Last May 28, 2016, I attended an event called “Catching Butterflies: Spotting the Symptoms of Thyroid Disorders in Children” held at at the Fisher Mall Event center. Merck Inc. and ETC 2nd Avenue collaborated for the International Thyroid Awareness Week Celebration in order to increase the awareness of the thyroid and the disorders that can affect children and adults.
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.
The event’s theme was butterfly theme to represent the thyroid, which is a butterfly shaped organ found at the base of our necks. 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. 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.
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.
What is thyroid?
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.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism and 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 self-diagnose?
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.
Treatment for Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism:
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.
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.
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.