Astounding Facts about Diabetes
When to check for thyroid disease?
The thyroid is a gland situated in your neck. It produces hormones that are considered “fuel” to the body. It can have different presentations
- Changes in shape, size or consistency
- Changes in hormonal secretion:
- It could be functioning faster than usual, giving a state of hyperactivity
- It could be functioning slower than usual, giving a state of laziness
You may be suffering from hyperthyroidism if you have any of the following:
- Weight loss
- Hair loss
- Abnormal menstruation
- Heat intolerance
- Fatigue and weakness.
You may be suffering from hypothyroidism if you have any of the following:
- Weight gain
- Puffy face
- Puffy hands and feet
- Hair loss
- Brittle nails
- Abnormal menstruation
- Cold intolerance
- Excessive sleepiness
Tip: Do not ignore new “weird” signs and symptoms, they might be related to the thyroid gland!
Should you visit your doctor for a missed period?
Apart from pregnancy, many factors may influence a woman’s body, leading to abnormal menstrual cycles. Doctors have set 6 months as the limit after which testing should be done, but the definition might have changes.
The condition affects 3 to 4% of women and has many causes:
- Rapid weight gain or loss: associated with initial missed periods which resolve
- Intense or long-term stress
- Excessive exercise
- Hormonal disorders like
- Excess prolactin
- Thyroid abnormalities
- Cortisol abnormalities
- Eating disorder, mainly anorexia
Tip: visit your OBGYN or endocrinologist after 3 missed periods
How can we preserve our bones?
Although strong, our skeleton is put under stress every day, and is at risk for damage, if we do not follow healthy measures. Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones become brittle. It is more common in women after menopause, but can affect younger women, as well as men.
How to keep our bones healthy?
- Have a healthy diet, rich in calcium (1000 – 2500 mg daily) as well as vitamin D. Although we live in a very sunny country, the Lebanese population is at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
- Keep a healthy weight, avoiding abdominal fat, and having a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 kg/m2
- Keep an active lifestyle with strength training, at least 30 minutes 3 times a week (including jogging, elliptical, tennis, jump rope…)
- Know your family history: some people are at a higher risk of osteoporosis. Prevention is always better than cure!
- In patients taking medication, it is important to discuss their side effects with your physician, especially with drugs like steroids, immunosuppressants, among others.
- In women post menopause, it is important to undergo an osteoporosis testing after 65 years old.
- In the elderly population, the two main causes for falls and fractures are cluttered and risky flooring in homes, as well as vision problems. Make sure the house is well-lit, free from clutter and slippery floors. Install ramps and aids to prevent slippage, especially in areas such as the bathroom.
Tip: preserve your bones early, and they will last longer!
How to survive working from home?
Even before being quarantined, many were already working from home. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many have seen themselves forced to be confined and adapting to a new way of life.
Here are some tips to make working from home healthy and more productive:
- Create a designated workspace: this area should be AWAY from your bedroom and, if possible, separate from the living space where your family spends their time
- Change out of your pajamas and get ready for the day: the more you keep a healthy professional routine, the better you cope with confinement
- Give yourself time during the morning to keep your routine, for example having a coffee on the balcony
- Stay hydrated
- Schedule your break times for lunch and a post meal walk
- Stretch away from your desk every hour
- Have a “clock-out” time to avoid overworking yourself
- Keep a healthy physical activity routine: either walk outdoors or enroll in an online sports class
- Make time for self-care: wash regularly, shave, use your creams and lotions
- Connect with your friend either over the phone or on videocall, and have a good support system
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule.
Tip: Confinement is difficult, but it will be over. Make sure you are able to cope!
June is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month
Many people present to their specialists either with a palpable nodule in the neck, or a finding of nodules on the thyroid while checking for something else.
It is important to know that not every nodule is a cancer, but some findings may put some patients more at risk for that than others, such as:
- A family history of thyroid cancer
- A personal history of cancer somewhere else
- Irradiation to the head or neck during childhood, such as the treatment for cancers
- Exposure to ionizing radiation such a from nuclear plant catastrophes or nuclear weapons.
What do when you find a nodule or one is found on imaging?
- Do not panic!
- Visit your endocrinologist who will take a full personal and family history, palpate your thyroid, and require further testing
- The best test for the thyroid gland is an ultrasound that will show nodules
- Most of the nodules are NOT cancerous
- IF cancer is found, thyroid cancer is called the “good cancer” because it tends to have a happy ending.
Tip: Do not panic if you find nodules in your thyroid!