January is Thyroid Awareness Month – a perfect time to learn about this small but mighty gland situated in the front of the neck. It plays a critical role in many bodily functions like breathing, digestion, heart rate, and temperature. When the organ is not creating the right amount of hormones, it can cause a range of seemingly unrelated issues like sudden weight fluctuations, low energy, and mood swings.

Around 1 in 20 Americans 12 and older have an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), and fewer people – roughly 1 in 100 – have an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). Women and people over 60 are most likely to suffer from a thyroid disorder. It can also be inherited, or caused by an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks its own cells.

Thyroid problems are difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms may be similar to those of other conditions. To determine if the thyroid is causing the issue, a blood test can be performed. You can get screened for thyroid issues at all AHF local health fairs for $35. Please see health fair schedule here.

If a person has an underactive thyroid, artificial hormones can be used to treat it. An overactive thyroid usually requires medication to reduce the hormone levels. During pregnancy, the mother and baby’s health can be impacted by thyroid hormones, so care must be taken to monitor levels and adjust them if needed. After childbirth, some women may have abnormal thyroid levels for up to a year.

The thyroid gland can also be affected by cancer. Thyroid cancer usually has no symptoms and is sometimes first noticed as a lump in the neck—although such bumps are more likely to be harmless nodules. If a nodule is suspected to be cancerous, a doctor can determine this by removing and examining a tiny piece of it. If it shows signs of cancer, the nodule or even the entire thyroid will be removed.

If you are experiencing signs of thyroid disease, speak with a healthcare provider. They can help you decide if further testing or treatment is necessary. An early diagnosis can give you the best chance of successful treatment.


For all you poetry aficionados out there, we‘ve got something special for you this Thyroid Awareness Month. We bring you a poem that captures the importance of this small but mighty gland and all that it entails. Read on and learn more about the thyroid and how to take care of it, in poem form!

Thyroid Awareness Month has come,
‘Tis time to learn about this small but mighty one 
Located in the neck, butterfly-shaped and neat,
It plays an important role, our bodies it must treat

It helps with breathing, digestion, heart rate and more;
When it’s not producing the right hormones, we feel a certain sore
Weight changes, fatigue, and mood swings, too;
These symptoms can be caused by a thyroid that’s askew

One in twenty Americans, twelve and older, have hypothyroidism,
And one in one hundred have hyperthyroidism
Women, those over sixty and those with family history have a higher risk;
But with a simple blood test and a health fair, you can easily be dismissed

Artificial hormones can help the underactive,
And for the overactive, medication to reduce the hormone levels,
For those pregnant, special care must be taken,
To monitor and adjust thyroid levels, so that the mother and baby aren’t shaken

Thyroid cancer is a possibility,
But a lump in the neck can easily be biopsied
If it’s cancerous, it must be removed;
And remember, early diagnosis can give you the best chance at being improved.

Submitted by AHF Team

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Get Affordable, Comprehensive Blood Tests at AHF Health Fairs

Thousands of Alaskans take advantage of AHF‘s affordable blood tests each year. We offer this service in partnership with a topranking clinical laboratory used by local providers, and offered through AHF at nonprofit pricing.

  • 27 panels – Comprehensive Blood Chemistry Screen – covers infection, anemia, liver disease, clotting ability, kidney and adrenal function, liver function, bone disease, tissue disease or damage, heart function, liver function, muscle function, coronary heart disease, & more – $45
  • Thyroid Screen – $35
  • Prostate Disease Screen – $25
  • Vitamin D Screen – $50
  • A1C diabetes – $25
  • Blood Typing – $20
  • More tests and details on our website, www.alaskahealthfair.org.

People with diabetes should not fast. Check with your medical provider for specific recommendations. You are encouraged to drinkplenty of water and continue to take prescription medications. Credit cards, cash, and checks are accepted, and results are maileddirectly to you within 3 weeks. View detailed test descriptions.

About Alaska Health Fair, Inc. 

Alaska Health Fair has been a trusted resource for the Alaska community since 1980. Our unique event model allows attendees to access free health education, free health screenings, and private, comprehensive, affordable blood tests. Every year, thousands of Alaskans attend our events in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and many other communities throughout the state. Come and join us to learn about the health and wellness resources available in your community; make attending Alaska Health Fair a family tradition!