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    CHICAGO, Oct. 23 /PRNewswire/ via Individual Inc. — A
    nationwide women’s study reveals a significant lack of
    understanding about thyroid disease, even among those who
    experience three or more of its common symptoms. Not
    knowing about the symptoms or the consequences of thyroid
    disease may help explain why more than half of the
    estimated 13 million cases of thyroid dysfunction in America remain undiagnosed(A)

    Tackling this widespread unawareness, the American
    Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) and Olympic gold
    medalist Gail Devers have joined forces to launch “Your
    Thyroid: Gland Central,” a nationwide campaign designed
    to help answer the need for thyroid education. Chicago is
    the first “station stop” in a nationwide Gland Central
    whistle-stop tour, which was kicked off in New York City
    on October 8.

    “Gland Central is a wake up call to American women about
    a disorder that affects five to eight times as many women
    as men,” says Nancy R.G. Church, M.D., a women’s health
    specialist at Wellness Connections in Chicago and a
    member of the AMWA. “The thyroid hormone influences
    essentially every organ, tissue and cell in the body. And
    when thyroid disease goes undetected and untreated, it
    can elevate cholesterol levels, cause long-term organ
    complications and may lead to irregular menstrual cycles,
    infertility and worsening osteoporosis.”

    The initiative seeks to alert women about the thyroid’s
    “central” role in the body, enable them to recognize
    early signs and symptoms, familiarize them with high risk
    groups, and finally, to encourage them to get a simple
    test for thyroid dysfunction.

    “We are pleased that Chicago women will benefit directly
    from this important health campaign and hope that they
    begin to recognize the tell-tale symptoms of thyroiddisease,” adds Dr. Church.

    Teaming up with AMWA to build thyroid awareness is
    three-time Olympic track and field gold medalist Gail
    Devers, who personally struggled to overcome thyroid
    disease. “Thyroid disease could have cost me my dreams if
    I had let it go undetected,” says Devers. “Looking back,
    I was exhausted all the time and my body felt like it was
    out of control, but now with treatment I feel perfectly
    fine. No woman should have to suffer what I went through
    — and hopefully, she won’t if she knows the signs and
    symptoms of thyroid disorder to look for.”

    The importance of detecting thyroid dysfunction is
    supported by a recent study published in the Journal of
    the American Medical Association (JAMA). The study
    proposes routine testing for mild thyroid failure among
    the general adult population, concluding that thyroid
    screening is as cost-effective as screening for more
    commonly tested medical conditions such as high
    cholesterol, high blood pressure and breast cancer.

    “What the JAMA study shows is that testing for thyroid
    disorder is a cost- effective health strategy in
    preventing mild cases of underactive thyroid from getting
    worse,” says E. Chester Ridgway, M.D., division head of
    endocrinology at the University of Colorado. “Thyroid
    testing makes sense for the adult population at large,
    particularly for those who are at high risk such as women
    and the elderly.”
    The nationwide women’s study, conducted by Louis Harris,
    is titled “Tracking Fatigue in America.” It involved over
    1,000 women aged 40 and older, the group at greatest risk
    for having a thyroid disorder. Aimed at determining how
    much and how often American women experience fatigue (a
    common sign of both over- and underactive thyroid
    conditions), the study found that 41 percent of women had
    fatigue for no obvious reason in the past year. Of these
    women, 57 percent said they experience fatigue three or
    more times a week. Other major findings include:

    — Nearly two-thirds of women (65 percent) do not know
    what hypothyroidism

    means (underactive thyroid).

    — More than half of women (51 percent) experienced three
    or more symptoms

    commonly associated with hypothyroidism over the past
    commonly associated

    with hypothyroidism, 75 percent did not discuss all these
    symptoms with

    a doctor.

    Thyroid Disorder Difficult to Detect

    Hypothyroidism is the most common form of thyroid
    disorder. It is at least four times as prevalent as
    hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid. Yet,
    hypothyroidism, often remains undiagnosed because its
    symptoms are easily confused with other common problems
    associated with aging, menopause or stress. “So many of
    my patients simply assume that their fatigue and other
    physical problems such as mood swings, depression and
    muscle weakness are due to daily pressures,” says Dr.
    Church. “Because of the vague nature of these symptoms,
    people often don’t suspect there might be a medical
    reason for them.”

    Fortunately, even mild hypothyroidism can be detected
    with a sensitive TSH test, and can be safely and
    inexpensively treated with daily synthetic thyroid
    replacement hormones.
    “Thyroid disorders often go undiagnosed partly because
    information is not reaching women,” says Dr. Church.
    “With Gland Central, we’re driving home the importance of
    the thyroid gland with a clear and compelling message:
    the thyroid is central to the normal functioning of the

    The campaign offers free thyroid testing in each city.
    Following the Chicago event, “Your Thyroid: Gland
    Central” will continue to Atlanta and Los Angeles in
    November, and throughout other U.S. cities during 1997.

    “Your Thyroid: Gland Central” is sponsored by the
    American Medical Women’s Association, a national
    organization of 13,000 women physicians and medical
    students, dedicated to promoting women’s health,
    improving the professional development and personal
    well-being of its members, and increasing the influence
    of women in all aspects of the medical profession.

    TSH testing for this program is being made possible by a
    grant from Bayer Corporation, Diagnostics Division, part
    of Bayer’s worldwide Business Group Diagnostics. The
    nationwide campaign is being underwritten by Knoll
    Pharmaceutical Company.

    (A) Wood, Lawrence C., David S. Cooper, and E. Chester
    Ridgway, M.D., “Your Thyroid, A Home Reference,” (New
    York: Ballantine Books, 1995). SOURCE American Medical
    Women’s Association

    Understanding ‘Gland Central’

    — Of the women who experienced three or more symptoms

    Key Findings From Women’s Study

    Post count: 93172

    Personally, I would rather have not known – just died happy – you know – quality, not quantity.

    I got the name of a chelation outfit. Got it from a massuese, of all places. I have an appointment Nov. 4.


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