- Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and Thyroid Federation International (TFI) launch 10th global campaign to raise awareness of thyroid disorders and help improve diagnoses
- Results of recent survey show a need for faster diagnosis
- Patients perceive their journey to diagnosis as stressful
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, today announced its support of the 10th International Thyroid Awareness Week (ITAW), which runs from May 21 to 27. The annual awareness campaign, which is run in collaboration between Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and TFI aims to highlight some of the lesser-known aspects of thyroid disorders.
“Because thyroid disorders are still poorly understood and often go undiagnosed, our collaboration with TFI aims to ensure that people have the information they need to recognize symptoms associated with potential thyroid disorders,” said Francois Feig, Head of the Global Business Franchise General Medicine & Endocrinology at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. “Patients can then seek advice from their doctor who can perform the necessary examination, usually including a simple blood test, to check the function of the thyroid gland.”
Around 1.6 billion people worldwide are thought to be at risk of a thyroid disorder, with hundreds of millions of people living with a thyroid condition right now.1 Up to 60% of those living with a thyroid disorder are currently undiagnosed and may be needlessly struggling through their everyday lives without knowing the root cause of their symptoms.2
“Right now, there are hundreds of millions of people living with the burden of a thyroid disorder, without having ever received a diagnosis and appropriate treatment. For this year’s International Thyroid Awareness Week, now in its 10th year, we’re calling for change worldwide,” said Ashok Bhaseen, President of TFI. “We want to make a positive difference to the lives of millions who are impacted by thyroid disorders.”
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and TFI are encouraging people to understand the thyroid’s function and recognize symptoms – to help reduce the amount of time and stress a diagnosis can take – with its latest ITAW campaign: ‘Time to Check Your Body’s Control Panel.’ The campaign highlights the thyroid gland’s important role in the body as a ‘master controller’ of our metabolism, and provides information that may help spot the signs when it might be malfunctioning.
To mark this year’s ITAW, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and TFI commissioned an international survey among thyroid disorder patients, which suggests that the journey to diagnosis can be difficult and distressing for many affected by thyroid disorders.
The survey – focusing on hypothyroidism patients in six countries – revealed that 70% of hypothyroidism patients found the road to diagnosis a stressful one.3 In fact, 30% said that getting their thyroid disorder diagnosis was as stressful, if not more so, than going on a first date,3 and 28% said it was as stressful as struggling to pay their bills.3
Before receiving a diagnosis, most respondents were completely unaware their symptoms were being caused by a thyroid disorder (70%).3 Additionally, many patients waited months or years before receiving their diagnosis – 40% had to wait between four months and two years.3
The survey also revealed the variety of ways in which an undiagnosed thyroid disorder can affect a person’s daily life; with almost half of respondents (49%) saying their physical appearance was impacted before diagnosis.3 Additionally, 31% of respondents felt their confidence was affected by their undiagnosed thyroid disorder.3
Campaign materials can be accessed via the campaign website at www.thyroidaware.com. These materials include a brochure and a symptom checker for thyroid disorders that provide information to help people identify if they could be suffering unnecessarily.
ITAW is an established and highly regarded global awareness campaign endorsed by the American Thyroid Association (ATA), the European Thyroid Association (ETA), and the Chinese Society of Endocrinology (CSE). For more information, visit the ITAW website: www.thyroidaware.com.