THE BRONX - January is national thyroid awareness month, and doctors in the Bronx say the amount of people affected by the disease is astounding.

Doctors at Montefiore Medical Center say around 200 million people around the world are affected. Over the month of January, doctors say they are stressing how key it is to get yourself checked out before any serious health problems occur.

If left unchecked, thyroid problems can lead to depression, muscle weakness and constant fatigue. But they say the good news is individuals can perform self-check tests at home to make sure they are OK.

Doctor Vafa Tabatabaie says if you notice a small bump on the area of your neck, that may be a reason to go to the doctor. Swollen thyroids, she say, are treated with a radioactive iodine pill, which slows the function of the thyroid. 

The purpose of the thyroid, doctors say is to help regulate the body’s metabolism. If damaged, the thyroid can cause rapid weight loss or weight gain. 

They say thyroid cancer is now the fastest growing cancer, and it is important everyone get checked out.