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Thyroid Awareness Month (2017)

Thyroid Awareness Month (2017)
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One year ago today exactly, I took a photo of myself holding a piece of paper that simply said ‘I am the face of thyroid disease’ and posted it online. 

A selfie of Rachel holding a sign reading 'I am the face of Thyroid Disease'

I’m doing it again this year, not only sharing that post in the hopes that it will raise some awareness on the symptoms and mismanagement of thyroid issues, but also with a new post, that I hope expands on the issues I touched on a year ago. 


It’s important to know that although thyroid disease isn’t well-recognised generally and you may think you don’t know anyone with it:

So could this include you or a friend or family member? 

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

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 run a full thyroid panel, it’s worth exploring ordering your own. Medichecks is popular in the UK and LetsGetChecked offer worldwide testing.

Optimal levels are 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 but still require treatment in order to feel better.

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 should also share helpful resources and materials to enable one another to make progress in their thyroid health. I wrote my first bookBe Your Own Thyroid Advocate: When You’re Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired” with that in mind.

The book compiles all the information you need to begin advocating for your own health, in one place and in an easy to digest format. It is a great place to begin when learning to advocate for your own thyroid health. 

And finally, if you know someone with hypo or hyperthyroidism, please take the time this Thyroid Disease Awareness Month to learn a bit more about their condition and don’t be afraid to ask us questions! It’s nice to know you care.

Share your experiences of having a thyroid condition in the comments section below.

Helpful materials:

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.

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, as well as being a founding board member for the American College of Thyroidology. She is well-recognised as a crucial and influential contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her books include "Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate" and "You, Me and Hypothyroidism".

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