Each January we celebrate Thyroid Awareness Month. Thyroid disorders are common and treatable. Despite being common, unfortunately, the cause of thyroid issues is largely unknown. This is why it is extremely important for both locum tenens physicians and patients to be aware of how the thyroid affects the body, especially when there is something wrong. The thyroid gland is small but mighty – it produces a hormone that literally affects every cell, tissue, and organ in the body. Here are eight facts both locum tenens physicians and patients should know about the thyroid.
Eight Facts About the Thyroid: Thyroid Awareness Month
In honor of Thyroid Awareness Month, let’s break down eight interesting and important facts about the thyroid.
- In the United States, more than 12 percent of the population will actually develop a thyroid condition in their lifetime.
- Although an estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, at least 60 percent of them are unaware that they have it.
- Unfortunately, women are more likely than men to have a thyroid problem.
- In fact, 1 in 8 women will develop a thyroid disorder in her lifetime.
- Most people who do develop a thyroid disorder will have it for the rest of their lives.
- There are two types of thyroid disease – hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
- Hyperthyroidism is when the gland produces too much of the thyroid hormone. Symptoms include irritability, nervousness, sleep disturbances, and unexplained weight loss.
- Hypothyroidism is where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of the thyroid hormone. Symptoms include weight gain, dry skin, increased sensitivity to the cold, and fatigue.
- Graves disease is actually a type of hyperthyroidism. This is an autoimmune disorder that is genetic, and it affects just 1 percent of the population.
- To help raise awareness of thyroid disorders, a blue paisley ribbon now represents these ailments that affect so many people. Empoweryourhealth.org explains why paisley was picked. “Paisley was chosen because of its resemblance to a cross section of thyroid follicles, the tiny spheres that the thyroid gland is made up of. Wear a blue paisley ribbon during January, which is Thyroid Awareness Month.”
What are some additional facts about the thyroid that you think everyone should know? Drop them in the comments below!
A Brief History of Thyroid Research and Awareness
People have been researching the thyroid and all of the issues and illnesses surrounding it for a very long time. If you check out the American Thyroid Association’s website, they have a cool timeline feature. It outlines centuries of research and discoveries and recognizes the different scientists and physicians who contributed to thyroid treatment as it is today. The timeline starts out in 2700 BC. At that time people started using seaweed to treat goiter, or the abnormal enlarging of the thyroid. From there you can scroll through the timeline all the way to the end, which is 2004. The timeline is interactive, and you can click and read more about the discoveries as you scroll through.
As a locum tenens doctor, this website is a great source of information for you to learn about the thyroid. There is an entire section dedicated to professionals who wish to read more about the thyroid, and there are even training resources.
The Movement Behind Thyroid Awareness Month
Beyond spreading awareness of thyroid issues and the patients that suffer from them, we’d like to also think about the physicians who take care of them. Comment below to join us in saying thank you to all the doctors and other healthcare workers who help patients suffering from thyroid issues!
Happy Thyroid Awareness Month!