The Fisher Mall Activity area was turned into a fun-filled and exciting place for children last May 28, 2016. But, the event was also intended for adults who wanted to learn more about Thyroid Disorders. In order to convey the message to both parents and children, the venue was set up with balloons, mascots, activities for kids such as face painting, designing and coloring etc. There were also several areas turned into a sort of medical clinic where parents had the opportunity to be checked and pre-diagnosed for any thyroid symptoms.

International Thyroid Awareness Week

Did you know that “thyroid disease” is one of the silent killers? You’ll never know you have it until symptoms arise. Millions of Filipinos are affected but not aware, so this event was really helpful especially for early diagnosis.

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.

International Thyroid Awareness Week

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.

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.

There are two conditions/disorders namely 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.

International Thyroid Awareness Week

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.

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

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.

What are the treatments for thyroid disorders?

Hypothyroidism is treated with thyroid hormone replacement therapy while Hyperthyroidism is treated with anti-thyroid drugs, which lower the level of thyroid hormones in the body.

International Thyroid Awareness Week
Photo: RightHealth.com

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.