Thyroid unfairly blamed for health problems
Thyroid disorders are on the rise, but with the increase has come a tendency to incorrectly ascribe many health problems to the tiny gland located at the base of the neck, says endocrinologist Dr. Ernest Asamoah of highly rated Diabetes & Endocrinology Consultants in Indianapolis.
The most common disorder, hypothyroidism, occurs when the gland does not produce enough hormone. The symptoms, such as fatigue, also can indicate other issues, such as depression, Asamoah says. “Doctors and patients have to have an open mind. Sometimes I have to treat two or three things together to get people where they want to be.”
56,460 ‑ Estimated new cases of thyroid cancer in the U.S. this year.
30 million ‑ Estimated number of Americans with thyroid disorders. More than half remain undiagnosed.
4.6 ‑ Percentage of U.S. population over the age of 12 with hypothyroidism, the most common thyroid disorder.
1 in 8 ‑ Odds of a woman developing a thyroid disorder in her lifetime.
22.4 ‑ Percentage of women over age 65 using medication to treat thyroid disorders, more than double the percentage in 1994.
5 ‑ Common symptoms of hypothyroidism: Fatigue, weight gain despite not eating more food, sensitivity to cold, joint pain and constipation. These can develop slowly, and also may indicate other health problems.
35 ‑ Recommended age women should start testing for thyroid problems, and every five years thereafter.
18.6 ‑ Incidence rate per 100,000 of thyroid cancer among women, almost double the rate in 1999. It is the fastest-rising cancer in both men and women.
99.9 ‑ Five-year survival rate for localized thyroid cancer.
Sources: National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Cancer Institute; American Thyroid Association; American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists; womenshealth.gov.