International Thyroid Awareness Week 2015

Welcome to the official website of the seventh International Thyroid Awareness Week. Activities within this week will begin on May 25 and continue through May 31, 2015.

This year’s campaign is called “HYPOTHRYOIDISM – unmasking the causes and symptoms” and aims to alert millions of people across the world that they could unknowingly be suffering from an under-active thyroid gland which, at best significantly reduces quality of life and, at worst, can be fatal.

Feeling tired or depressed, weight gain, feeling physically cold, constipation and difficulty in conceiving can be, separately or together, symptoms of hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid gland) – a condition which slows down all the body’s functions. For millions of people around the world these symptoms are often dismissed as a result of stress, aging, lifestyle changes or menopause. It is rare that they are attributed to thyroid dysfunction.

Part of the campaign will stress that recognizing hypothyroidism is difficult because the symptoms can easily be explained away or masquerade as another disease.

Thyroid diseases are very common affecting over 300 million people globally, however, it is estimated that as many as half don’t know that there is anything wrong with their thyroid gland. For a very small gland located at the front of the neck, it plays a very big part controlling the body’s metabolism and any dysfunction of the thyroid gland has a profound impact on health and well-being.

Thyroid disorders are eight to ten times more common in women than men and there are certain times in a woman’s life when she is most vulnerable to thyroid problems such as during pregnancy and the menopause. The aim of this year’s campaign is to raise awareness of hypothyroidism to encourage people to recognize the symptoms and seek medical help.

As President of the Thyroid Federation International (TFI) I encourage you to think carefully about whether you, or someone you know, might be suffering from hypothyroidism and, if you suspect this to be the case, go to your doctor and ask to be screened with a simple blood test. Also if you feel any lump or hardness in your neck just check that out with your physicians. In the hands of a health care professional thyroid disease is highly manageable. TFI and Merck are joining forces to improve the diagnosis of hypothyroidism and reduce the amount of unnecessary suffering that thyroid dysfunction causes.

I would like to thank Merck for their generous support throughout the seven years of the campaign’s existence as well as Bayer and Genzyme for supporting us this year and, of course, thank you for your attention.

Ashok Bhaseen

TFI President

Thyroid Federation International is a global organization which aims to work for the benefit of those affected by thyroid dysfunctions throughout the world.

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