A few years ago, I started feeling poorly, I had tremors, I was losing weight fast, I could’t sleep and I had a very short temper, to the point that I would have outburst in front or targeted to my children. It was very scary. I have an aversion to hospitals perhaps because as a young child I was confined for days at a hospital where doctors made fun of the chatty 5 years old, that is a story for another day. I finally found the courage to go to an EENT and he discovered that I had hyperthyroidism. The first few days of not knowing what was going on with my body and personality was scary but I am glad I now know what is going on.
In time for the International Thyroid Awareness Week (ITAW) 2017, leading science and healthcare innovation company Merck, joined forces with the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Thyroid Association (PTA), Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism (PSEDM), and the Iodine Global Network (IGN), to raise consciousness against thyroid disorders.
You and your thyroid
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that sits in at the lower front of the neck. It plays a key role in one’s overall health and well-being by producing thyroid hormones that help keep the body use energy, stay warm, and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs in tip-top condition.
Thyroid disorders are some of the most common diseases worldwide. In the Philippines, one in every 11 adults suffers from goiter or other thyroid disorders.
Thyroid problems are more common in women. Figures show that women are four to seven times more likely to have thyroid disorders than men. They are also at risk of hypothyroidism by 10 times. Moreover, women who recently gave birth and those who are in the menopausal stage are more vulnerable.
But why are thyroid diseases usually left undetected and misdiagnosed? Blame the symptoms. Tiredness, anxiety, weight fluctuations, difficulty in sleeping – these are some of the telling signs of a thyroid problem. Unfortunately, more often than not, people usually attribute these to merely having poor lifestyle choices. This is why the theme of this year’s ITAW is: “It’s Not You, It’s Your Thyroid”.
It’s Not You, It’s Your Thyroid
Since its primary role is to control the metabolism, disorders may occur when there’s little (hypothyroidism) or overproduction (hyperthyroidism) of thyroid hormones.
Patients with hypothyroidism, or too little thyroid hormone, tend to have slower metabolism: they gain weight despite not eating much, move and speak slowly, feel tired and have depressed thoughts, cannot tolerate cold, and have irregular menstrual periods. On the other hand, patients with hyperthyroidism thyroid hormone, will have hyperactive metabolism: they lose weight despite having good appetite, have heart palpitations, irritable thoughts and insomnia, have sweating and heat intolerance, and can have tremors in their hands.
The diagnosis of thyroid disorders can easily be made by checking the levels of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) in the blood. Treatment brings the level of thyroid hormones back in balance, restoring normal metabolism to the body.
I am so glad they are conducting activities like these and bringing doctors closer to people who really need it.
So on Saturday, May 27th if you are in the general area, why don’t you drop by there are a lot of great activities plus you get to a free thyroid screening.
For more information, visit www.thyroidaware.com or follow “Unmasking Your Thyroid” on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thyroidph).
See you all there!
Until next time!