Public Health Board Statement on the World Thyroid Day 2024

Concerning World Thyroid Day 2024 and NCDs

In 2008, the 25th of May was named World Thyroid Day (WTD) by the European Thyroid Association (ETA) and, since 2010, the Day has been endorsed by our sister Associations, The American Thyroid Association (ATA), the Latin Thyroid Association (LATS), and the Asian Oceanic Thyroid Association (AOTA).

WTD highlights the dedication of the endocrine community—clinicians, researchers, teachers, and nurses—to the thyroid and its diseases and underlines the strong and constant bond between us and our patients.

The Day forms part of International Thyroid Awareness Week, supported by the global, non-profit network of patient organizations known as Thyroid Federation International (TFI).

During this most important Day and Week, we place emphasis on increasing awareness among the public about thyroid diseases and the necessity to keep the thyroid gland healthy in order to ensure a healthy life, this particularly applying to pregnant women, children, and our most senior citizens, all of whom are more vulnerable to thyroid disease risk factors and thyroid dysfunction.

This year WTD is simultaneously dedicated to non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide (18 million people annually), followed by cancers (9.3 million), respiratory diseases (4.1 million), and diabetes (1.5 million). These four groups of diseases account for over 80% of all premature NCD deaths.

The WHO's World Health Report 2002 identified five important risk factors for NCDs in the top ten leading risks to health. These are arterial hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and obesity. The other factors associated with higher risk of NCDs include, inter alia, a person’s economic and social circumstances, also known as the social determinants of health.

It has been estimated that if the primary risk factors were eliminated, 80% of the cases of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes mellitus and 40% of cancers could be prevented.

Interventions targeting the main risk factors could have a significant impact on reducing the burden of disease worldwide with efforts focused on better lifestyle, nutrition, and increased physical activity having been shown to effectively reduce the prevalence of NCDs.

Notably, although several autoimmune diseases have been associated with specific CVDs, such as atherosclerotic diseases, valve disorders, and arrhythmias, autoimmune thyroid diseases, and particularly hypothyroidism, have to date not been officially included among the risk factors for NCDs.

Timely thyroid function testing and, vitally, adequate intake and/or dietary supplementation of iodine, selenium, iron and vitamin D are needed to minimize the risk of thyroid disease. Moreover, health sectors everywhere need to actively participate in the development of policies (e.g., campaigns against tobacco use and universal health coverage) to counteract the spread of NCDs. Meanwhile, thyroidologists worldwide must continue to shield their patients from NCDs (for example, by promoting self-awareness, proposing various forms of lifestyle management, and controlling metabolic disorders) while also appealing to the authorities, among them the WHO and the EU, to strive for the reduction of NCDs and also to make the world a safe and healthy place (notably, in the field of preservation of our global environments).

A prime prerequisite for the achievement of the above aims is the official recognition of thyroid diseases as being a major component of NCDs!

Let us all commemorate and draw inspiration and knowledge from our 26th World Thyroid Day!

Leonidas Duntas
On behalf of the ETA Public Health Board


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