World Thyroid Day is an annual awareness day that was established in 2008 during the congress of the European Thyroid Association (ETA). It focuses on increasing awareness of thyroid health and educating about prevention and treatment of thyroid diseases.
The thyroid gland, often referred to as simply the thyroid, is one of the largest endocrine glands. This butterfly-shaped gland is located in the neck. Hormones produced by the thyroid influence critical body functions and regulate metabolism, therefore thyroid health is extremely important.
Thyroid disorders are very common worldwide, they affect people of all ages and have a large range of symptoms. The most common thyroid disorders include hyperthyroidism (abnormally increased thyroid activity), hypothyroidism (abnormally decreased thyroid activity), thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid gland) and thyroid cancer. They are often caused by iodine deficiency.
World Thyroid Day aims at increasing public awareness of thyroid deceases, namely the importance of their timely diagnosis, treatment and prevention. World Thyroid Day events and activities are coordinated by the European Thyroid Association, the American Thyroid Association, the Latin American Thyroid Society, and the Asia & Oceania Thyroid Association.
Worldwide, around 200 million people suffer from thyroid disorders, with almost 50% of cases remaining undiagnosed. This has consequences for health and well-being, since this little organ regulates processes that are essential to survival. Creating and raising awareness of thyroid disorders is the aim of International Thyroid Awareness Week (May 22 to 28), which Merck is also supporting and is being held for the ninth time.
“It’s not you. It‘s your thyroid” is the theme of this year’s Thyroid Awareness Week. With this theme, Thyroid Federation International (TFI) – the initiator of Thyroid Awareness Week – wants to make it clear that thyroid disorders lead to symptoms that are often misinterpreted by those affected.