June 7, 2017

International Thyroid Awareness Week 2017

International Thyroid Awareness Week, (ITAW) an international information campaign on social media and awareness events in various countries was recently culminated with the theme “It’s not you. It‘s your thyroid”. The event was held at the Trade Hall, Robinson’s Novaliches, Quezon City, May 27, 2017.

ITAW 2017 highlighting the similarities between the symptoms of thyroid disorders and the effects of today’s fast-paced lifestyles, and the tendency for people to blame themselves for the symptoms of the condition through the ‘It’s not you. It’s your Thyroid’ campaign.

To help raise awareness of thyroid disorders, Merck help to ensure that people have the information they need to recognize potential thyroid disorders and see their doctor, rather than blame themselves and accept how they’re feeling.

The International Thyroid Awareness Week is focusing on a small organ.

This little organ regulates processes that are essential to survival. Creating and raising awareness of thyroid disorders is the aim of ITAW.

The human thyroid gland weighs between 18 and 60 grams — hardly more than a letter — but it regulates metabolic processes that are essential to survival. If it is not functioning correctly, the body’s metabolic balance is disturbed. This has serious consequences for our health and our sense of well-being. However, there are many things we can do to prevent that from happening.

Participants were given basic information on the function and importance of the thyroid gland, as well as thyroid disorders (hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism) and their symptoms.

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located at the base of the neck, in front of the windpipe. It is the “master controller” of metabolism, and plays a key role in our health and wellbeing. It makes, stores and releases thyroid hormones into the blood, thus regulating metabolism. These hormones are essential for the proper functioning of all bodily tissues and organs. They enable our body to use its stores of energy efficiently, thereby controlling temperature and allowing our muscles to work properly.

Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland, is a common condition. It is caused when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. This under-production of hormones slows down the body’s metabolism, often leaving patients feeling cold, tired and depressed. If you suffer from hypothyroidism then you are also likely to notice you have gained weight, despite following a sensible diet and exercising regularly.

National Coordinator of the Philippines, Iodine Global Network, Dr. Teofilo San Luis gave a lecture entitled “The Thyroid Masquerade”. He said thyroid diseases can be confusing to both patients and physicians because they manifest in different ways.

This year’s ITAW campaign  also highlights the striking similarities between the symptoms of thyroid disorders and the effects of today’s fast-paced lifestyles.

Merck and DOH wants to make it clear that thyroid disorders lead to symptoms that are often misinterpreted by those affected. 

Women in particular tend to attribute symptoms such as changes in weight, restlessness, lethargy, mood swings, a lack of concentration or sleep disorders to their general lifestyle rather than a possible thyroid disorder. 

An underactive thyroid gland is more common in women than in men and its occurrence rises with age. An overactive thyroid gland is 10 times more common in women than in men. It is most common in the age group of 20-40 years, but may occur at any age.

It is based on results from an international survey commissioned by Merck, in collaboration with Thyroid Federation International (TFI), which reveals many women blame themselves, and their lifestyle choices, for symptoms such as weight changes, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and excessive tiredness, not realizing that a thyroid disorder could be the underlying cause.

This campaign is to help people recognize that they may be wrongly blaming themselves for their symptoms. Some of the symptoms of too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) are constipation, lack of motivation, lack of concentration, depression, or weight gain. The symptoms of too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) include weight loss and irritability. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can lead to anxiety, menstrual difficulties, and difficulty sleeping.

The International Thyroid Awareness Week (ITAW) 2017 had many activities for all participants. The event was open to the public and admission was free.

ITAW2017 participants enjoyed the afternoon with fun and educational activities, with free doctors’ consultation, video viewing with to know more about thyroid, a quiz , photobooth, some pampering treats, free hair and make-up, nail art, eyebrow threading, massage, art for kids, zumba dancing, and free milk tea! Exciting prizes were given away to kids.

To end the evening, the Commitment Pledge, a promise to raise awareness of the importance of thyroid health and to be part of the solution to thyroid problems that affect millions of Filipinos.

The International Thyroid Awareness Week (ITAW) 2017 aims for all to think carefully about whether you or someone you know might be suffering from a thyroid disorder. If you suspect this to be the case, go to your doctor and ask to be screened with a simple blood test. In the hands of a healthcare professional, thyroid disorders can be well managed.

The International Thyroid Awareness Week (ITAW) 2017 was presented by Merck in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Thyroid Association (PTA), Healtway, Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism (PSEDM), and the Iodine Global Network (IGN).

For more information, visit www.thyroidaware.com or follow “Unmasking Your Thyroid” on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thyroidph).

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