Did you know that up to 20 million Americans have thyroid issues? What’s more is that many of these individuals don’t even know that something is wrong. This January, as part of Thyroid Awareness Month, we want to bring attention to the surprisingly common problems that impact people because of their thyroid. Armed with some knowledge, you’ll hopefully be able to ensure you see a medical professional if you suspect you are experiencing problems related to your thyroid.
Where is the thyroid, and what does it do?
Despite its importance, many of us don’t actually know very much about the thyroid. Located in the neck, behind the larynx, this tiny, butterfly-shaped gland plays a key role in many of our body’s processes. Hormones produced by the thyroid affect the functioning of several major organs, as well as critical functions like the regulation of body temperature and heart rate.
Are thyroid issues common?
Unfortunately, thyroid problems are quite common. In fact, thyroid problems are more prevalent than even heart disease or diabetes. Furthermore, thyroid issues are often left undiagnosed, causing people lots of suffering that could otherwise be addressed if there were more awareness. Women are at least five times more likely than men to suffer from thyroid problems. One’s risk of facing thyroid issues also increases with age and if they have a family history of these issues.
Hypothyroidism describes a thyroid that is performing sluggishly. Of the population with thyroid disease, about 80% have hypothyroidism. An underactive thyroid slows down your body’s processes, which can have far-ranging negative effects. Those with hypothyroidism may face weight gain, sleepiness, muscle aches and weakness, sensitivity to cold, dry skin, constipation, and thyroid swelling. Treatment for hypothyroidism can involve taking medications that increase hormone production to healthy levels.
Conversely, hyperthyroidism speeds up your body’s inner workings and can result in other unpleasant health problems. People with hyperthyroidism might experience anxiety, irritability, feverishness, weight loss, difficulty sleeping, and an irregular heartbeat. Hyperthyroidism isn’t as easy to remedy as hypothyroidism. The small number of medications that treat hypothyroidism often come with harmful side effects. In some cases, patients may require radiation treatment or surgical removal of their thyroid, followed by lifelong medication to provide the missing hormones the thyroid was producing.
There are four forms of thyroid cancer, but overall it is fairly rare relative to other types of cancer. The American Cancer Society predicts there will be about 52,000 new cases of thyroid cancer in the U.S. in 2019. Thyroid cancer also has a better survival rate than most other cancers. It can be difficult to spot early on, but symptoms can include swelling or discomfort in the neck, hoarseness, difficulty breathing, and pain or difficulty swallowing.
Thank you for taking the time this Thyroid Awareness Month to learn about the important role this gland plays in each of us. Many individuals are suffering consequences of thyroid problems, but not enough people are aware of these concerns. If you know someone battling thyroid problems, including thyroid cancer, we have awareness gear you can wear to support them!
Each January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, with efforts made to inform individuals of the details of this particular cancer. Keep reading to learn some more important facts that you can share with friends and loved ones.
Sadly, the American Cancer Society predicts that over 13,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2019. The organization also predicts that around 4,000 women will lose their battle with this cancer in the coming year. While there are still far too many women being harmed, the rates of women dying from cervical cancer have dropped dramatically over the last several decades. This is due in large part to the use of the Pap test, which can help detect precancers that can potentially be harmful in the future.
Testing for cervical cancer early on and regularly greatly increases the chances of detection and prevention. Cervical cancer typically presents around midlife, with the most frequently diagnosed group being 35-44 year-olds. However, women outside of this age range can also develop cervical cancer.
There are multiple risk-increasing factors for cervical cancer. The National Institutes of Health notes that nearly all cases of cervical cancer stem from being infected with human papillomavirus (HPV). Other risk factors include smoking, STDs, family history, and low economic status. Although cervical cancer is very treatable in the early stages, access to healthcare and paying attention to possible symptoms are vital to the treatment process.
No matter how healthy they may seem, it’s important for every woman to have routine check-ups to test for diseases like cervical cancer. The most effective tests offer a way to detect troubling developments in early stages, which greatly increases survival rates. Whether it be our daughters, mothers, sisters, or friends, we all have important women in our lives who can benefit from increased awareness and knowledge. Don’t let a loved one succumb to a disease like cervical cancer when routine check-ups can be such powerful preventative tools!
Now that you know a little more about cervical cancer, we hope you will spread your knowledge to inform others. If anyone in your group of family and friends is currently battling cervical cancer, make sure they know you’re in their corner. MyWalkGear has a large selection of personalized apparel to help raise awareness and show support to those who are fighting this disease.
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