World Thyroid Day: 6 Signs You Should See an Endocrinologist

Did you know there's a World Thyroid Day? Diseases of the thyroid gland affect millions of people worldwide.
World Thyroid Day: 6 Signs You Should See an Endocrinologist
Leonardo Biolatto

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Leonardo Biolatto.

Written by Jonatan Menguez

Last update: 10 June, 2023

Every May 25, World Thyroid Day is celebrated to raise awareness of the importance of treating diseases related to the thyroid gland. It’s an opportunity to disseminate informative, preventive, and treatment information for thyroid disorders, which affect millions of people around the world.

Why is there a World Thyroid Day?

Different international medical organizations use May 25th every year to raise awareness about the diseases that affect the thyroid gland. It’s important that these pathologies are treated in time, as they affect many different functions in our bodies. A study published in the medical journal Advances in Therapy suggests that hypothyroidism affects up to 5% of the general population.

In addition, the same publication estimates that another 5% is undiagnosed, which makes awareness and dissemination of the symptoms of hypothyroidism essential. In this sense, the European Thyroid Association (ETA) proposed May 25th as the date for World Thyroid Day.

This is the same day on which the organization was founded in 1965. Since 2008, other related medical entities, such as the Thyroid International Federation (TIF) and the American Thyroid Association (ATA).

What is a thyroid disease?

A thyroid disease is any disease that affects the thyroid gland. This organ is in charge of producing thyroid hormones, which are involved in many different functions in our bodies. A change of this type can manifest itself with cardiological, gastroenterological, and even psychiatric symptoms.

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland of the endocrine system, which is located under the larynx. In adults, it measures between 4 and 6 centimeters (around 2 inches), and the main hormones it produces are T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine).

Some of its functions are the following.

  • To generate appetite
  • To produce energy
  • To help sleep
  • To regulate heart rate
  • To control body temperature

What are the main disorders?

According to data published by the American Thyroid Association (ATA), it’s estimated that more than 12% of Americans develop thyroid disease during their lifetime. This number amounts to 20 million people, up to 60% of whom are unaware of their condition.

The main diseases affecting this gland are the following:

  • Hyperthyroidism: A disorder caused by excessive production of thyroid hormones.
  • Hypothyroidism: This is caused by low production of thyroid hormones.
  • Thyroiditis: An inflammation of the gland.
  • Multinodular goiter: Irregular growth of the gland with enlargement of its size due to the presence of nodules.
  • Thyroid cancer: According to data analyzed by the Indian Journal of Surgical Oncology, in 2020 it was the tenth most common cancer in the world.

6 signs that you should visit the endocrinologist

According to a study by the Revista de Ciencias Médicas de Pinar del Río, some risk factors intervene in the appearance of thyroid diseases. For example, advanced age, stress, low or excessive intake of iodine, and smoking, among others.

Apart from these factors, everyone should be attentive to certain signs that show the importance of consulting an endocrinologist. These are the following.

1. A general medical consultation didn’t solve the problem

A primary care physician is trained to treat symptoms and diagnose thyroid disease. However, in cases where treatment doesn’t achieve the desired results, it’s important to be referred to a specialist. Endocrinologists are the experts you’ll need to consult.

2. Fatigue and extreme tiredness

A constant lack of energy, tiredness, and sleeping problems may be associated with hypothyroidism. That is to say, to the low production of hormones by the gland. It can also appear with states of irritability and anxiety.

3. A swelling in the neck

The appearance of lumps or swelling in the neck area warrants consultation with a thyroid specialist. This could be a case of a goiter.

4. Problems controlling body weight

Because of its direct involvement in metabolism, thyroid disease can cause excessive weight loss or weight gain. In the former case, it usually corresponds to hyperthyroidism, while in the latter, hypothyroidism is more common.

5. An irregular heart rate

Pay attention to your heart rate. It may also be affected by thyroid disease. Both tachycardia and bradycardia may occur.

6. Unstable body temperature

Another sign of possible thyroid disorders is an irregular body temperature. Such a condition may be expressed by sudden hot or cold flashes, as well as extreme sweating. It isn’t uncommon for people with hypothyroidism to be cold in mild weather, while those with hyperthyroidism suffer from heat in cold weather.

On World Thyroid Day, we remember the importance of prevention

Although these diseases are difficult to prevent, there are some measures that can help reduce their incidence. For example, maintaining adequate iodine and iron levels in the diet, getting enough sleep and having regular medical consultations. Also, avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. World Thyroid Day is a perfect time to raise awareness of these issues.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • American Thyroid Association (ATA). (2023). General Information/Press Room. Consultado el 24 de mayo de 2023.
  • Chiovato, L., Magri, F., & Carlé, A. (2019). Hypothyroidism in Context: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going. Advances in therapy, 36(Suppl 2), 47–58.
  • Rodríguez Ramos, Jorge Félix, Boffill Corrales, Acela María, & Rodríguez Soria, Alberto. (2016). Factores de riesgo de las enfermedades tiroideas. Hospital del Seguro Social Ambato. Revista de Ciencias Médicas de Pinar del Río, 20(5), 113-128. Recuperado en 24 de mayo de 2023, de
  • Santiago-Peña, Luis Francisco. (2020). Fisiología de la glándula tiroides. Disfunción y parámetros funcionales de laboratorio en patología de tiroides. Revista ORL, 11(3), 253-257. Epub 11 de enero de 2021. Consultado el 24 de mayo de 2023.
  • Shank, J. B., Are, C., & Wenos, C. D. (2022). Thyroid Cancer: Global Burden and Trends. Indian journal of surgical oncology, 13(1), 40–45. Consultado el 24 de mayo de 2023.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.