For the Children: Is Vaping A Safer Alternative When You Have Children?

The Vaping safety debate has been raging in the UK in the past few years as the big tobacco companies start to panic about the popularity of e-cigarettes. With e-cigarettes addressing the dangers associated with tobacco, and reducing them significantly, making the switch can be the best decision you make for the health of your family.

A 2015 expert review from Public Health England estimated e-cigs are 95% less harmful than cigarettes for the consumer. But what is the holistic effect of giving up the cigarettes and switching to vaping?

We break it down for you to highlight the safety benefits of switching to vaping, especially when you have kids around the house.

Passive Smoking Cigarette Smoke vs Water Vapour

The main danger for children who live with smokers is passive smoking. Cigarette tobacco contains a mixture of over 4000 irritants, toxins and chemicals and most of these are released into the air around you when you smoke cigarettes.

For children of parents who vape, the risks associated with vaping are much lower. A negligible amount of nicotine is released into the environment as vapour is released in a controlled fashion. In the UK, there are no plans to ban vaping inside public places.

Accidental Consumption

If your children are young, your main concern will probably be tiny sticky fingers that seem to want to put everything into their ever tasting little mouths. With tobacco you must consider not only storage of the tobacco, papers, pipe, filters etc but also disposing of the cigarette ash and butts afterwards where your children are unable to reach them.

With vaping you have only a main unit and chosen liquids. While these should always be kept out of reach of your children and pets, it is much easier to keep everything neat and tidy and contained. E-liquid in the UK can be bought both online and in the high street.

There is also no need for lighters or matches with e-cigarettes, so there is no danger of your kids accidentally burning down the house!

A Cleaner Environment

No spilt ash trays, white ceilings that stay white, no nicotine stained furniture and much cleaner air – what an improvement to your families living environment! Vaping totally removes the dangers and pitfalls associated with tobacco, delivering a clean and measured dosage to the consumer.

Your family hated sharing your tobacco smoke with you, anyway!

Vaping releases water vapour, not smoke, which is sweet smelling – much like household air fresheners. The smell does not stick to clothes or stain fabrics and walls.

Overall, the biggest danger to our kids from vaping is to glamorise and make consumption of nicotine fashionable to developing minds and bodies. It’s important, especially with older children, to keep an open line of communication and educating them on the addictive nature of nicotine and your reasoning for switching to vaping, most children of ex-smokers report that they are just happy that they no longer have to deal with tobacco smoke, stains, stench or ash anymore!

A Pledge to Raise Awareness Against Thyroid Disorders

“Wag ka iinom ng malamig na tubig, magkakathyroid ka!”
“Iodized salt gamitin mo para hindi ka magka-thyroid.”
“May thyroid sya kaya may bukol sa leeg”
“Sige, kapag hindi mo tinigilan kakasigaw mo, magkaka-thyroid ka.”

 

Any of these lines sound familiar? They sound kind of funny but, unfortunately, these are very common misconceptions Filipinos have about thyroid.  It’s no wonder many have thyroid disorders but are not even aware of them.  This is why there is a great need to step up on the campaign to raise awareness about thyroid disorders. Before I tell you all about the campaign, here are a few quick facts about thyroid:

 

Quick Facts About Thyroid

  • We all have thyroid! “Thyroid” is not a disease; it is a gland.  It’s essential because it produces hormones that help keep the body use energy and stay warm, and that keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs in tip-top condition.
  • Common thyroid disorders include goiter, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, thyroid nodules, and cancer. They all have different symptoms AND they cannot be prevented just by using iodized food on all your food!
  • Most symptoms of thyroid disorders are mistaken for other diseases which makes diagnosis quite confusing even for doctors.  The easiest way to diagnosis thyroid disorders is through a blood test to check levels of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) in the blood.
  • You can do a self-assessment to check if you are at risk.  Just take this quick test to find out if you absolutely must see your doctor now.  You may also find the test at www.thyroid.ph.

It’s Not You, It’s Your Thyroid Quiz

How many of these facts did you actually know beforehand?  You’re in the minority if you’ve known most of them!

 

International Thyroid Awareness Week

For diseases that are so common, it’s bothering to know that not many people are aware of these diseases.  This is precisely why MERCK in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Thyroid Association (PTA), Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism (PSEDM), and the Iodine Global Network (IGN) holds the annual International Thyroid Awareness Week.  They have been holding series of activities every year to inform the public about the symptoms of thyroid disorders, to dispel myths about them, and to provide proper care and treatment to those who may be suffering from these diseases.

ITAW 2017 Culminating Program

This year, I was able to attend the culminating program held at the Trade Hall of Robinson’s Novaliches last May 26. Since thyroid disorders affect mostly women, the activities were targeted for women.  Participants not only received free doctor’s consultation but also had much needed pampering while learning more about thyroid disorders.

The event kicked off with some Zumba dancers showing off steps that we can easily do in our own homes. All participants were given a card which they could have stamped after each activity.  There were four activities that all attendees must complete – the Video Viewing, Thyroid Quiz, Doctor’s Consultation, and Photobooth.

First, the attendees were asked to watch a short video about thyroid and disorders associated with it. The video was presented in a way that everything could be easily understood by the ordinary Juan.

Watch the Video at Thyroid.ph

After this, a short quiz was given – no, not a quiz about the video! It was a self-assessment test to determine if one may be at risk of thyroid disorders.  Once the quiz was finished, participants showed the quiz results to the doctors.  The doctors then addressed their health concerns. Some were given requests for laboratory procedures and some were given prescriptions.

Those who have finished all the required activities got to have a refreshing cup of milk tea! Then off they went to the pampering booths for some me-time. 🙂 Of course, I didn’t pass up the chance to get my own me-time!

As the participants were dolled up, they were also given bits of trivia about thyroid disorders. While I was having my eyebrows threaded, I was told that thinning eyebrows is a symptom of hypothyroidism (mine are naturally thin though, so I’m glad I don’t have hypothyroidism. Otherwise I’d be sans brows!).  At the hair and makeup booth, I was told that a puffy face, dry skin, and hair loss are symptoms of thyroid disorders too. Those getting a manicure were informed that brittle nails may be a sign of hyperthyroidism and nails that grow too fast, of hypothyroidism.

There were also booths that even men and children could enjoy. The massage chair is always a welcome respite to a long day of mailing. The kinect is best done as a group. I have two left feet but I nevertheless enjoyed “dancing”. No child was whining of boredom because they had a great time meeting new friends and coloring pages at the Kids Art Corner.  The kids who had the best art work were also given prizes! Awesome!

While everyone enjoyed the activities, the most important part of the event was the forum.  Dr. Chrysanthus Herrera, Medical Science and Government Affairs Manager; Dr. Teofilo San Luis, National Coordinator of the Philippines, Iodine Global Network; and Dr. Wesley Llauderes, President of the Philippine Society of Nuclear Medicine gave interesting lectures and valuable health advice to all participants.

It’s Not You, It’s Your Thyroid

In his lecture on “The Thyroid Masquerade”, Dr. Teofilo San Luis explained how thyroid disorders can often be attributed to other diseases.  The thyroid affects almost all organs of the body so most sufferers of thyroid disorders consult different doctors.  For instance, patients who experience palpitations or hypertension first see a cardiologist.  When test results come out negative and the heart  seems healthy, it is the only time they consider other factors.  These symptoms may also be signs of thyroid disorders.  Other such common symptoms are anxiety, sleeplessness, diarrhea, constipation,  hair loss, cold hands, menstrual irregularities, tremors, and even forgetfulness – all can easily be attributed to other diseases or even to just daily stress. Despite the symptoms of thyroid dysfunction being so varied and sometimes misleading, the condition can easily be diagnosed by blood tests and a physical examination.

Aside from sharing symptoms with just about every other ailment, what makes it difficult to diagnose thyroid disorders are the myths surrounding it.  Dr. Wesley Llauderes  dispelled these myths and further explained how to prevent and to treat thyroid problems.  For one, iodine is indeed essential to our body but it will not heal your goiter. Also, although those with hypothyroidism may benefit from iodine-rich food, these same food must be taken in moderation by those with hyperthyroidism. Here are some more myths dispelled by Dr. Llauderes:

  • Cold drinks will not cause thyroid disorders. Neither does shouting (BUT…stress affects the thyroid gland too just as it affects our overall body health)
  • Iodine-rich food such as seafood is not always good.  Those with hypothyroidism need more iodine and may eat more seafood.  Those with hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, should avoid seafood and salty food.
  • There are certain food like cabbages and carrots that may cause goiter to enlarge but this can only happen if you eat them in excessive amounts everyday. So unless you eat cabbages all day, every day, every week, there’s nothing to worry about.
  • Not all goiter are cancerous. Not all thyroid nodules are cancerous.  Having said these, the doctor also stressed the importance of having a biopsy.  Don’t be afraid of it!

Whew!  There’s really so much more to know about thyroid and its disorders.  There’s also still a lot more people who do not know some of these basic facts.  I hope that after reading this rather lengthy blog post, we would all feel our obligation to raise awareness about thyroid.  Let’s all pledge to do this!

 

For more information about thyroid and the International Thyroid Awareness Week, please visit  www.thyroid.phwww.thyroidaware.com or follow “Unmasking Your Thyroid” on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thyroidph).

Merck offers FREE Thyroid Screening to raise Awareness against Thyroid Diseases

Did you know that 1 out of 11 people suffer from thyroid diseases?  You didn’t?  You are not alone! Even up to 60 percent of those who have thyroid disease are unaware of their own condition.  Most people never consider undergoing thyroid screening although they suffer from its symptoms.  This alarming fact is the very reason why Merck steps up its awareness campaign against thyroid diseases. In partnership with the DOH, PTA, PSEDM, and IGN, Merck has launched the “It’s Not You, It’s Your Thyroid” campaign in time for the International Thyroid Awareness Week (ITAW) 2017.  This campaign aims to raise consciousness against thyroid disorders.

Let’s start with you.  How much do you really know about thyroid?  Find out in this short quiz:

It’s Not You, It’s Your Thyroid Quiz

Found out that you didn’t know much?  That’s all right.  I think most of us really don’t know much about our thyroid.  Now, let’s see if you may have a thyroid disorder and have been completely in the dark about it.

Do You Have A Thyroid Disorder?

Have you ever felt so extremely tired, experienced anxiety, had difficulty sleeping, suddenly gained or lost weight?  I think we all have!  These are also some of the signs of a thyroid problem but when we do suffer from them, we just think we’ve been working too hard or we’ve not been keeping a healthy lifestyle.  If your symptoms keep recurring, it’s about time to have them checked because it may be more than just work-related stress – it could be a thyroid disorder.

Do you have any of those symptoms?  A self-check isn’t enough to diagnose thyroid problems.  You must undergo some tests and consult a doctor.  Do take advantage of the FREE Thyroid Screening and Consultation at the Trade Hall of Robinson’s Novaliches this Saturday, May 27.  There will also be free massages, nail art, eyebrow threading, hair and make-up and so much more.  Just perfect for us moms who want to stay healthy and beautiful for our loved ones.

 

Want to know more about Merck’s campaign against thyroid diseases?  Read on…

(press release)

Merck steps up awareness campaign against thyroid diseases

MANILA, Philippines – In time for the International Thyroid Awareness Week (ITAW) 2017, leading science and healthcare innovation company Merck, joined forces with the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Thyroid Association (PTA), Philippine Society of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism (PSEDM), and the Iodine Global Network (IGN), to raise consciousness against thyroid disorders.

You and your thyroid

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that sits in at the lower front of the neck. It plays a key role in one’s overall health and well-being by producing thyroid hormones that help keep the body use energy, stay warm, and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs in tip-top condition. [1]

Thyroid disorders are some of the most common diseases worldwide. In the Philippines, one in every 11 adults suffers from goiter or other thyroid disorders. [2]

Thyroid problems are more common in women. Figures show that women are four to seven times more likely to have thyroid disorders than men.[3] They are also at risk of hypothyroidism by 10 times. Moreover, women who recently gave birth and those who are in the menopausal stage are more vulnerable. 2

But why are thyroid diseases usually left undetected and misdiagnosed? Blame the symptoms. Tiredness, anxiety, weight fluctuations, difficulty in sleeping – these are some of the telling signs of a thyroid problem. Unfortunately, more often than not, people usually attribute these to merely having poor lifestyle choices. This is why the theme of this year’s ITAW is: “It’s Not You, It’s Your Thyroid”.

It’s Not You, It’s Your Thyroid

Since its primary role is to control the metabolism, disorders may occur when there’s little (hypothyroidism) or overproduction (hyperthyroidism) of thyroid hormones.

Patients with hypothyroidism, or too little thyroid hormone, tend to have slower metabolism: they gain weight despite not eating much, move and speak slowly, feel tired and have depressed thoughts, cannot tolerate cold, and have irregular menstrual periods. [4] On the other hand, patients with hyperthyroidism, or too much thyroid hormone, will have hyperactive metabolism: they lose weight despite having good appetite, have heart palpitations, irritable thoughts and insomnia, have sweating and heat intolerance, and can have tremors in their hands. [5]

The diagnosis of thyroid disorders can easily be made by checking the levels of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) in the blood. Treatment brings the level of thyroid hormones back in balance, restoring normal metabolism to the body.

For more information, visit www.thyroidaware.com or follow “Unmasking Your Thyroid” on Facebook (www.facebook.com/thyroidph).

# # #

About Merck

Merck is the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company with headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany. Merck is a leading science and technology company that works to further develop technologies that improve and enhance life – from biopharmaceutical therapies to treat cancer or multiple sclerosis, cutting-edge systems for scientific research and production, to liquid crystals for smartphones and LCD televisions.

References

[1] American Thyroid Association. Thyroid Information. http://www.thyroid.org/thyroid-information/ Accessed May 2017.

[2] Carlos-Raboca, J et al. The Philippine Thyroid Diseases Study 1 (PhilTiDeS 1): Prevalence of Thyroid Disorders Among Adults in the Philippines. JAFES. 2012.

[3] Thyroid Foundation of Canada. Thyroid Disease: know the facts. Available online http://www.thyroid.ca/know_the_facts.php last accessed May 2017.

[4] American Thyroid Association. Hypothyroidism. Accessed from: http://www.thyroid.org/wp-content/uploads/patients/brochures/Hypo_brochure.pdf on August 2016.

[5] American Thyroid Association. Hyperthyroidism. Accessed from http://www.thyroid.org/wp-content/uploads/patients/brochures/Hyper_brochure.pdf on August 2016.

 

For more information about thyroid disorders and the campaign against it,  visit Unmasking Your Thyroid on Facebook.  Like the page for updates and promotions.

Noticing Mental Illness Signs

Feeling as though the world is crashing in around you is a sign that you are depressed or have other mental issues that need to be addressed. On the other hand, if you know someone who is withdrawn or has other symptoms that are sometimes easy to see that are associated with a mental illness, you need to seek help for them before it leads to a dark road. A Tallahassee behavioral health center is only one place where you can get help for yourself or someone you love. There are counselors available as well as doctors who can give medications to help with the illness that is present.

Image by David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The first thing that you have to recognize is that mental illness can lead to irregular behaviors for the person. It could be anything from a bipolar disorder to depression to dementia. Each illness has symptoms that you need to know about and recognize so that you can get help along with treatments that are a bit different for each person because what might work with one person might have the opposite impact for someone else. Some illnesses can be caused by stress while others are caused by other diseases, such as cancer.

Image by Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Try to notice if there are any significant changes that take place in a short period of time. Most of the time, a mental illness is presented with more than one symptom instead of just one or two things that take place. Confused thinking is one of the first signs that you’ll notice. It might be hard to remember things that were once easy to think about every day. Depression also goes along with mental illness as you think that no one wants to be around you or that there is nothing to live for any longer. If you notice any suicidal tendencies or thoughts with yourself or someone else, then you need to seek help immediately. Excessive fears are sometimes a sign of some type of mental illness. Not talking to people and withdrawing into your own little world can be an indication that something is wrong as well.

Enamel Damage and Internal Illnesses: The Dental Disasters of Home Tooth Whitening Fads and Kits

It might seem like a good idea at the time when you pick up a teeth whitening kit off the shelf and decide to give it a go at home, but the consequences of that purchasing decision could be far greater than you imagined.

There are all sorts of fads and products that seem very convincing as a budget-friendly solution for fixing your smile with a whitening makeover, but there are all sorts of potential dental disasters that you need to think carefully about.

Image by yodiyim / freedigitalphotos.net

Here is a look at some of the problems associated with trying to whiten your teeth yourself, including details of a trend for using charcoal, how you could do irreparable damage to your enamel, and why mouth guards could be bad news for your stomach.

Charcoal for white teeth?

The idea that something so black could produce whiter teeth seems daft when you think about it, but it hasn’t stopped a DIY teeth whitening trend taking hold.

Medical professionals have been quick to issue warnings about the trend for applying a charcoal-derived black mixture on your teeth.

The consequences of this fad could be far-reaching and dentists are stating that you could be putting yourself at risk from enamel deterioration and tooth erosion. As with so many product launches that can be classed as fads, there is normally a YouTube video that shows someone achieving spectacular results, which leads you to believe that you can enjoy whiter teeth if you copy the tactic.

The thinking behind using charcoal to whiten your teeth is that it is highly absorbent and this means it could work to absorb bacteria and stains when you brush your teeth with the product.

The fad for charcoal will probably fade sometime soon, but you could be left to contend with the consequences of your charcoal experiment long after that.

Enamel damage

There are various techniques to whiten your teeth and home whitening kits have proved popular with consumers as a seemingly viable alternative to visiting their dentist for teeth whitening treatment.

There are numerous home whitening kits on the market and plenty of them try to entice you with the promise of instant results. That might be the case and you could potentially see a noticeable improvement in the whiteness of your teeth in an instant, but the question you need to ask is at what price?

There is always the threat of irreparable damage to enamel hanging to consider, especially if you use the kits on a regular basis.

The majority of these home kits contain chlorine dioxide, which is used to clean swimming pools but not used in professional teeth whitening, which should tell you all you need to know about that idea.

Be wary of mouth guards

Another popular teeth whitening solution is the use of mouth guards containing hydrogen peroxide.

If there is a chemical leakage and you swallow some of this product during the whitening process, you could suffer chemical burns to your throat and stomach.

The message is loud and clear, think about what you are putting on your teeth as you could end up paying a higher price than you expected for trying to whiten your teeth at home.

Image by digitalart / freedigitalphotos.net