To coincide with Thyroid Awareness Month, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) has launched the Up To Here campaign to raise awareness of thyroid diseases and to help Americans recognize symptoms, risk factors and the need to seek treatment. More than 10% of Americans will develop a thyroid disease during their lives, yet many of those affected remain unaware of their condition.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland located low in the front of the neck. It produces hormones that influence the heart, brain, liver, kidneys, skin and eyes. The Up To Here campaign draws inspiration from the idea that many people with thyroid diseases are figuratively up to their necks in frustrating symptoms, such as gaining weight, feeling sad or not getting enough sleep. Many of the symptoms associated with thyroid issues are often mistaken for other conditions, misidentified as a normal part of aging or blamed on lifestyle habits.
“Millions are affected by thyroid disease and don’t even know it,” said Sandra L. Weber, M.D., FACP, FACE, president of AACE. “This lack of awareness can endanger their health and well-being. We want to empower people to recognize these symptoms and to talk with their health care providers.”
Several different disorders can arise if a person’s thyroid produces too much hormone (hyperthyroidism) or not enough (hypothyroidism). Common disorders of the thyroid include Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer. Thyroid eye disease may develop in some people who have a thyroid condition. Undiagnosed thyroid diseases may also place a person at greater risk for heart disease, weight gain or loss, infertility, osteoporosis and other serious conditions.
“Thyroid hormone impacts almost every organ of the body and can affect every possible aspect of a person’s life,” said Cheryl Rosenfeld, D.O., FACE, FACP, ECNU. “Most thyroid diseases can affect abilities to perform daily tasks, such as concentrating at work or interacting with loved ones. If you suspect you’re at risk for thyroid disease, make an appointment to see an endocrinologist.”
Talking with a doctor is the first step to ensure that the thyroid gland is healthy and functioning properly. An endocrinologist is a doctor that specializes in hormone-related diseases and conditions, including all those related to the thyroid gland.
Visit thyroidawareness.com to learn more about thyroid health.