International Thyroid Awareness Week - “Catching Butterflies: Spotting the Symptoms of Thyroid Disorders in Children.”

2:03:00 AM

Millions of Filipinos are affected by thyroid disorders, yet very few are aware of them. A study by the Philippine Society for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism in 2012 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.

Merck Inc. and ETC 2nd Avenue collaborated for the International Thyroid Awareness Week Celebration by hosting a culminating event called “Catching Butterflies: Spotting the Symptoms of Thyroid Disorders in Children.” The butterfly theme was chosen to represent the thyroid, which is a butterfly shaped organ found at the base of our necks.

The event was hosted at the Fisher Mall Event center last May 28, 2016 in order 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.

The event was not only educational but also fun-filled for everyone who attended. 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.

There were many other activities that both children and parents could enjoy together such as on-the spot art competitions, butterfly face painting, butterfly clay art, dance performances and so much more. Participants posted pictures to their social media accounts using the hashtags #thyroidawareness and #wearebraver.

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. 

I am also sharing the topics covered as well as a FAQ sheet containing information discussed by doctors during the event.

What is a thyroid gland and its functions?
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.

What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism? How does it differ from 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.

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

How to do a thyroid self-exam?

 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.

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.

Does children needs to 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.

Does pregnant women needs to be screened 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

How thyroid disorders affects pregnant women and the babies inside their womb?
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.

What should you eat to improve thyroid health?
People are encouraged to take iodized salt, to avoid iodine deficiency, the most common cause of goiter.

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

Hope you find this post helpful.
Thank you Digify for the invite!

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  1. This sounds like such a great event to really help spread awareness about thyroid disorders. It's important info to get out there so people can find support and help!

    1. Definitely this is a health issue we shouldn't neglect.

  2. Aside from the seriousness, this looked like a fun event! I should get mine checked. I'm always so tired. I thought it was just from having small kids but you never know. Thanks!

    1. Yup, it was definitely a fun event for the kids! Thanks for the visit dear. :)

  3. Thanks for the excellent public awareness post. There are so many events for conditions like this, but this one really sounds attention getting. Thanks for letting us attend via your blog.

  4. Very informative! The event sounds like it was successful in helping to raise awareness of the thyroid and the disorders that can affect children and adults.

  5. It seems like I have been hearing more and more about women with thyroid problems lately. This looks like a great event!

  6. I had been diagnosed with Graves Disease, which is hyper. But it went away (which I understand is common). I had no idea what a thyroid was, or where it was, or what it did until a doctor told me I had this diagnosis. My mom has the other kind! I think teaching children about this is really important and this event looks like a great way to do it!

  7. This is really interesting - I wouldn't of known what to look out for at all so thank you for this! x

  8. What a great event for families to attend and gain more knowledge on thyroid awareness week. It sounds like you are making a different in your community, congratulations!

  9. My sister-in-law is currently going through several tests to see if she has some thyroid problems. I think an evening like this might have been fun and educational for her.

  10. This looks like a really fun event! This is a great way to spread awareness for kids and parents!

  11. What an important cause, it's great that you guys are spreading this important information in such a fun way

  12. When my sister was in her 30s she became very sick. At the same time so did my parent's dog. Turned out my sister was hyperthyroid and the dog was hypothyroid.

  13. This is a good reminder for me to get mine checked. I have a heck of a lot of hair loss lately and some weight gain too which is ticking me off.

  14. It is always recommended to have a regular checkup. Thanks for sharing this, I will forward it to my friends so they will be aware.

  15. This is a great way to teach people the differences between hypo ans hyper. I think anything to educate oneself is worth it!

  16. This is great! I deal with thyroid issues and it's important to recognize the symptoms early.

  17. woah millions. that's crazy. Mad respect to you for raising awareness and insight on such an important cause

  18. Thanks for the info. It's great to raise public awareness about this.

  19. I didn't know we had a thyroid awareness week, this looks like a great event to go to especially since it's all about raising awareness. I think it's important that we learn about these health issues as much as possible.

  20. This is very good information and I am glad they have Thyroid awareness. I would love for them to share this information in our schools.

    Thank you.

  21. It's nice to learn more about thyroid and I think this event is perfect for raising awareness and educating people about how to treat and avoid thyroid entirely. Looks like they have a lot of activities prepared too!

  22. I am not familiar with thyroid disorders. Good thing I came by your blog.

  23. I am so glad that there are awareness campaign like this. Good thing the Philippines is aware of it.

  24. My mom has a thyroid problem. How wonderful to have an event to bring about awareness.

  25. Thyroid is something that I am not really that familiar with but its always good to be familiar with things so that we can be more sympathetic to the plight of others.

  26. This is such a wonderful article. Coming from family history if thyroid disorders this is so great reading more about it.

  27. It's good that there are events like this to spread awareness. You are right, there are quite a number of people suffering from thyroid issues, but only a handful gets diagnosed.

  28. Its so sad when kids are afflicted but raising awareness will parents diagnose their children and refer to specialists.

  29. I know one thing my doctor checked when I got pregnant was my thyroid, exactly for these reasons!

  30. Awesome way to rise awareness about this! It is more common that we think of


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