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Thyroid Disorder Awareness: Unmasking Your Thyroid

Thyroid gland is among the organs that has a major role in our system? It provides the thyroid hormones our body needs. If we don’t take care of it, it could possibly lead to a dangerous thyroid problem.

Thyroid Disorder Awareness: Unmasking Your Thyroid

According to a study by the Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism in 2012, one in 11 Filipino adults has goiter, and around one in 12 Filipino adults suffers from some form of thyroid disorders. Awareness of thyroid disorder is very low despite of the fact that millions of Filipinos are affected with it. This is because the symptoms of thyroid disorders are often mistaken for other diseases, or worse, are ignored by patients. With that, many suffer from serious thyroid problem.

To raise awareness of thyroid disorder, Merck Inc. held a bloggers’ event last September 29, 2016 at the Radisson Blu Hotel. Hosted by Dr. Chrysanthus Herrera of Medical Science and Government Affairs Manager of Merck, the night indeed raised awareness about this disease. Guest speaker Dr. April Melody Abcede of the Philippine Society Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, gave an informative talk on what the thyroid is, as well as the symptoms of thyroid diseases.

Thyroid Disorder Awareness: Unmasking Your Thyroid

Thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped organ found at the lower middle part of the neck. It is sometimes referred to as the “master controller” of metabolism, and is important to health and well-being. The thyroid creates, stores, and releases thyroid hormones into the blood. Thyroid hormones that are produced by our thyroid gland are very much important to the normal function of our body, and affect everything from the brain to our other organs. According to Dr. Abcede, these hormones should be balanced; it shouldn’t go down to its normal level or up. If this go beyond the normal level or perhaps, it goes down the normal level, it could lead to having either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. It could happen to anyone but mostly women. Pregnant women aren’t free from this. In fact, they are more prone to having thyroid disorder.

What are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism?

Thyroid Disorder Awareness: Unmasking Your Thyroid

1. Hypothyroidism

Too little thyroid hormone. Having this tends to have slower metabolism. Patients diagnosed with this gain weight despite not eating much, move, and speak slowly, feel tired and have depresses thoughts, cannot tolerate cold, and have irregular menstrual periods.

If you are showing any of the signs plus you have a family history of thyroid disorder, you would need to undergo a blood test to ensure if you really have this disorder. This is to check the levels of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), and thyroid hormone levels in the blood (T3 and T4). Your TSH levels will be high and T3 and T4 will be low in hypothyroidism.

Patients are advised to eat foods rich in iodine. They are advised to use iodized salt than the ordinary salt that can be bought in the market.

Contrary to hypothyroidism, patients with hyperthyroidism have too much thyroid hormone. Signs and symptoms of having this disorder includes hyperactive metabolism. They lose weight despite having good appetite, have heart palpitations most of the time, irritable thoughts and insomnia, have sweating and heat intolerance, and can have tremors in their hands.

Signs alone can’t confirm if a patient has it. It would require a screening test too just like how hypothyroidism gets detected. You will need blood tests too, which includes checking Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and thyroid hormone levels in the blood (T3 and T4). You will have low TSH and high T3 and T4 if you are hyperthyroid.

Patients diagnosed with hyperthyroidism get treated in different ways depending on their age and other factors. Thence, it is really essential to undergo evaluation for one to know how to treat their disorder in case they are positive to having it.

Goiter / Thyroid Nodule / Thyroid Cancer

Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are changes of the level of thyroid hormones. Goiter, thyroid nodule, and thyroid cancer are still thyroid problems yet changes happen physically.

Thyroid Disorder Awareness: Unmasking Your Thyroid

Goiters are most commonly caused by iodine deficiency. When there is not enough iodine in the diet, the thyroid tries to compensate by enlarging. Other diseases, such as Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can also cause goiter.

Thyroid nodules occur when there are abnormal growths of thyroid tissue. There may be a single nodule, or multiple nodules. These can produce thyroid hormone (toxic nodules). Sometimes, these growths may be malignant (thyroid cancer).

Thyroid cancer is rare compared to other cancers, but is considered very treatable and usually has high survival rates.

How Thyroid Disorder Affects Pregnancy?

Thyroid Disorder Awareness: Unmasking Your Thyroid

Pregnant women should be wary of thyroid disorder as it is estimated that around one in 20 pregnant women will develop an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) during pregnancy. Most women don’t know they have it due to the sudden mood swings and body changes happen to them is similar to the changes the body gets during the pregnancy.

If you get to experience the symptoms plus you also have a family history of thyroid disorder, it is best to undergo screening. In this way, proper treatment will be given and serious problem can be avoided then.

More information can be found online at www.thyroid.ph. This is an online repository of information where people can learn more about thyroid disorders. It also contains useful guides which can help people check themselves for symptoms of thyroid disorders.

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.

The Blue Ink

Dhadha Garcia is a lifestyle blogger from Bacolod, PH. She is a mompreneur, a full-time blogger, and a content creator. She started blogging in 2007 and became one of the pioneers of the Negrense Blogging Society, Inc. (NBSI) in 2009, where she has received several awards and nominations for her blogs. She also writes at www.twenteenmom.com and www.classysweets.com.

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