I’m no stranger to thyroid problems because a family member was diagnosed with one back in 2000. We didn’t know what it was back then but we clearly remember the symptoms. My husband was losing so much weight which was odd because he wasn’t dieting and he had a fairly good appetite. He also needed to go to the bathroom immediately after eating. He was also always tired and he felt weak in the joints to the point that he found it difficult to stand up by himself when he’s in a sitting position.
After several laboratory tests were done, diabetes and cancer were ruled out, and the culprit for his significant weight loss was finally discovered; it was hyperthyroidism. Thankfully, he didn’t have to undergo surgery. All he needed was proper medication. This unfortunate incident cemented my belief that ignorance can kill.
I guess we were one of the many who are clueless about thyroid problems and the harm they can do to our bodies. I’m just glad that Merck, a leading science and healthcare innovation company, is taking an active role in educating people about thyroid diseases.
International Thyroid Awareness Week (ITAW) 2017
In time for the International Thyroid Awareness Week (ITAW) 2017, Merck joined forces with the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Thyroid Association (PTA), Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism (PSEDM), and the Iodine Global Network (IGN) to raise awareness against thyroid disorders.
Come to Robinsons Novaliches Trade Hall
on May 27 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
to celebrate ITAW 2017. There will be free thyroid screening and doctors’ consultation, plus free nail art, eyebrow threading, hair and make-up styling, massage, and many more! Admission is free!
ITAW 2017 Quiz
Do you always feel tired, have trouble sleeping or struggle with your weight? Perhaps it’s not you. Maybe the culprit is a thyroid disorder. Because the symptoms can be hard to spot, people sometimes blame what they feel on their hectic lives. Can you uncover the misconceptions about thyroid disorders? Find out how much you know about thyroid disorders by taking this short quiz.
Recognizing the symptoms of thyroid disorders
You and Your Thyroid
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that sits in at the lower front of the neck. It plays a key role in one’s overall health and well-being by producing thyroid hormones that help keep the body use energy, stay warm, and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs in tip-top condition. 
Thyroid disorders are some of the most common diseases worldwide. In the Philippines, one in every 11 adults suffers from goiter or other thyroid disorders. 
Thyroid problems are more common in women. Figures show that women are four to seven times more likely to have thyroid disorders than men.  They are also at risk of hypothyroidism by 10 times. Moreover, women who recently gave birth and those who are in the menopausal stage are more vulnerable. 
But why are thyroid diseases usually left undetected and misdiagnosed? Blame the symptoms. Tiredness, anxiety, weight fluctuations, difficulty in sleeping – these are some of the telling signs of a thyroid problem. Unfortunately, more often than not, people usually attribute these to merely having poor lifestyle choices. This is why the theme of this year’s ITAW is: “It’s Not You, It’s Your Thyroid”.
It’s Not You, It’s Your Thyroid
Since its primary role is to control the metabolism, disorders may occur when there’s little (hypothyroidism) or overproduction (hyperthyroidism) of thyroid hormones.
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. 
The diagnosis of thyroid disorders can easily be made by checking the levels of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) in the blood. Treatment brings the level of thyroid hormones back in balance, restoring normal metabolism to the body.
For more information, visit www.thyroidaware.com or follow “Unmasking Your Thyroid” on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thyroidph).
 American Thyroid Association. Thyroid Information. http://www.thyroid.org/thyroid-information/ Accessed May 2017.
 Carlos-Raboca, J et al. The Philippine Thyroid Diseases Study 1 (PhilTiDeS 1): Prevalence of Thyroid Disorders Among Adults in the Philippines. JAFES. 2012.
 Thyroid Foundation of Canada. Thyroid Disease: know the facts. Available online http://www.thyroid.ca/know_the_facts.php last accessed May 2017.
 American Thyroid Association. Hypothyroidism. Accessed from: http://www.thyroid.org/wp-content/uploads/patients/brochures/Hypo_brochure.pdf on August 2016.
 American Thyroid Association. Hyperthyroidism. Accessed from http://www.thyroid.org/wp-content/uploads/patients/brochures/Hyper_brochure.pdf on August 2016.