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Thyroid Awareness Month: Tips, Types, Facts, and More

9 min read
Published on 13 January, 2023

An increasing number of people are being diagnosed with thyroid problems, making it one of the most widespread health issues globally.

Dysfunction results when the Thyroid gland produces too little or too much thyroid hormone. Both can impair the healthy operation of important organs, which can cause a variety of symptoms.

Thyroid dysfunction can cause obesity, joint discomfort, infertility, and heart disease. All ages are affected by this illness. However, women are at higher risk of developing it.

The good news is that living a healthy life is achievable after being properly identified and treated.

January is "Thyroid Awareness Month," celebrated worldwide to increase public awareness of the different health issues connected to the thyroid gland. Let's examine common thyroid problems, symptoms, side effects, and management advice for employees living with thyroid conditions.

What is Thyroid Awareness Month?

The American Thyroid Association (ATA) advocates for National Thyroid Awareness Month in January. The ATA promotes information and resources throughout the month.

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Additionally, the group raises money for research. The study examines cancer types, illness prevention, therapies, and cures.

The work of doctors, scientists, and other specialists involved in research, patient care, and education is also highlighted during Thyroid Awareness Month.

Myth: Hypothyroidism can occur only in middle-aged women.

Fact: Hypothyroidism can affect a person of any gender or age.

Thyroid and its Types:

The Thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of your neck, near the ear. Its main responsibility is to create hormones that keep your metabolism in good shape. It significantly affects how energized you feel each day.

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When your Thyroid produces too much or too little thyroid hormone, you could experience issues. There are two basic types of thyroid disease that you can experience: Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism- When the thyroid gland produces too many hormones, it is said to be hyperthyroidism. Graves' disease is an autoimmune condition that most frequently results in it. Left untreated, it can cause irregular heartbeat, heart disease, high blood pressure, other heart problems, eye pain, vision loss, weakening bones, and osteoporosis.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism include:

  • Goiter
  • Nervousness, anxiety, irritability, or mood swings
  • Muscle weakness and fatigue
  • Trouble tolerating heat or sleeping
  • Tremors, usually in your hands
  • Frequent bowel movements or diarrhea
  • Weight loss

Myth: People with Thyroid conditions cannot eat certain vegetables.

Fact: People with thyroid conditions can eat the same foods as healthy people. These vegetables do not affect the Thyroid when consumed cooked and taken in moderation.

Hypothyroidism- Hypothyroidism is when your Thyroid does not produce sufficient thyroid hormone. Hashimoto's illness, an autoimmune condition, is the most frequent cause.

Hypothyroidism can cause high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and myxedema coma if left untreated (The body's activities might halt because the condition is life-threatening if left untreated.)

Pregnancy-related Hypothyroidism can result in an early birth or miscarriage and retard the growth and development of the fetus.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism are -

  • Goiter
  • Weight gain
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Slowed heart rate,
  • Trouble tolerating colds
  • Constipation
  • Puffy face
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Heavy or irregular menstrual periods
  • Fertility problems in women

Some of these can overlap for both hypo and hyperthyroidism. It is advisable to get yourself checked regularly.

Myth: People can't lose weight with Hypothyroidism.

Fact: If one's hormones are well-controlled and taken care of properly, one can lose weight.

Facts and Stats

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You should be aware of the following additional thyroid conditions:

  • The most common type of hyperthyroidism is Graves' disease.

  • The most prevalent type of Hypothyroidism is an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

  • A goiter, also known as an enlargement of the thyroid gland, may occur.

  • A thyroid nodule is an unfavorable development of thyroid cells that develops into a lump inside the gland.

Statistics

Here are some quick statistics from one study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to show how common thyroid issues are in the United States:

  • On average, one hundred Americans aged 12 and older have hyperthyroidism.

  • Graves' disease is the most prevalent cause of hyperthyroidism, affecting about 1 in 200 persons.

  • Americans aged 12 and older with Hypothyroidism make up about 5 per 100.

  • Hashimoto's disease is the most common cause of Hypothyroidism, affecting approximately 5 in 100 Americans.

  • Goiter affects 5% of American adults (Johns Hopkins Medicine).

  • In 2021, it was anticipated that there would be 44,280 new cases of thyroid cancer and 2,200 thyroid cancer-related fatalities.

Thyroid Cancer

Although thyroid cancer is uncommon, it is often treatable. It affects about 1% of Americans throughout their lifetimes. Also, it comes in various forms, and even in its severe stages, treatment is possible.

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Mentioned below are a few types of thyroid cancer as explained by the ATA:

1. Papillary thyroid cancer:

This is one of the most prevalent forms. Papillary thyroid carcinoma affects up to 80% of thyroid cancer patients. It develops and gradually spreads to the lymph nodes in the neck.

2. Follicular thyroid cancer:

Follicular thyroid carcinoma makes up about 10% of cases. This kind of cancer can spread to the lymph nodes in your neck and other organs like your lungs and bones.

3. Medullary thyroid cancer:

About 2% of all thyroid tumors are medullary, making them less prevalent. If MTC runs in your family, you could inherit it. You can find out if you carry the gene with a blood test. Understanding this can aid in early detection and treatment.

4. Anaplastic thyroid cancer:

This uncommon thyroid cancer is aggressive and progresses. Less than 2% of persons with thyroid cancer experience it.

Myth: A lump or nodule in the Thyroid is cancer and is not curable.

Fact: Most thyroid nodules are benign, and only 5% of lumps can be malignant. Which, again, if treated in an early stage, can be cured.

Tips to Help you Protect your Thyroid

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The following actions can help you avoid thyroid disease:

  • Quit Smoking: This reduces your risk of getting thyroid disease and a wide range of other health problems, including cardiovascular ones. So, cut down smoke breaks with your co-workers.

Read: Implementation of Smoke Cessation Programs in the Workplace

  • Thyroid Collar: Ask for a thyroid collar to shield your thyroid gland from radiation exposure during x-rays.

  • Consume Less Soy: Although the popular component is not always harmful, it is debatable, especially when considering thyroid health. Minimise ordering food that contains soy as its primary ingredient, even if they taste the best to you.

  • Increase your Selenium Intake: Selenium is a mineral in some proteins and is essential for the health of your thyroid gland. You should already be taking enough selenium if your diet is good. You may still want to increase your selenium intake to strengthen your immune system and lessen hypothyroidism symptoms.

  • Visit your Physician Frequently: Regular examinations benefit your thyroid health and general wellness.

Employees and Thyroid

People usually feel comfortable discussing their ailments with friends and family. This is solely because of the constant fear of judgment. But discussing diseases at work is still somewhere frowned upon. But employers nowadays are constantly working on making employee-friendly policies prioritizing employee health.

So on this National Thyroid Awareness month, it is important to put some light on employees or employers suffering from Thyroid. And this is important to notify employers, line managers, and even co-workers of people with thyroid disease.

They must understand some essential things if you want to keep a good relationship and have them perform to the best of their abilities on the job.

Myth: Regulating your diet is one way to treat Hypothyroidism.

Fact: Normalizing your thyroid hormone cannot be accomplished just by dietary changes.

Observe Thyroid Awareness Month at Work

January is National Thyroid Awareness month, making it a wonderful time to discuss your Thyroid with your doctor. If you see any symptoms mentioned above, go for a health check-up immediately.

Check out the list below if you have a thyroid condition or if you know someone who does to raise awareness and provide support for them among your co-workers.

1. Check your Thyroid Neck.

Ask them to have a glass of water and a hand-held mirror in their hand. Then ask them to focus on the lower front of their neck, above the collarbone, and beneath the voice box while holding a mirror in your hand (larynx). The thyroid gland is situated there.

Then ask them to slowly tip their head back, sip some water, and swallow while keeping their attention on this location. Look at their neck when they swallow. Then you can look around for any lumps or protrusions. (The thyroid gland should not be confused with the Adam's apple.)

A doctor should be seen if you notice any bulges. They can have a thyroid nodule or an enlarged thyroid gland.

2. Encourage Employees to Get Tested

Your co-worker may need to talk to their doctor about thyroid dysfunction if they frequently feel cold or have trouble sleeping or swallowing. It's tempting to write off "minor" problems like dry skin as unimportant, but testing can speed up the process of finding a cure.

So, whenever your co-worker complains about certain symptoms, you must encourage them to go for a health check-up. You should always make sure to encourage them in a polite and non judgemental manner.

3. Donate

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Even if thyroid disorder hasn't directly impacted you, someone you know has probably been (or will be) affected. Donate to one of the numerous research or treatment organizations to honor your good health; there are probably ones in your neighborhood that would appreciate your help.

4. Hold a Free Health Check-up at Work

Along with support from family and friends, your employees deserve support at work too. Trying to lead a normal life while dealing with a chronic illness and maybe a mental disorder is very challenging.

Hold a day where you invite consultants and thyroid specialists to arrange free blood tests for everyone. This way, you can create awareness and conduct a fruitful event for all the employees and other employers.

Read: Employee Health Fair Ideas To Make Your Event A Great One

5. Take Care and Support

Hypothyroidism can lead to both depression and anxiety alongside it, and so this can make things even harder and more complicated. Hence understand your co-worker if they behave a certain way some days.

Try to cut them slack and offer them mental health off or some time to get better because everything else can wait but not health. At this point, giving them the right support at work can be essential to their health and maximizing the potential of employees.

Benefits of Observing Thyroid Awareness Month

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1. Create Awareness about Thyroid

Thyoid gland produces hormones for practically every cell in the body to operate properly, including the body's major organs. If there is any change in the amount of these hormone produced, it can affect other physiological systems as well. Because thet may become out of balance, so it is important to maintain the level of thyroid in your body.

2. Encourages to get Tested

Cold hands and feet, dry skin, and unexplained weight loss can indicate Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, this is the perfect time to ask your doctor if you should be tested. Diagnosing Thyroid disease is simple and can be accomplished with simple blood tests.

3. Encourages Early Diagnosis

Even if we are symptom-free, we should be aware of potential warning signals so that we can seek medical attention as soon as feasible. And if you are diagnosed with thyroid malfunction, starting therapy immediately increases your chances of leading a healthy life.

Conclusion

The thyroid gland plays a significant part in your body by producing growth, development, and metabolism hormones. Several disorders may impact your Thyroid's functionality. You should visit your doctor if you think you have a thyroid issue. The diagnosis and treatment of thyroid problems are simple. Additionally, it's crucial to have your Thyroid examined as part of your regular physical examination.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q 1. Can Thyroid disorders affect your mood?

Answer: Yes, a thyroid condition can impact mood. Anxiety or despair are frequent thyroid disease symptoms that impact mood.

Q 2. Can overworking lead to thyroid issues?

Answer: The prevalence of Hypothyroidism was found to be 3.5% among those who worked 52 to 83 hours per week compared to 1.4% among those who worked 36 to 42 hours per week, according to the study's findings.

Q 3. Does shift work impact your Thyroid?

The thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) produced by the pituitary gland, which has a circadian rhythm, controls the release of thyroid hormones. Night shifts could influence thyroid function by interfering with sleep-wake patterns.

This article is written by Daina Barman who is a content writer and marketer at Vantage Circle. Besides being an epicure trying to cook every dish possible, she likes to dance her way around everything. To get in touch, reach out to editor@vantagecircle.com

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