Monday, January 6, 2014
January is Thyroid Awareness Month
January is Thyroid Awareness Month. Did you know that? I didn't. They even have a ribbon! The paisley ribbon was chosen because it resembles a cross-section of thyroid follicles, the tiny spheres that make up the gland. My family has been impacted with a variety of thyroid disorders.
Years ago my mom, who was always a pretty heavy woman, lost a good deal of weight and it was discovered that she had a huge growth on her thyroid. At the time we didn't know that it was a goiter. It was only after she had surgery to remove it, that we received the good news that she did not have thyroid cancer, but a thyroid goiter. She took thyroid medications for the remainder of her life.
My grand daughter, Harley, (the one who lives with us) was only 5 years only when she developed a thyroid goiter. She, too, takes medication which she will continue for the rest of her life. Or at least until she reaches her full adult growth and then we may stop for a brief time and monitor her blood levels to see if she needs to continue to take the medication. I have read that there are as many as 2% of all school aged children with un-diagnosed thyroid disorders and that females dominate that percentage.
My middle brother takes thyroid medication and so did my husband Richard. About 10 years ago I had an episode of thyroiditis (which is a malfunction in the immune system.) Luckily I no longer take medication. I was very sensitive to the medication and it would either send my blood levels too high or I would remain too low. So I just stopped and the levels soon leveled off and return to normal. Who knows why.
For those who are not familiar with thyroid disease the thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that lies at the base of the neck. It influences the functions of many of the body's organs such as the heart,brain, liver, kidneys, and skin. It is estimated that 15 million Americans have un-diagnosed thyroid disease. It affects one in eight women between the ages of 35-65 and one in five over the age of 65. It is very easy to diagnose with a simple blood test. If you are interested in learning more about this disorder you can visit this site. Or just type thyroid disease into Google and you will learn more than you ever wanted to know.