By Ed of Allsup
Oprah Winfrey, pop icon Rod Stewart, songstress Linda Ronstadt and television star Sofia Vergara are among the millions of Americans suffering from thyroid disorders, but at least they’ve been diagnosed.
To raise consciousness of the disorder, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) has declared January as Thyroid Awareness Month. The thyroid is a small gland in the front of the neck, located above the collarbone and below the larynx. Its purpose is to make hormones that control some of your body’s most important organs, including your heart, brain, liver, kidneys and skin.
Symptoms Of Thyroid Problems
Thyroid disorder symptoms include:
- Muscle and joint pain, including carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis
- Neck discomfort, sore throat
- Weight gain or loss without changes to diet and exercise
- Vision problems
- Heart disease
- Hair loss
The AACE offers the following self-exam to determine if you may have undiagnosed thyroid problems. All you need is a handheld mirror and a glass of water.
- Hold the mirror in your hand and focus on the lower front of your neck. Your thyroid gland is located above the collarbone and below the larynx.
- Tip your head back.
- Swallow a drink of water.
- As you swallow, look at your neck and check for any bulges when you swallow. (Don’t confuse with your Adam’s apple.)
- If you do see a bulge, see your physician because you may have an enlarged thyroid gland.
SSDI And Thyroid Disorders
Thyroid disorders, such as hypoparathyroidism (the tiny gland doesn’t produce enough of the hormone thyroxine), and hyperparathyroidism (too much production) may meet a Social Security Administration medical listing for disability, if the criteria are met.
When the disorder is serious enough to keep you from working, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
As with all disabilities, however, you must meet other eligibility requirements and be able to provide complete medical and work histories. Click here for more information on applying for SSDI.