The butterfly-shaped thyroid gland is situated at the front of the neck, under the voice box. Diseases of the thyroid gland are among the most abundant endocrine disorders worldwide, second only to diabetes. 1 in 10 people around the world will suffer from some form of thyroid disorder. Thyroid diseases can affect more women than men. When thyroid gland makes too many hormones, it is called an overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism. On the other an underactive thyroid where the gland doesn’t make enough hormones is referred to as hypothyroidism. Both of these imbalances can lead to a range of symptoms. On World Thyroid Day, here’s all you want to know about the date, history, significance of the day apart from facts, types of thyroid disorders and symptoms of the disease. (Also read: World Thyroid Day 2023: 7 daily drinks to improve thyroid function)
Date of World Thyroid Day
World Thyroid Day will be observed on May 25 (Thursday) this year.
History and significance of World Thyroid Day
World Thyroid Day was first observed in 2007 by the members of the Thyroid Federation International. This global healthcare day was created to honour European Thyroid Association (ETA) which was formed in the year 1965. The day is dedicated to people suffering from thyroid disorders and the researchers who are committed to the study and treatment of thyroid diseases worldwide. Thyroid diseases can be life threatening if not managed early. However, early management and treatment can make them curable.
Types of thyroid diseases
- The two most common types of thyroid disorders are hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid).
- Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. Symptoms include weight gain, fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, among others.
- An overactive thyroid gland could lead to hyperthyroidism. This happens when thyroid gland produces an excess of thyroid hormones. Common symptoms of the condition are weight loss, increase in appetite, increased heartbeat, anxiety, irritability, and heat intolerance.
- In Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the immune system attacks and damages the thyroid gland, leading to hypothyroidism.
- In case of Graves’ disease, thyroid gland produces excessive amounts of hormones, resulting in hyperthyroidism.
Facts about thyroid diseases
- Women are more likely to develop thyroid disorders than men.
- Hypothyroidism is more common in elderly while hyperthyroidism affects younger people more.
- Thyroid disorders can affect metabolism, energy levels, weight, heart function, fertility, mood, and cognitive function.
- More than half of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition.
- Expecting mothers with undiagnosed thyroid issues face an increased risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery, and developmental problems in their children.
- If not treated early, thyroid disease can even cause heart disease, osteoporosis, and infertility.
How to observe World Thyroid Day
- Early intervention can help manage or treat thyroid disease. Get yourself tested in case of any symptoms of overactive or underactive thyroid. Encourage your friends or near and dear ones to get tested.
- Pay attention to your body and any unexpected weight gain or weight loss, change in energy levels, mood swings should not be taken lightly.
- Fix your lifestyle: Eat healthy and stay active as much as you can. Take out time to relax, rejuvenate and unwind.
What expert says on hypothyroidism
“Hypothyroidism is a common problem, easy to treat, and does not usually lead to chronic complications. Hypothyroidism, a growing global trend, manifests with a range of symptoms. Common signs include fatigue, weight gain, sensitivity to cold, dry skin, hair loss, muscle weakness, and depression. Other symptoms may include memory problems, constipation, and menstrual irregularities in women,” says Dr Anusha Nadig, Associate Consultant – Endocrinology, Fortis Hospital, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore.
“Timely diagnosis and treatment are crucial in managing hypothyroidism. Hormone replacement therapy is the primary treatment, where synthetic thyroid hormones are prescribed to compensate for the hormone deficiency. Regular monitoring of thyroid hormone levels helps ensure proper dosage adjustments. Lifestyle modifications such as a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management also play a role in managing symptoms and improving overall well-being,” adds Dr Nadig.
“It is important to raise awareness about hypothyroidism to encourage early detection. Routine screenings, especially for individuals with risk factors, can help identify the condition and initiate treatment promptly. By understanding the symptoms and available treatment options, individuals can take proactive steps to manage hypothyroidism effectively and maintain a good quality of life,” he adds further.