May 25th – 31st is International Thyroid Awareness Week 2019

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International Thyroid Awareness Week 2019 begins on May 25th and continues through to May 31st. 

The week-long event all over the world is great for raising awareness of thyroid conditions, both how it affects those of us with it, but also the signs and symptoms to get more people diagnosed sooner. In this way, we can avoid more people living poor quality lives with thyroid conditions such as hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s, sooner.

The Stats

The World Health Organization estimates that 750 million people in the world have some form of thyroid disease

Including at least 1 in 20 people in the UK and more than 12 percent of the U.S. population

Although as many as 60% are undiagnosed 

And of those diagnosed, a lot are not optimally treated and still struggle daily. 

Could a friend or family member have a thyroid condition?

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism Include:

And symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Increased sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Oversentivity to heat
  • Palpitations
  • Diarrhoea
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Dry, thin skin
  • Hair loss
  • Shakiness/trembling
  • Fatigue
  • Change in sex drive
  • Larger eyes
  • Mood changes
  • Nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Dry or gritty eyes
  • Double vision
  • Weak, less define muscles
  • Aches and pains
  • Changes to menstrual cycle
  • Infertility or problems conceiving
  • Osteoporosis

And with Hashimoto’s Disease, you can even experience a mixture of these symptoms.

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 totally accurate on its own and the other components of the panel also need checking, especially if TSH comes back ‘normal’.

Where Can I Order Testing From?

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 testReverse T3cortisol testing for your adrenals and thyroid antibodies to check for autoimmune hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s).

In the US and Europe, in-depth thyroid testing can be ordered from TrueHealthLab.

Having a Thyroid Condition

Once on treatment, obtaining optimal levels instead of just being ‘in range’ is important, as well as checking thyroid antibodies to check if the condition is autoimmune. It is for around 90% of us and can affect your treatment to get you back to feeling well again.

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, and it is important to know what this entails for you.

If you’ve just been diagnosed, check out these common FAQ’s and answers.

For those of us already diagnosed, we can gain awareness this week 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.

The Big Thyroid Jigsaw Puzzle 

I always describe treating and managing hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s as being like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Each person may have different pieces to slot in to place before they can obtain good or even great health again with these conditions, but we have to work to find out what these are for each of us and share our own experiences. We all need to embrace being our own thyroid health advocates and understanding our health condition, and this awareness month is a great opportunity for that. You can find my book on how I got my thyroid health back on track on Amazon, here.

Raising Awareness 

An obviously important part of awareness months is using them to raise awareness of the condition/s to those who don’t have them. Please see a list of articles you may wish to share with those around you, below.

I am also currently writing another book, which is for the friends and family of those with hypothyroidism. It will aim to educate them on our condition and support them in supporting us. You can sign up to my newsletter to be updated on this.

For many thyroid patients, they are also still living with lingering symptoms, despite being on treatment for their condition (I’m mainly speaking to hypothyroidism patients here) so delving deeper in to why is something you can do this month. You can live a good quality life with hypothyroidism.

We can also share any resources we’ve found to be helpful, for example, I would suggest all hypothyroid patients to check out those listed 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.

If you found this article beneficial, please take a moment to share it so we can help others get better with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto's, whilst also raising awareness. "Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate."

Written by Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism

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