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!