January is the month set aside for thyroid awareness. Typically, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) rolls out a "Thyroid Awareness Month" effort or media campaign each year, to help raise visibility for thyroid symptoms among the general public. For thyroid patients, January is also a good time to make your thyroid-related New Year's resolutions. What resolutions can really make a difference to your health in the new year? Here are some of the most important things you can do to feel and live well in the coming year.

Find the Right Doctor

Having the right doctor -- one who is your partner -- is fundamental to your thyroid health. There are definitely times when thyroid patients need to see an endocrinologist, or a thyroid surgeon, and other times when a holistic or integrative physician may be a good choice. Learn more about some guidelines to help decide on a particular type of practitioner for thyroid care, in Deciding on Practitioners for Your Thyroid Care.

I frequently hear from thyroid patients who wonder what type of doctor to see for thyroid conditions, or who complain that their doctors don't understand how to diagnose and treat their thyroid conditions. I wish I had a solution, and could recommend just the right practitioner -- one with the perfect mix of skills and expertise -- for each patient. But the reality is, many of us have to be our own advocates, and figure out on our own which direction to go to find the right doctor.

Get the Right Tests

Many thyroid patients struggle to feel well, and yet their doctors only test thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH.) Resolve to get a full thyroid panel this year -- including TSH, Free T4, Free T3, and thyroid antibodies to start. And if you've never had Reverse T3 tested, it can be an important part of treatment, so make sure you look into it with your practitioner.


Get on the Right Thyroid Medications

Making sure you're on the right thyroid medications should be a top priority for all thyroid patients. One key is knowing your options. If you're not familiar with them, read my article: Prescription Thyroid Hormone Replacement Drugs. And if you're on levothyroxine drugs, and still not feeling well, it may be the year to consider T3 or natural desiccated thyroid. To learn more, read Do You Need T3 or Natural Desiccated Thyroid?


Get Support - And Give It

Getting and giving support -- whether online or in person -- can really make a difference in how you cope with thyroid disease. Support group members can provide doctor recommendations, ideas on new approaches, or emotional support when you need it.

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