Unmasking Thyroid Disease

by - September 26, 2016

Last April 2016, a bill declaring every fourth week of September as National Thyroid Cancer Awareness Week was passed in the Congress. The government has realized that Filipinos should be more aware of thyroid as a potentially curable disease.

According to a study made 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.

In another study, it show that Thyroid cancer is the seventh most common cancer in the Philippines, ranking fourth among females and 17th among males.

Should we be alarmed by this? Even though thyroid cancer is one of the disease that is potentially curable, detecting it late can make it spread to other parts of the body and can lead to poor quality of life and even death. So it is better for everyone concerned to avail of an early screening and detection, in this way, early detection can lead to early surgery and treatment and of course a potential cure.

So basically what is thyroid disease?

Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck—below and behind your Adam's apple. A healthy thyroid typically weighs about one ounce. The thyroid's function is to produce thyroid hormone which is essential for all your body's functions.

Your thyroid gland is the main organ in the body that can absorb iodine. The thyroid takes iodine from your diet and converts it into thyroid hormones.

Everything in your body relies on thyroid hormone—including digestion, the growth of your hair and nails, your sex drive, and the function of your organs and glands. Your brain, heart, and metabolism are especially dependent on the right levels of thyroid hormone to function properly and well.

The thyroid operates in a feedback loop with your pituitary gland.

During the bloggers event on Unmasking your Thyroid last September 21 held at the Holiday Inn Suites Makati, Dr. Nemencio Nicodemus, Jr., who is the President of the Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, as well as a Professor in the UP College of Medicine and the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health, held an informative talk on what the thyroid is, as well as the symptoms of thyroid disease.

It is said that millions of Filipinos are affected by problems with their thyroid, yet awareness of this disease is very low. The symptoms of thyroid disorders are often mistaken for other diseases, or worse, are ignored by patients with the disease.

Thyroid had different conditions such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism and each have various signs and symptoms.

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, or too much 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.

On the other hand, there lots 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.

To know more about thyroid disease, more information can be found online in the website www.thyroid.ph. This is an online repository of information where people can learn more about thyroid disorders. The website also contains useful guides which can help people check themselves for symptoms of thyroid disorders, such as goiter, hyperthyroidism, or hypothyroidism.

The talk about thyroid is brought to us by Merck. 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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