The thyroid is the butterfly-shaped gland that is located in the neck, just above the collarbone. That small gland has an important role in the body’s metabolism as it controls the heartbeat rate and how fast the body burns the calories that are consumed.
The gland releases hormones that are important for a child’s growth and development as well. They help control the growth and the structure of bones, sexual development, and many other body functions. By helping the cells convert oxygen and sugar and other body fuels into the energy, these hormones are important in determining if the child’s body will mature as it should.
As the thyroid’s hormones directly affect most body organs, a thyroid condition can cause problems with how the body functions. Thyroid diseases include goiter, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroid cancer and thyroid nodules. According to the Department of Health, these are highly prevalent, yet neglected diseases in the Philippines. A study on Philippine Thyroid Diseases released in 2012 revealed that almost one out of 10 Filipinos is affected by goiter.
The condition causes thyroid enlargement, difficulty breathing and swallowing, a bulging of the neck vein and dizziness when the arms are raised above the head. Goiter is caused by a deficiency of the micronutrient iodine in the body.When iodine levels are deficient, the thyroid gland enlarges and forms a goiter to capture more iodine needed to produce thyroid hormones. Goiter can be a red flag for thyroid cancer.
Aside from goiter, there are other forms of thyroid function abnormalities, which affect around eight percent of the population. An estimated three percent affected by some form of hypothyroidism, and about six percent affected by some form of hyperthyroidism. These thyroid diseases affect women disproportionately, with women affected three times as much as men, the DOH reports. Thyroid cancer is the seventh most common cancer in the Philippines, ranking fourth among females and 17th among males.
Although the effects can be unpleasant or uncomfortable, most thyroid problems can be managed well if properly diagnosed and treated. Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell-Ubial said anyone can now detect signs and symptoms of thyroid cancer through self-check, which involves examining the neck for abnormal lumps. To perform the self-check, one should stand in front of a mirror and sip from a glass of water and observe to see any visible lumps moving up and down as the while drinking. Any lump found below the Adam’s apple area may be
abnormal and should be checked by a doctor.
The DOH secretary advocates regular checkups, a healthy and well-balanced diet, exercise and the avoidance of smoking and alcohol consumption.
Healthway Medical supports the DOH advocacy for early diagnosis and treatment of thyroid conditions through its information dissemination campaign. It also has a team of doctors at its conveniently-located clinics who can help assess patients and administer regular check-ups for thyroid problems.
To find out about Healthway consultations for thyroid conditions, call Customer Care Hotline (02) 751 4929 or visit the Healthway Medical website at www.healthway.com.ph
About Healthway Medical
As the most trusted and preferred network of mall-based clinics in the Philippines, Healthway Medical has revolutionized the way healthcare is being provided to its patients for nearly two decades. The company offers unparalleled customer-centric experience on top of optimum primary and multidisciplinary care from its reputable and experienced doctors, allowing its seven clinics at the Alabang Town Center, Shangri-La Plaza, Market! Market!, Festival Mall, 8 Adriatico Manila, SM The Block and Greenbelt 5 to earn a remarkable standing in the country in terms of preventive healthcare.