On Wednesday April 13 at 6:30 PM the citizens of Baltimore and nearby communities will have an opportunity to hear about common thyroid problems as well as new information from current thyroid research as thyroid specialists from across America join to present an interactive Educational Thyroid Forum at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Baltimore.
The thyroid specialists are in Boston to attend the Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid Association. The Patient Forum for the citizens of Baltimore is one of a series of community outreach educational programs presented by the nonprofit Thyroid Foundation of America, Thyroid Cancer Survivors Association (ThyCA), the Light of Life Foundation for patients with thyroid cancer, in association with the American Thyroid Association.
More than nine million women and four million men have unrecognized thyroid dysfunction. By the time a woman reaches the age of fifty, she has a one in ten chance of developing hypothyroidism. One in twenty women develop an over- or underactive thyroid in the months immediately after pregnancy. If the condition is unrecognized, it may remain as a permanent disability for years with symptoms mistaken for other common problems such as anxiety, hyperactivity, depression, or chronic fatigue. The condition can be diagnosed by a simple blood test for Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), the pituitary hormone that normally controls thyroid function. If your thyroid is underactive, TSH levels rise above normal. If your thyroid is overactive, or if you are taking too much thyroid hormone, your TSH level will be low. Thyroid nodules and cancer will be discussed as well. Most Americans will develop a thyroid nodule in their lifetime. Fortunately the vast majority of nodules are harmless and there are good techniques for telling which of them contain cancer. The experts will discuss these tests, as well as new treatments for cancer of the thyroid.
"We hope that through these educational programs we can teach patients the symptoms of thyroid disorders and other clues to tell them whether they are at risk for a thyroid problem at special times such as following pregnancy and after age fifty," says Dr. Lawrence Wood, President and Medical Director of the Thyroid Foundation of America. "We are extremely pleased to have such an eminent group of thyroid specialists to comment upon presentations made by thyroid patients. The specialists will also review other important issues such as the growing problem of iodine deficiency in the United States and the risks of thyroid nodules and cancers in the event of nuclear reactor accident."
According to Dr. Wood, you should plan to attend the Thyroid Forum if anyone in your family has ever had a thyroid problem, since these disorders tend to run in families. You should also attend if you or family members have thyroid-related conditions. These include autoimmune disorders such as juvenile (Type I) diabetes, pernicious anemia due to a lack of vitamin B12, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis. Prematurely gray hair (one gray hair before the age of 30) and bipolar disease also increase a family’s risk for thyroid problems.
Although there will be no charge for the Forum, those who plan to attend are advised to register by calling the Thyroid Foundation of America at 800-832-8321. This also helps the physician and patient groups sponsoring the Forum to be sure that they have enough free educational materials for the audience. These groups will have displays attended by knowledgeable representatives who will answer questions about their programs of education and support for thyroid patients.
“We try not to turn anyone away,” says Dr. Wood, “but thyroid problems are so common that we are often surprised at the size of the gathering. Therefore, registration is very helpful. The Thyroid Foundation of America is honored to be joining with physicians and educators from these important organizations and pleased to give the citizens of Baltimore an opportunity to learn about these very important thyroid disorders.”