World Thyroid Awareness Day 2023
World Thyroid Awareness Day is observed on May 25 every year. The day is dedicated to spreading awareness about thyroid-related disorders, their symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options. On this day, all the stakeholders aim to educate people about the importance of maintaining a healthy thyroid gland and the impact of thyroid disorders on overall well-being.
Significance of World Thyroid Awareness Day
While the early symptoms of thyroid diseases may not seem dangerous, if ignored, they can result in more serious issues. The purpose of World Thyroid Day is to raise awareness of common thyroid symptoms and to monitor the progression of thyroid problems. The day is devoted to thyroid sufferers as well as to everyone else who is dedicated to the global study and treatment of thyroid illnesses.
History of World Thyroid Awareness Day
The day was first proposed at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the Thyroid Federation International in 2007. It was decided at the meeting to observe World Thyroid Day on May 25 every year, as the date marked the foundation of the European Thyroid Association (ETA) in 1965.
The ETA displayed a small poster stating, ‘The 25th of May is World Thyroid Day,’ on their exhibit at the meeting. After this, they designed a logo and chose 2008 as the year to celebrate the first World Thyroid Day.
All about Thyroid:
Thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. It plays a crucial role in regulating various bodily functions by producing hormones that control metabolism, growth, development, and energy levels. Here is some information about the thyroid gland, thyroid hormones, and common thyroid disorders:
Thyroid Hormones: The thyroid gland produces two main hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones contain iodine and are essential for the proper functioning of cells throughout the body. They regulate metabolism, body temperature, heart rate, digestion, muscle control, brain development, and other vital processes.
Thyroid Disorders: The thyroid gland can sometimes malfunction and produce either excessive or insufficient amounts of thyroid hormones, leading to various disorders:
a. Hypothyroidism: This occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. Common symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, constipation, dry skin, depression, and cognitive impairment. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
b. Hyperthyroidism: This condition arises when the thyroid gland produces an excess of thyroid hormones. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism may include weight loss, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, irritability, increased sweating, tremors, sleep disturbances, and sensitivity to heat. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is an autoimmune disorder called Graves’ disease.
c. Thyroid Nodules: Thyroid nodules are abnormal growths or lumps that form within the thyroid gland. They can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Most thyroid nodules do not cause symptoms, but larger nodules can lead to difficulty swallowing, breathing, or a visible lump in the neck.
d. Thyroid Cancer: Thyroid cancer is a relatively rare form of cancer that develops in the cells of the thyroid gland. It is usually treatable and has a high survival rate. Common symptoms include a lump or swelling in the neck, pain in the neck or throat, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, and enlarged lymph nodes.
Diagnosis and Treatment: Thyroid disorders are diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical examination, blood tests to measure thyroid hormone levels, and imaging tests (such as ultrasound or thyroid scan). Treatment options depend on the specific disorder but may include medication (such as synthetic thyroid hormones for hypothyroidism or anti-thyroid drugs for hyperthyroidism), radioactive iodine therapy, surgery, or a combination of these approaches.
Importance of Iodine: Iodine is a crucial mineral required for the production of thyroid hormones. Insufficient iodine intake can lead to thyroid disorders, particularly hypothyroidism and goiter (enlarged thyroid gland). To ensure adequate iodine levels, it is recommended to consume iodized salt or foods rich in iodine, such as seafood, seaweed, dairy products, and eggs.
Regular Thyroid Check-ups: It is essential to maintain regular check-ups with a healthcare professional, especially if you experience symptoms related to thyroid disorders or have a family history of thyroid problems. Timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help manage thyroid conditions effectively and improve overall health.