Every year, the 25th May is recognised as World Thyroid Day. An international day for people to become more aware of what the thyroid gland is and why it’s so important.
It’s also a day to raise awareness of the conditions associated with it, such as hypothyroidism.
It is estimated that 200 million people in the world have some form of thyroid disease, including 1 in 20 people in the UK (though I personally believe it’s much higher, many just go undiagnosed). This is why we need to keep on sharing information and encourage anyone with symptoms of a thyroid condition to get checked out.
Though of course, for those who do go to the doctor or who are already diagnosed, we need to raise awareness that not just TSH should be used to check for hypothyroidism especially; we need to create awareness that a full thyroid panel needs doing. Every single time.
As this site focuses on hypothyroidism, symptoms of the condition include:
- Sensitiviy to cold/heat
- Weight gain, inability to lose weight
- Constipation/wind often
- Slow movements, speech and thoughts
- Itchy and/or sore scalp
- Muscle cramps, aches, pains and weakness
- Poor appetite
- Dry and tight feeling skin
- Brittle hair and nails
- Loss of libido
- Pain, numbness and a tingling sensation in the hand, fingers and limbs (carpal tunnel syndrome)
- Irregular periods or heavy periods
- Brain fog/confusion/memory problems
- Hoarse voice
- A puffy-looking face
- Thinned or partly missing eyebrows or eyelashes
- A slow heart rate or one that increases more so than a healthy person’s, after physical activity (e.g. after walking up the stairs or emptying the washing machine)
- Anaemia or other vitamin deficiencies
- Poor stamina
- The need to nap more than others
- Long recovery period after any activity
- Inability to exercise, or withstand certain exercises
- Diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Being overly emotional
- Cold hands and feet
- Poor circulation
- High or rising cholesterol
- Acid reflux
- Hair loss
- Easy bruising
- Swollen legs that impede walking
- Shin splints
- Difficulty standing on feet
- Joint stiffness and pain
- Fertility issues
Although the thyroid gland is responsible for delivering crucial hormones that are needed for every function and cell of the body, when it misbehaves – causing issues such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism – it’s still not hugely well recognised among the general public and people don’t tend to understand just how important this little gland is.
For those of us already diagnosed, we can gain awareness this month about how to check our thyroid glands regularly for any abnormalities, what supplements may help us and what tests we need to ensure our doctors are doing. We should also be aware of what results to look for.
As well as educating others on this butterfly shaped gland, we should also take the time to educate ourselves! After all, knowledge is power and learning to advocate for ourselves gives us the best chance of recovering our health back to a good standard.
We can also share any resources we’ve found to be helpful, for example, I would suggest that all hypothyroid patients follow my favourite sources of information listed here.
World Thyroid Day is about creating awareness of thyroid disease and disorders as a whole – for those going undiagnosed, for those going untreated or under-treated and for those doing well like me, but can always learn some more about this far-reaching condition.
Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism
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