H OW important is iodized salt in preventing thyroid disorders such as goiter? The Department of Health (DOH) said that iodized salt is "vital" to prevent thyroid disorders as the department led the nation in observing the Goiter Awareness Week (GAW) 2019, with the theme, "Goiter Sugpuin, Isip Patalinuhin, Iodized Salt Gamitin." Partners and stakeholders like the Philippine Thyroid Association, Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Iodine Global Network, National Nutrition Council and DOST-FNRI will also disseminate information and educate the public on the effects of iodine deficiency. According to the 2012 Philippine Thyroid Diseases Study, the prevalence of thyroid function abnormalities in the Philippines is 8.53 percent among the adult population, and among the thyroid disorders, goiter is most common with a prevalence rate of 10.12 percent. Meanwhile, the 2013 National Nutrition Survey revealed that about 5.8 million Filipinos were afflicted with thyroid disorders in different clinical presentations. These manifest as goiter, thyroid malignancy, mental deficiency, physical deformities, congenital hypothyroidism, cretinism and reproductive failure. If untreated, these disorders could lead to the detrimental reduction of intellectual and physical capacity, and even death among susceptible individuals. People with goiter often have an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland, which can lead to the appearance of a mass or swelling in the neck. The signs and symptoms of goiter can be varied and may include tiredness, a decrease or increase in weight, low or increased appetite, depression, dryness of skin and hair, sleepiness, diarrhea or constipation, and menstrual irregularities (for women). People who experience these symptoms should immediately see a doctor. Since iodine deficiency is the most common cause of goiter in the Philippines, people are advised to use iodized salts in their meals and to eat food rich in iodine such as dairy products, seafood (shellfish and seaweeds), meats, bread and eggs. Special attention should be provided to pregnant women because iodine deficiency during this critical period can cause premature birth, miscarriage or delivery of a baby with low intellect. To address this health concern, the DOH, in collaboration with different organizations, conducted a Partner's Forum and Basic Thyroid Course on January 23 in Baguio City at Venus Parkview Hotel. The campaign aims to disseminate the ill effects, prevention, and signs and symptoms of goiter or bosyo in Filipino. GAW is observed every fourth week of January of every year declared under Presidential Proclamation 1188 on December 11,2006. Claudeth Mocon-Ciriaco


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