyroid isn’t functioning properly, you’re not functioning properly.

Up to 20 million Americans have a thyroid condition — and up to 60 percent of them don’t know it. There are a variety of tests that we offer at Eastern Radiologists that help physicians diagnose thyroid problems in their patients.

Ultrasound is a sound wave that creates a clear image of your thyroid gland. Your physician may advise that you receive an ultrasound if he or she thinks that your thyroid has a cyst or mass on it. An ultrasound can determine whether the cyst or mass is fluid-filled or made of solid tissue; however, it cannot determine if it is cancerous our not. In addition to detecting cysts and masses, an ultrasound can also monitor the success of treatments on the thyroid.

Computerized Tomography (CT) scan utilizes x-rays and advanced computer technology to evaluate the size of the thyroid gland. A healthy, functioning thyroid gland is not typically visible externally. If your thyroid can be seen as a visible lump, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. You may be advised to receive a CT scan if he or she thinks you have an enlarged thyroid, a lump on your thyroid or thyroid nodules. We utilize a state of the art, low dose multi-slice CT scanner which creates much more detailed images for a more accurate diagnosis of your thyroid.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive, quick and accurate way to evaluate the shape and size of your thyroid gland. While an MRI cannot evaluate your thyroid’s functioning, it can detect if you have an enlargement of the neck due to a swollen thyroid. As mentioned previously, a CT scan can also detect the size of your thyroid gland. However, in some instances, your doctor may prescribe an MRI rather than a CT scan due to the fact that an MRI does not require radiation. We offer open wide-bore scanner, which offers a much more comfortable, relaxing experience for our patients.

At Eastern Radiologists, we encourage our patients to take charge of their thyroid health not only in January, but all year long as well. Talk to your doctor today if you think you might be experiencing problems with your thyroid.