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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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is a 30-something work-at-home mum who blogs in between home chores + child-minding. i love coffee, books + reading, collecting lovely postcards, + spending loads of time outdoors with my little man.