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May 22nd – 28th is International Thyroid Awareness Week 2017

May 22nd - 28th is International Thyroid Awareness Week 2017
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International Thyroid Awareness Week 2017 begins on May 22nd and continues through to May 28th.

This year’s campaign is highlighting the similarities between the symptoms of thyroid disorders, the effects of today’s fast-paced lifestyles, and the tendency for people to blame themselves for the symptoms of the condition through the ‘It’s not you. It’s your Thyroid’ campaign.

This year’s International Thyroid Awareness Week campaign, ‘It’s not you. It’s your Thyroid’, reveals that many women may be blaming themselves and their lifestyle choices for symptoms like weight changes, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and fatigue, not realising that a thyroid disorder could actually be the underlying cause.

Merck, in partnership with Thyroid Federation International (TFI), commissioned an international survey of women in seven countries in time for International Thyroid Awareness Week 2017.

The survey found that nearly half (49%) of respondents had blamed their lifestyle choices for feeling restless or having difficulty sleeping, while 40% blamed lifestyle choices for feeling depressed, anxious, and tired.

In reality, these may be common symptoms of a thyroid disorder.

As this site focuses on hypothyroidism, symptoms of the condition include:

If you believe it could be possible that you have a thyroid issue, please make an appointment with your doctor and have them run a full thyroid panel.

Your doctor may wish to just run the TSH test first, but it is important to know that this isn’t accurate on its own and the other components of the panel also need checking, especially if TSH comes back ‘normal’.

If your doctor won’t test you for a thyroid condition but you believe you may have one, or if they won’t run all the tests you need, you can explore ordering your own from online lab services. Medichecks is a popular place in the UK, where you can order the all important thyroid function testcortisol testing for your adrenals and thyroid antibodies to check for autoimmune hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s).

LetsGetChecked cover most countries, and offer the thyroid function testHashimoto’s testingcortisol testing and many more, all from the comfort of your own home.

Optimal levels are also important, as well as checking thyroid antibodies for autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s and Graves Disease. It is also important to note that having Hashimoto’s can cause results to move up and down as if you’re changing from hypo to hyper, or back and fourth between normal and abnormal. You could also be told you’re only borderline’ hypothyroid.

For those of us already diagnosed, we can gain awareness this month about how to check our thyroid glands regularly for any abnormalities, what vitamins may help us and what tests we need to ensure our doctors are doing on us. We should also be aware of what results we are looking for.

We can also share any resources we’ve found to be helpful, for example, I would suggest all hypothyroid patients to follow the organisations recommended here.

Some helpful materials you can use to spread awareness:

A Letter: To Family and Friends of those suffering with Graves Disease

An Open Letter to Friends, Family, Work Colleagues and Doctors of Those with an Underactive Thyroid/Hypothyroidism.

You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.

Are you raising awareness this week?

About Author

Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes writing articles, authoring books, producing her Thyroid Family email newsletters and speaking on podcasts and at events about the many aspects thyroid disease affects and how to overcome these. She is well-recognised as a crucial and influential contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her bestselling books include "Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate" and "You, Me and Hypothyroidism".

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