ITAW: International Thyroid Awareness Week 2017

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The thyroid gland may be too small and weighs only about 18-60 grams, but it plays an essential role in our body by regulating metabolic process vital for survival. With thyroid diseases, this balance is disturbed, which may pose serious repercussions for our well-being and over-all health. There are many measures we can take to prevent this from happening, though, and this is the driving force behind the people from International Thyroid Awareness Week {ITAW} who aims to raise awareness about the thyroid gland, as well as the different disorders related to it.

The culminating event for the International Thyroid Awareness Week {ITAW} 2017 was held at the Robinsons Novaliches Trade Hall on 27 May. Sponsored by Healthway Medical, Philippine Thyroid Association, Inc, and Merch, the event was a success and was attended by hundreds of people. It was an afternoon filled with informative and educational talks about the thyroid gland, as well as relaxing and pampering treats for everyone to enjoy. It was a free event and as expected, the queue to get inside the event venue was long, and so were the lines at the different free activities lined up for that day.

Video Viewing + Thyroid quiz

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Participants of the day were each tasked to finish a set of activities, as well as a number of pampering and relaxing treats, starting with the Video Viewing, to know more about the thyroid gland and the many related diseases, and the Thyroid Quiz, meant to gauge whether a person might be at risk for thyroid diseases.

One out of 11 Filipinos are at risk for goiter and other thyroid disorders. Here is a checklist of what to watch out for in Hyperthyroidism or Hypothyroidism. If you happen to have 5 or more of these conditions, it is best to consult with your doctor to know if you have thyroid disorders.

Hyperthyroidism Symptoms:

  1. Feeling anxious and irritable a lot of the time
  2. Hands and fingers slightly trembling
  3. Skin and hair getting thinner and nails growing faster that they used to
  4. Heart rate has become quite fast
  5. Eyes appearing to be staring or bulging
  6. Sweating more than usual
  7. Feeling week often
  8. Everything in the body seems to have speeded up, including bowel functions and metabolism, and weight is going down despite increased appetite
  9. Changed menstrual cycle

Hypothyroidism Symptoms:

  1. Feeling tired and sleepy most of the time, with little energy and stamina
  2. Brain working less efficiently, with foggy thinking and poor memory and concentration
  3. Everything in the body seems to have slowed down, including bowel functions and metabolism, with weight going up
  4. Skin and hair have become dry, pale and puffy, with nails becoming brittle
  5. Feeling cold most of the time {even when other people are feeling comfortable}
  6. Having a lot of negative thought and feeling depressed
  7. Motions and reflexes becoming slow
  8. Blood pressure going up and heart rate is slowing
  9. Cholesterol level going up

Free Doctor’s Consultation

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One of the highlights of the event was getting a free thyroid screening and many of the participants took advantage of this and lined up for the Doctor’s Consultation. As for me and my sister, we were just relieved that we do not have any of the symptoms and did not need to queue for a doctor’s consultation.

You can visit my previous ITAW 2017 post on the instructions on how you can check for goiter and thyroid nodules. You can also visit website for ways on how to do the Neck Check: and If in case you have a goiter or thyroid nodule, your physician may request for additional laboratory exams such as TSH and thyroid hormone levels in the blood. In cases of thyroid nodule, a sample may be taken using Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy to rule out suspicion of malignancy.


My sister, Cel, at the Photobooth

There is also a photobooth so participants can have their souvenir photos taken. The one with the most creative pose also came home with prizes from the event organizers and sponsors.

Kid’s Art Corner

events, health, women health, health and wellness

events, health, women health, health and wellness
Mums who tagged along their little ones got their tiny hands busy at the Kid’s Art Corner while the mums checked out the other fun booths at the event. The creative kids came up with their very own beautiful and colorful version of the butterfly illustration. Why so much butterfly, you asked? It is the symbol of the event as our thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly! The most creative child also got a chance to win prizes.

Eyebrow Threading, Massage, + Hair & Make-up Booths

After the long queues, it was time for the participants to get some well-deserved treats. Mums and ladies lined up to get all dolled up at the Nail Art, Eyebrow Threading, and Hair + Make-up booths. Some others made a bee line for the Massage Booth for a chance to get a nice massage for the tired muscles, while others who still have plenty of energy proceeded to the Kinect booth to shake their bodies and get some much-needed exercise.

“The Thyroid Masquerade” Lecture + Open Forum

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Dr. Teofilo San Luis, Iodine Global Network’s National Coordinator of the Philippines, gave a lecture later that afternoon, and discussed how thyroid diseases can be very tricky for doctors to diagnose that ended up with patients consulting different doctors before getting the correct diagnosis.

As thyroid diseases manifest in different ways, patients end up visiting various doctors due to different symptoms that can be related to an entirely different disease.

Symptoms and signs which make patients go to cardiologists: 

  • Palpitation
  • Hypertension
  • Breathlessness
  • Pedal Edema
  • Abnormal Blood Results {Blood Count, Lipid Profile, Electrolytes}

Symptoms and signs which make patients go to gastroenterologists:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Bloatedness
  • Increase in/loss of appetite

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Symptoms and signs which make patients go to a dermatologist:

  • Too rough/too thin skin
  • Hair loss/ eyebrow loss
  • Redness of face and hands
  • Moist palms {pasmado}
  • Cold hands
  • Orange yellow tint of skin

Symptoms and signs which make patients go to opthalmologists:

  • Too wide eyes
  • Too puffy eyes

Symptoms and signs which make patients go to ENT:

  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Choking sensation
  • Hoarseness of the voice

Symptoms and signs which make patients go to general physicians:

  • Weight gain/loss
  • Heat/cold intolerance
  • Easy fatiguability
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Slow wound healing

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Dr. Wesley Llauderes, President of the Philippine Society of Nuclear Medicine, on the other hand, opened the minds of everyone in the audience to the most common myths about thyroid disorders. These 5 myths include:

  1. Drinking cold drinks causes Goiter
  2. Seafood {with Iodine} is good for Goiter
  3. Goitrogens such as cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli causes Goiter
  4. All goiter is cancerous
  5. Shouting can cause Goiter

The Commitment Pledge

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Finally, the participants are encouraged to make the Commitment Pledge to be  part of the solution and help raise awareness about the importance of thyroid health among their family and peers, while learning to recognize the symptoms of thyroid disorders, and encouraging everyone to have their thyroids checked regularly.

All in all, it was an afternoon well-spent learning all about the thyroid gland and the numerous thyroid disorders. Early prevention, as well as avoiding stress as much as we can, is key in keeping our thyroid and our body healthy. Make sure to have yourselves screened mums in case you are experiencing numerous symptoms enumerated above. You may also visit these sites to read more about thyroid and thyroid awareness:

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  1. Thank you for sharing this, I was reading through the symptoms of hypo and hyper tyrodism and thankfully did not tick bullets! Phew. Event looks fun and full of activities! Glad they hold events in Nova na

    1. I had the same reaction! Was also the reason I shared all the symptoms on the post, so the readers can check for themselves. Good to know you did not tick off anything from the list, either.

  2. My aunt had a thyroid problem and it is good to know that there are events that raise awareness of this ailment.

  3. What a very informative event! I, myself, don’t really know anything about thyroid related diseases. I guess all of us really need to be more aware of these things and get ourselves tested. You’re lucky you were able to attend this event.

    1. It was a privilege to be part of this event. I sure hope they will hold this event regularly so more and more people will learn about thyroid and its disorders.

  4. I was there and I really learned a lot during this event. I would’ve loved the free eyebrow threading too, problem is, there were too many people waiting in line, lol. I was only able to avail of the free massage. Nonetheless, the learnings is what I like the most.

  5. I always thought eating seafood is good for your thyroid and since I love seafood I am at low risk of having goiter and other related thyroid problems. This is really a nice and educational event. I wish I could attend one.

  6. When I was a kid, I saw an ambulant woman vendor with protruding throat and it was too big. I didn’t know if is a goiter or whatever. Whatever it is this awareness of thyroid is highly appreciated. With this many would be helped in the first symptom of the disease.

    1. It is true. A lot will benefit from raising awareness about thyroid and its disorders, especially that they are tricky to diagnose and can very well be a symptom of an entirely different disease altogether.

  7. This was a very informative event! Plus, it had bonus treats like free massage, make-overs, and activities for kids. I would love attending events like this one. But this venue is too far from our place.

    1. It sure was! I am certain everyone in attendance enjoyed it! Too far from my place, too. I hope they will hold it somewhere more accessible next year.

  8. Looking at the symptoms of hyper and hypo, I seem to have some symptoms from both. I guess that means I’m normal? Lol. Seriously though, spreading thyroid awareness through this informative blog post is a good idea. Unlike events, which occur for just hours or days, blog entries are captured for posterity and you can read them even months or years from now.

    1. Exactly! That is also the reason why I included all these details on the post so the readers will learn all about them. If in case you have 5 or more symptoms listed here, it is best to consult with your physician to be on the safe side.

  9. I can see the importance of this event and how the thyroid can affect us without knowing it. I know a few people who suffer of one form or another and I know how much they are struggling. When I was little I used to have a friend who couldn’t lose weight at all because of it and she had to take many medicine as well. It’s important to create awareness as some people might not even know there is a problem but they live with the symptoms every day.

  10. I would love to attend an event like this. I hope they organize one in Bacolod. Actually, I have an overdue appointment with my endocrinologist for a possible thyroid problem. Though I really don’t have the symptoms listed, I had abnormalities with the lab tests.

  11. General public are not very aware of this problem. Awareness comes once the problem has set in deeply.
    These kinds of camps are so useful. You have bulleted and explained the relevant points so well. Very helpful informative post.

    1. I was not well aware of the symptoms of thyroid disorders that I also learned a lot from this event. I just had to share that through my post so my readers will learn about it, too. Thanks! 🙂

  12. what an interesting and meaningful event to raise awareness about thyroid and the possible diseases associated with it and to educate the attendees on how to prevent them. Kudos to all the people behind this awareness event and I just hope people will pay attention to such kind of event .. because as what they say, prevention is better than cure .. they should have enough knowledge about this disease and how to prevent them

  13. It’s great that a lot of people are now aware of these things, What most people do is they raise awareness in form of public speaking plus they also make the people engage so that it will be more interactive and a wonderful learning. I just hope we will have this also in installments and be discussed in the provinces. For sure, I will be attending.

    1. Yes, it will be great if the people behind this event will bring it to the provinces. Surely, more people will benefit from it. Who know, they might just hold one near your place next year?

  14. I actually never really cared about my thyroid and I am amazed that there is such an event like this. Raising awareness about the things we never noticed but are actually very important is great. I hope I can attend to similar events. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    Aica B.

  15. I am so glad that more and more companies, organizations and institutions are making such effort to raise awareness and educate the public with regards to health issues that the society is facing nowadays. I hope this could reach more people especially those in the remote areas. They need this kind of information more as most of those areas don’t have access to any form of media, until now.

    1. It is true. Efforts from the people behind ITAW 2017 are highly commendable. It will really be great if events like this will reach far-flung areas where people need more education and medical assistance.

  16. A few years ago, a doctor suspected I had hypothyroidism. I didn´t know what it really was, got tested, and even had an ultrasound but all negative. Events like this should be more often to remind people to be healthy at all times. Thank you for being a part of this event and for sharing it to us.

    1. Indeed, this event is not only educational but an eye-opener, too, to always be on the lookout for signs of thyroid disorders. It was a privilege to be part of this event and to educate the readers about the thyroid and its diseases.

  17. I guess thyroid problems have been overlooked by a lot of people, including myself. Thanks for these info I know what symptoms to look out for, and of course, take better care of myself. Getting sick is not only physically debilitating, pati finances and relationships apektado. Buti na lang there are awareness programs like this that reminds us to stay healthy.

  18. I think I need to get myself checked for hyperthyrodism just to make sure. I have some of the symptoms though they can just be because I’m overweight. But perhaps it’s what caused it. Been difficult losing weight and I don’t know why I’ve gained so much over the past few years. I’m now googling the repercussions, haha! I can’t watch your vids, photobucket is acting out.

    1. I feel you about the difficulty of losing weight, I am struggling to lose the extra pounds for as long as I can remember 🙁 Hyperthyroidism is rather tricky so it is best to go to a medical practitioner for a proper check-up. Yup, Photobucket’s somehow kidnapped my photos, I need to transfer them somewhere else and update my blog posts, too!

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