May is Thyroid Awareness Month in Australia, which incorporates International Thyroid Awareness Week (22-28 May) and World Thyroid Day (25 May).
May is Thyroid Awareness Month in Australia, which incorporates International Thyroid Awareness Week (22-28 May) and World Thyroid Day (25 May). Kevin Farmer

It's not you, it's your thyroid

THYROID Foundation Ltd (ATF) is calling on Northern NSW residents to be more aware of their thyroid health this May and to see their doctor for thyroid testing.

The 'It's not YOU, it's your thyroid' initiative alerts Australians to symptoms such as weight loss or weight gain, sweating or dry skin, fatigue or depression, and to explore medical tests with their doctor to rule out a thyroid disorder.

At the same time, the ATF is also urging all doctors to listen to their patients and ensure they are able to either correctly identify or rule out the presence of a thyroid disorder.

Beverley Garside, Chief Executive Officer of the ATF said "critical to identifying the disease is listening to patients about their symptoms and understanding how thyroid disease can affect different people”.

Approximately 1 in 7 Australians will be diagnosed with a thyroid disorder and there's an estimated one million Australians who are living with an undiagnosed thyroid condition.

Ms Garside said a patients thyroid should be thoroughly investigated if there is family history of thyroid or auto-immune disease.

"It is critical that doctors are proactive...often thyroid symptoms are misdiagnosed as menopause, mental health issues or advancing age”, she said.

World-renowned Australian Endocrinologist, Professor Creswell Eastman AM, agrees that thyroid disorders can cause a complex array of psychological symptoms as well as physical illnesses.

"There is very low understanding about the psychosocial impacts on patients of living with overactive or underactive thyroids or thyroid cancers, which often leads to an over-reliance on the results of function tests alone”, Professor Eastman said.

"Even when some thyroid function tests return a level in the normal range, it doesn't always mean that the thyroid disorder is well managed,” he said.

For more information, or to support the ATF, please visit: www.thyroidfoundation.org.au


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