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PHD to Offer Thyroid Screening Day
11/12/2002

DALLAS – Did you know that nearly 13 million Americans suffer from thyroid disease(1), yet half of them still don’t know it?  In order to counteract this lack of awareness, the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) has joined with Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas (PHD) to launch a new campaign, “Hiding in Plain Sight: Thyroid Undercover.”  This one-day program offers free thyroid tests and educational information to the community from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 23, at the hospital’s Fogelson Forum building in Haggar Hall on the ground level.

“The prevalence of undiagnosed thyroid disease in the United States is shockingly high – particularly since it is a condition that is easy to diagnose and treat,” says Hossein Gharib, M.D., FACE, and president of AACE. “AACE is thrilled that Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas is helping to raise the awareness of this disparity to North Texans and providing them the opportunity to gather information about, be properly tested and potentially treated for thyroid disease.”

About Thyroid Disease
If the thyroid gland doesn’t work properly neither does the rest of your body.  The thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck just below the Adam’s apple and above the collarbone, produces hormones that influence essentially every organ, tissue and cell in the body(2).  If thyroid disease is left untreated, it can lead to such complications as elevated cholesterol levels and subsequent heart disease, infertility, muscle weakness, osteoporosis and, in extreme cases, coma or death(3).  Thyroid disease is of particular concern to women, since they are five times more likely than men to be diagnosed with the condition(4).

How Thyroid Disease is Diagnosed
A simple blood test called the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test can help determine whether someone is suffering from an overactive or underactive thyroid – in many cases, even before patients begin to experience symptoms(5).  The sensitive TSH test is generally considered to provide the most accurate measure of thyroid gland activity.  With this test, physicians can often diagnose thyroid disorders at an earlier stage, thereby offering minimal disruption to a patient’s current lifestyle.

“By making available the TSH test free to the community, through the Hiding in Plain Sight program, PHD is enabling Dallas area residents to increase their general awareness of thyroid disease,” says Stephen L. Aronoff, M.D., endocrinologist on the medical staff of PHD.  

“Because of increased risk factors for thyroid disease, testing is particularly important for women over age 35, people with a family history of thyroid disease or those who may be experiencing some of the common symptoms of thyroid disease.  Those symptoms can include fatigue, weight loss or gain, sensitivity to heat or cold, or unexplained memory loss(6,7),” added Aronoff.

While the TSH blood test is the most sensitive and accurate diagnostic tool for thyroid disease, AACE also recommends that patients perform a simple self-examination called the Neck Check.  This easy, quick self-exam, unveiled by AACE in 1997, helps Americans detect if they have an enlarged thyroid gland and should speak with their doctor about further testing.  For step-by-step instructions on how to perform the Neck Check, visit the AACE web site at www.aace.com

About Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas
Established in 1966, Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas (PHD) celebrates 36 years of service, and is the flagship hospital of Presbyterian Healthcare System.  The hospital’s recognized programs include those for women and infants, cardiovascular, orthopaedic, neuroscience, digestive diseases and surgical services.  PHD is also a regional referral center for patients outside the Dallas community.  The 934-bed hospital employs approximately 3,600 people and maintains a medical staff of more than 1,200 physicians. 

About the AACE
The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) was established in 1991 and is the country’s largest professional organization of clinical endocrinologists.  Its membership consists of more than 4,100 clinical endocrinologists devoted to providing care for patients with endocrine disorders.  The association strives to improve the public’s understanding and awareness of endocrine diseases and the added value of the clinical endocrinologist in the diagnosis and treatment of these diseases.

End Notes

  1. Wood M.D., Lawrence C Your Thyroid: A Home Reference, Ballantine Books, New York, 1995 (pp. 217)
  2. Wood M.D., Lawrence C Your Thyroid: A Home Reference, Ballantine Books, New York, 1995  (pp. 1-3)
  3. Singer M.D., P.A. Treatment Guidelines for Patients with Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism, JAMA 1995: 273: 808-812.
  4. Wood M.D., Lawrence C Your Thyroid: A Home Reference, Ballantine Books, New York, 1995  (pp. 216-17)
  5. Rosenthal, M. Sara The Thyroid Sourcebook, Lowell House, Los Angeles, 1996 (pp. 37-8)
  6. Ladenson M.D., Paul W. "American Thyroid Association Guidelines for Detection of Thyroid Dysfunction," Arch Intern Med 2000: 160: 1573-75
  7. "AACE Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Evaluation and Treatment of Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism," Endocrine Practice, Vol.1, No. 1, Jan/Feb. 1995

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