Wednesday, June 29, 2016

International Thyroid Awareness Week Celebration + Things To Know About Thyroid Disorders

“Catching Butterflies: Spotting the Symptoms of Thyroid Disorders in Children” is the theme of this years' International Thyroid Awareness Week Celebration which was culminated by Merck Inc. and ETC 2nd Avenue at the Fisher Mall Event center last May 28, 2016. The butterfly theme was chosen to represent the thyroid, which is a butterfly shaped organ found at the base of our necks. 

Little did we know, millions of Filipinos are affected by thyroid disorders, yet very few are aware of them. In a study conducted by the Philippine Society for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism in 2012, it showed that one in 11 Filipino adults has goiter, and around one in 12 Filipino adults suffers from some form of thyroid disease. Around 8 in every 1000 children worldwide are affected by thyroid disease but only a handful get properly diagnosed and treated.

The “Catching Butterflies: Spotting the Symptoms of Thyroid Disorders in Children” event aims to increase the awareness of the thyroid and the disorders that can affect children and adults. This is because if thyroid hormone imbalances are left undiagnosed and untreated, they can have harmful effect on a child’s brain development, growth and physical maturity. The awareness campaign showed that thyroid disorders are treatable with early screening and proper treatment.

During the event, a panel of experts from the Philippines Society for Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism, the Philippine Thyroid Association, and the Iodine Global Network conducted a talk on how to recognize and treat thyroid disorders. They also conducted a Free Doctor's Consultation and Thyroid Screening.

The event was not only educational but also fun-filled, aside from the beautiful decorations there were also many other activities that both children and parents enjoyed together. 

There was as on-the spot art competition.

Butterfly face painting

 Butterfly Cookie Art. Took home some for the kids and they liked it!

There were also butterfly clay art, dance performances, Hypo- Butterfly and Hyper-Butterfly Mascots and so much more. How I wish I brought the kids along, I'm sure they would have loved it! 

ETC 2nd Avenue also had a booth where attendees took their photos on the photo wall, posted it to their social media accounts using the hashtags #thyroidawareness and #wearebraver, have it printed at the booth and instantly win a prize. I participated and won a Flawless Stem cell Cleanser, yey! 

There are a lot of people who may have thyroid disorders, but aren’t even aware until it is too late. It is important to have one’s thyroid checked as early as possible, especially if there is family history of the disease, or during pregnancy. Prevention, proper information and early detection will always be better than cure that comes too late.

Here are some important things you should know about Thyroid Disorders:

1. What is Thyroid? 

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located at the base of the neck. The thyroid produces and stores thyroid hormones, which are essential to the normal development of the body, as well as its normal metabolism and function. Thyroid hormones affect practically all systems of the body, from the brain, to the heart, to the stomach, the reproductive system, etc.

2. What are the difference between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism?
  • Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone. Thus, metabolism is slowed. Patients typically complain of weight gain (even without increasing appetite), cold intolerance, chronic fatigue, sadness/depression, slowed speech patterns, slow heart rate, dry/brittle hair, constipation, and menstrual irregularities.
  • Hyperthyroidism is when there is too much thyroid hormone, and Symptoms are typically opposite that of hypothyroidism. Patients will note weight loss, sweating, insomnia and irritability, fast heart rate and palpitations, hair loss, diarrhea, and menstrual irregularities.
 3. How can thyroid disorders be diagnosed?

Diagnosis is made by a physician based on the results of blood tests- TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and thyroid hormone levels in the blood.

4. How to asses your own Thyroid?

Facing a mirror, lift your chin up and inspect your neck. Swallow, and if you see a mass at the base of the neck moving up and down, you may need to consult your doctor for goiter.

Also be aware of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, so you can consult a doctor when you note you have them.

5. How can hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism be treated?
  • Hypothyroidism is treated with thyroid hormone replacement therapy.
  • Hyperthyroidism is treated with anti-thyroid drugs, which lower the level of thyroid hormones in the body.
6. Should children be screened for Thyroid problems?

Parents should be aware of the symptoms of thyroid disorders so they can bring their child to the doctor. If they notice mood and behavior changes, difficulty learning, and other signs, consult a doctor.
7. Should pregnant women undergo screening for thyroid problems?

It is recommended that women get screened for thyroid disorders if:
  • previous history of thyroid disorders, thyroid surgery
  • above 30
  • family history of thyroid disorders
  • previous history of pregnancy loss or difficulty getting pregnant
  • living in iodine deficiency areas
8. How can Thyroid disorders affect pregnant women and the unborn baby?

Thyroid disorders, if untreated, can lead to negative outcomes for the mother and child. Conditions like eclampsia and placenta previa can occur. Furthermore, the child might have developmental abnormalities, especially with mental and cognitive abilities. Children with mothers who are iodine deficient or hypothyroid can have lower IQs.
Ask your doctor about thyroid screening if you are pregnant.

9. What type of foods are good for the Thyroid?

People are encouraged to take iodized salt, to avoid iodine deficiency, the most common cause of goiter.

10. Is Thyroid Disorder hereditary?

There is a hereditary component to thyroid problems. If you have a relative who has thyroid disorders, you should regularly have yourself checked.

The event is organized by Merck Inc. in collaboration with ETC 2nd Avenue for the International Thyroid Awareness Week Celebration

Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company with headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany. Merck is a leading science and technology company that works to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions.

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