Tuesday, April 7, 2015

TSOPHE Fall 2015 Call For Abstracts

Texas Society for Public Health Education

Fall 2015 Conference

Health Education: Building Partnerships for Prevention and Empowering Communities

Friday, October 23, 2015
J.J. Pickle Research Campus
University of Texas at Austin, Austin Texas
SUBMISSION DEADLINE –Monday, June 15 by 12pm CST

The Texas Society for Public Health Education (TSOPHE) invites you to submit a proposal for a concurrent session or a poster presentation at the TSOPHE Fall 2015Conference.  The conference will be held at J.J. Pickle Research Campus, The University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas on October 23, 2015.

Abstract Sub-Themes:• Advancing Health Education through Technology and Innovations • Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults: Health Needs of the Future Generation • Culture, Diversity, and Health: Local and Global Perspectives • Disparities and Inequity: Health Education and Promotion for Social Justice • Systems, Policies, Research, and Practices: Current Trends and the Future of Health Education

Goal: By the end of the conference, participants will gain an understanding of current trends in health education and upcoming changes impacting the field of public health education including healthcare reform, new policies, innovative technology, advocacy, research and health coaching.

Conference Objectives:
§ Identify emerging trends and challenges surrounding health promotion and disease prevention across the lifespan.
§ Explore evidence-based methods and strategies for improving health through community engagement and empowerment.
§ Examine cross-sector collaborations in public health education that promote health equity in minority or under-represented populations.
§ Incorporate innovative health communications and technology to improve health promotion outreach, research, teaching, and practice.
§ Advocate for public health education by fostering improvements in individual and population health in order to advance the profession.

Audiences: Health educators, public health professionals, health communicators, researchers, academicians, students and other professions who provide health education

You will be notified by email when your proposal has been received and whether your proposal was accepted or declined.  All accepted proposal recipients will receive a letter of acceptance from TSOPHE along with conference registration information.

Abstract Types:

§  Concurrent/Plenary Session -This type of presentation is 20 minutes for each presenter panelist.  This single session may include a panel of up to three speakers.  Proposals must include:
Title, 1-2 learning objectives, 300 word limit abstract, audio/visual needs, and a brief biosketch (one paragraph) for each presenting author.
§  Poster Session - Poster sessions will illustrate research findings/projects during lunch/breaks. Poster abstract must include: Title, 1-2 learning objectives, 300 word limit abstract, and a brief biosketch (one paragraph) for each presenting author.

In order to help the review committee better understand and appreciate the purpose and value of your proposed sharing session, please complete the abstract form on the next page.  If additional space is needed, attach additional pages.  SUBMISSION DEADLINE – Monday, June 15 by 12pm CST

If you have any questions, please contact Laura Valentino or Patricia Horace at email: laurasvalentino@gmail.com or phorace@mdanderson.org.

Link to full document coming soon!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Repost - Career Search Web Resources

With graduation just around the corner as well as many of you looking to change jobs or shift directions, we thought we would share this previous post on career resources on the web. Happy job hunting!

Career Search Web Resources

Education is essential. With education we are getting a glimpse of what our fields entail. From our academic tasks and course seminars we are building a foundation of knowledge of the careers we wish to take part in. Education means gaining knowledge and building credentials and is a crucial in meeting vocational goals. Still, when it comes to establishing oneself in the workforce, earning a degree is only one step in the right direction. Many people, especially students, find that searching for a career and making preparations outside of academia are quests within themselves. When encountered with this reality, several questions come to mind. What are the necessary steps that I need to take to start preparing for a career? When and where should I start looking? Who can I ask for advice the job search and gaining vocational experience? Thanks to the technology of the Digital Age, namely the Internet, we have access to several career-oriented sources. Regardless of the treasure trove of sources, being inundated with information can still make the job search overwhelming. To tackle the issue of wading through the Internet for career resources, a list below gives a brief review of websites that can serve as starting points.

Big Interview - Interactive website designed to help you with interviews. Some features of the website include learning modules that address commonly asked questions within interviews and provide information on the most effective way to gain opportunities for interviews. A practical feature of the website is the audio and visual recording of your performance as you engage in interview questions. This feature of the website is perhaps the most useful in that it allows you not only to practice interviews, but to analyze your performance for improvement. Although there is a cost to register as a user of Big Interview, the website is sure to provide those on the job hunt with the skills and confidence needed to make a great impression for potential employers.

Web Link: http://biginterview.com/

JobseekersAdvice.com - As freelance consultant and site founder Scott Boyd states, the website has “information and lots of it” (JobseekersAdvice.com, 2013). Jobseekers Advice is an online forum for people on the job hunt. For frequently asked questions about cover letters, resumes and interviews, the website contains articles that provide the answers. Knowledge of the workplace doesn’t stop at gaining entry into the job, but extends to matters such as job promotion and social etiquette amongst bosses and fellow colleagues. In addition to articles, Jobseekers Advice offer guidance through blog posts which also makes a good online podium for career seekers and professional recruiters alike. Granted that the website’s founder warns that the forum is not recruiting agency or a business designed to find careers, Jobseekers Advice is an online source for free advice that can point its visitors in the right direction.

Web Link: http://jobseekersadvice.com/

Eddins Counseling Group - The mission of the Eddins Counseling website centers on both the personal and vocational wellbeing of its users. Just as the site offers assistance to improve mental health, it is also dedicated to providing career counseling services. Along with blog posts, website gives links to resources designed to help job seekers search and prepare for their chosen vocation. For web browsers who are looking for more than links to help them on their job search, appointments can be made either online or by phone to schedule a meeting with certified career counselors stationed in Houston, Texas.

Web Link: http://eddinscounseling.com/counseling-services/career-counseling/career-counseling-for-students/

Vocationvillage.com - Dr. Janet Scarborough Civitelli is a vocational psychologist and career coach. Through the Vocation Village website, she shares her insight on finding a career and achieves both professional and personal success. For those starting out in their search for a career, Dr. Civitelli gives advice concerning education and work experience. Even veterans of the workplace and individuals holding executive positions can benefit from the career coach’s consultation about strategies that can help them reach career goals. In addition to receiving online counseling through the Vocation Village page, Dr. Civitelli welcomes all visitors of the website to ask for guidance by phone as well.

Web Link: http://www.vocationvillage.com/best-career-advice-sites/

The weLEAD - Want to be a better supervisor? Are you interested in building the foundations to take on any leadership role? If so, the weLEAD might be the right place for job seekers who are willing to take charge and motivate. The website is all about honing the skills necessary to the courier of positive leadership. Discussion forums and articles are available for those who wish to share their inquiries about leadership as well as to gain knowledge from professionals experienced in management. Additionally, the website provides information for seminars and workshops schedules for those who are interested in interacting with leaders, including the website founder, face to face. Though there might be varying costs to the seminars and workshops, the weLEAD website may be a source well worth the time of prospective leaders.

Web Link: http://www.leadingtoday.org/Who_Are_We.html

The Internet can be a convenient resource for people on the lookout for jobs. At the same time, one can become flustered sifting through endless links, trying to pick out the trustworthy from the unreliable. In spite of the overwhelming task of career searching through the Internet, the journey to find and prepare for a profession is not impossible. Hopefully, the brief review of the five websites listed above can ensure a successful beginning to finding your place in the workforce.

What Internet sites have you found to be helpful in your job search and why? We'd love to hear from you!

This post was originally written by Whitnee Lowe.

Interested in becoming a health educator? Check out our website and contact us to discuss which program might be the best for you. 

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Job Possibilities for March 5, 2015

The Director of Community Engagement and Public Health Initiatives - Austin, TX

The Director of Community Engagement and Public Health Initiatives is the public health professional responsible for providing leadership and direction on public health program content; implementation and evaluation of programs with emphasis on measurable outcomes using data and best practices; prioritization of programmatic objectives, activities, and budget needs; continuation and development of team-based approaches; integration of public health programmatic activities as well as effective use of CHWC staff capacity. Acting as a CHWC liaison to local/regional partners, community stakeholders, and funders, the Director works independently and collaboratively with CHWC’s staff to direct, develop, manage, and implement activities in the following areas: public health programming, community-based technical assistance; research and evaluation; resource development; grant and contract management and report writing; community-based organizational development; community engagement; and meeting development and implementation. The Director requires a clear understanding and empathy for the challenges faced by asset-, resource-, and capacity- lacking and/or under served communities; a firm grasp of community capacity building; and knowledge/understanding of racial equity and determinants of health.

Health Coordinator - Austin, TX

General Description: This position serves as a Health Coordinator for a Head Start program. The Health Coordinator plans and collaborates with other coordinators and staff in the Head Start program to ensure the health and well-being of all children in the Head Start program.

Program Coordinator - Houston, TX 

The primary purpose for this position is to assist with infrastructure-related startup and ongoing implementation activities for Tobacco Moonshot/Platform projects. Provides assistance to the Director and Co-Principal Investigators of the Tobacco Moonshot/Platform Program. Assists in developing and maintaining project plans, timelines and budgets, and tracks progress against milestones and deliverables. Assists in developing and maintaining community relationships with program partners, collaborators and stakeholders. Conducts assessments, evaluation data collection and other data-gathering tasks for the projects. Assists in preparation of project and program reports and presentations.

Health Educator - Evans City, PA

Full time Health Educator positions available. Beaver County and Butler County projects. Health Educators must develop, market, present, and evaluate programs, and complete reports. Critical skills include demonstrated project management, public speaking, committee leadership, excellent communication (written and oral), ability to start and complete tasks with creativity, accuracy, and using current health education trends and information. Continuing education through training (required trainings paid by company), reading literature, and online subscriptions required.

Health Educator (UNM) - Albuquerque, NM

Under general supervision, plans, implements, develops materials and evaluates health education and/or clinical training programs, conferences, and other associated activities for individual, group, and/or community needs. Collaborates with other health specialists to ascertain health needs, develop desirable health goals, and determine availability of professional health services. Develops and maintain cooperation between public, civic, professional, and voluntary agencies.

Health Promotion/Wellness Program Coordinator - Saint Paul, MN

HealthSource Solutions is looking for an experienced health promotion professional to work as a full-time (40 hrs) Sr. Program Coordinator. This position will provide project oversight, serve as the liaison and internal resource for health promotion initiatives, oversee Healthy Living marketing and communications and oversee site coordinators at all plant locations. A large percent of this position is behind the scenes with communication to plants via phone and email. Candidates will work with a team to develop, implement and evaluate quality wellness programs and resources. The ability to work independently, manage multiple projects and be very detail oriented is vital to this position. Strong problem solving and troubleshooting skills with the ability to exercise mature judgment are essential. Strong writing, organization and communication skills are expected. This position will report to 3M at the St. Paul headquarters location.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Guest Post - An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away: The Importance of Fruits and Vegetables by Susan Karpiel

red apple


Why are fruits and vegetables important? 

The list of reasons why a diet high in fruits and vegetables is important is very long. To begin with, the fruit and vegetable food group provides an array of vitamins and minerals, all necessary for optimal health. In fact, I would suggest that although eating a variety of food groups is important for health, the fruit and vegetable group provides a plethora of goodness that other food groups cannot beat. This plethora of goodness includes not just the vitamins, minerals, and fiber our bodies need, but an extensive amount of phytochemicals and antioxidants. Phytochemicals are special properties that certain foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains have that provide some protection from illness and disease. Some of the ways that phytochemicals benefit us include: as antioxidants they help prevent the formation of free radicals which can cause toxins to build up in the body; they improve metabolism; reduce inflammation within the arteries; and slow the growth of cancer cells (Produce for Better Health (PBH), n.d.). In fact, some scientists have estimated that phytochemicals can lower the risk of cancer by up to 40% (Breast Cancer, 2013). Even though research has identified over 4,000 different phytochemicals, only 150 have been studied in-depth (PBH, n.d.). Much more research is needed to discover the full potential that phytochemicals provide and the foods that supply them. Other benefits of eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables include:

  • Lower risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease strokes, high blood pressure
  • Promote eye health and prevent cataracts, night blindness, and macular degeneration 
  • Lower risk of bone loss and kidney stones 
  • Lower caloric intake 
  • Fiber from fruits & vegetables can lower cholesterol, improve bowel function, lower constipation and diverticulitis 
  • Increase the feeling of fullness with fewer calories 
  • Improve skin health 
  • Helps improve gum health 
  • Protects against infections
    (USDA, n.d.; Harvard School of Public Health, n.d. ). 

Are some fruits and vegetables better for you than others? 

There are two types of vegetables: starchy and non-starchy. Whenever I ask people to name a non-starchy vegetable often the answer I receive is - peas and beans. Starchy vegetables include: peas, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and acorn squash. These vegetables are nutritious and beneficial, but they also supply more carbohydrate, similar to pasta and beans. If you eat according to the My Plate method (USDA Choose My Plate.Gov), starchy vegetables go in the "starch" section of the plate. The non-starchy vegetables have fewer calories, are a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals such as: iron, potassium, Vitamins A and C, calcium, folate, and magnesium (Fruits & Veggies More Matters, n.d.). Many fruits and vegetables with deep color are high in phytochemicals. For example, the carrot has over 100 identified phytochemicals. However, keep in mind that even white vegetables are nutritious. Be sure to eat a wide variety of this food group every day.

How many fruits and vegetables should be eaten every day? 

The Nurses Health Study & Health Professionals Follow-Up Study found that the higher the intake of fruits and vegetables, the lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease (Harvard School of Public Health, n.d. ). In addition, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 5-13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. A serving of vegetables is considered to be one-half cup. Unfortunately, many Americans do not get the minimum recommended amounts of this food group each day. Its reported that 38% of children eat vegetables less than one time per day and adults eat vegetables only 1.6 times per day. Given this information, maybe the goal for most Americans needs to be: eat more.
Another method of determining adequate intake of fruit and vegetables is Plate Method, as recommended by the USDA (USDA Choose My Plate.Gov, n.d). This is a simpler method of calculating serving sizes. The rule of thumb is to fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, one-fourth of the plate is lean meat and the other one-fourth is a starch. In addition to this plate, a serving of fruit and dairy are included to round out the meal. This method provides a good visual way to evaluate the quality of each meal.

Regardless of how you estimate the number of servings to eat each day, the first step is to eat more. Try including fruits and vegetables at every meal.

Given the plethora of goodness that fruits and vegetables offer, why not make sure to get plenty each day? The array of benefits is so extensive it's worth the time it takes to plan, shop, and prepare fruits and vegetables at every meal. At the same time keep in mind that as important as fruits and vegetables are, it's equally important to eat a balance of food groups. Each food group has it's own list of health benefits. Be sure to prepare meals made fresh, filled with bright colors, and a variety of food groups. This will help ensure that your body is well nourished and performing with optimal health.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2014). Discover the health benefits of produce. Retrieved from http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442481096

Breast Cancer.org (2013). Foods containing phytochemicals. Retrieved from http://www.breastcancer.org/tips/nutrition/reduce_risk/foods-phytochem

Fruits & Veggies More Matters. (n.d.). What are phytochemicals? Retrieved from http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/what-are-phytochemicals

Harvard School of Public Health. (n.d.). Vegetables and fruits. Retrieved from http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vegetables-and- fruits/

Heneman, K., Zidenberg-Cherr, S. (2008). Nutrition and health info-sheet for health professionals. Retrieved from http://www.nutrition.ucdavis.edu/content/infosheets/fact-pro-phytochemical.pdf

Produce for Better Health Foundation. (n.d.). Phytochemical information center. Retrieved from http://pbhfoundation.org/about/res/pic/#

USDA Choose My Plate.Gov.(n.d.). Why it is important to eat vegetables. Retrieved from: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/vegetables-why.html

Susan Karpiel is a doctoral student in the Department of Health Studies at Texas Woman's University.

Interested in becoming a health educator? Check out our website and contact us to discuss which program might be the best for you.

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Job Possibilities for February 12, 2015

Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention Program Coordinator - Stephenville, TX

Responsible for developing and maintaining a comprehensive, holistic wellness program focusing on alcohol and other drugs and violence prevention education efforts. The coordinator will support student success by working closely with departments in the Division of Student Life as well as other relevant campus departments, students, faculty, staff and appropriate community agencies to develop and articulate a University vision and consistent messages regarding healthy student behaviors.

Health Coach - Wellness - Greater Dallas, TX

This exciting Aetna Wellness Health Coach position is a work-at-home/telework opportunity in the greater Dallas, TX OR Ann Arbor, MI OR Houston, TX area, but also includes up to 75% weekly local travel.

POSITION SUMMARY As a Wellness Health Coach, you will utilize a collaborative process of health and wellness education and delivery, in conjunction with the client's health and wellness staff, to plan and implement wellness events and programs to promote/influence members in decisions related to achieving and maintaining optimal health status. The goal of these programs/events is to help members achieve healthy lifestyle behaviors and align these lifestyle behaviors with individual wellness goals.

Health Coach (Diabetes CDE)- Dallas, TX - 1010107 

DESCRIPTION POSITION PURPOSE: Provide telephonic disease management services to individuals with diabetes. Services may include educating members, counseling and coordinating care. Act as the Health Coach for patients with diabetes Has discretion on clinical care plans but will have oversight by a Clinical Specialist Meet minimum standards for productivity and clinical results Provide assessments on new participants to determine clinical risk and readiness to change Maintain accurate and timely documentation in member management software of telephonic and written communications Act as case manager when integrating with other health care service vendors as specified by individual clients May make calls to newsletter participants/members as individual client needs dictate Complete required reports in a timely manner Enhance clinical and counseling knowledge by attending and actively participating in Company training sessions. Attend relevant professional seminars to maintain licensure/certification Comply with company policies and procedures including handling confidential forms and accreditation standard.

Program Specialist II - Arlington, TX

JOB DESCRIPTION: Under the direction of the Manager, Community Health Services, performs duties that support population-based regional issues, increasing local capacity to carry out public health essential functions and create or enhance the public health presence in counties with limited or non-existent public health resources. Coordinates and collaborates population-based activities with staff of other regional programs, Public relation skills are required in order to disseminate information regarding TDH, State and Federal standards, policies, and procedures, guidelines, health promotion, public health issues, disease prevention and population-based services in Health Service Region 2/3. Assist in responding to regional public health emergencies such as disease outbreaks, biological, environmental and weather. This may include but is not limited to prevention, surveillance and control. This position requires travel. Employee must provide transportation. If an employee operates a personal or state motor vehicle in performance of their official duties, the employee must possess a current valid Texas driver's license for the appropriate type vehicle.This position requires that an employee's driving record be verified with law enforcement to ensure compliance with TDSHS driving policy.

Health Educator-Intermediate - San Antoinio, TX

We are seeking qualified individuals to help develop and implement evidence-based substance abuse treatment within the context of a federally-funded treatment program for juvenile and criminal justice involved populations. This position offers the opportunity to work within a multidisciplinary team providing clinical care to community outpatients with a substance use disorder and other co-morbid conditions. Primary activities will involve screening adults for substance use problems, providing a brief intervention, and referral to treatment. Primary activities and decision making authority will be performed under the supervision of a licensed clinician. Bilingual educators and/or those experienced with the SBIRT model are preferred.

Wellness Communications Specialist (Contract) Austin, TX

The Wellness Communications Specialist is a member of the Wellness & Recognition team that works closely with the Communications team, and is committed to designing and writing informational and promotional pieces for Southwest Key’s Employee Wellness and Employee Recognition programs. This position reports directly to the Wellness & Recognition Program Administrator to maintain awareness of upcoming initiatives and anticipate corresponding communications needs so that they can notify the Communications Director in a timely and effective manner. The Wellness Communications Specialist is responsible for conceptualizing, writing and designing a myriad of internal campaigns meant to educate, inform and incentivize Southwest Key’s 2000+ employees to better health, wellbeing, and job satisfaction.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS: Works with the Southwest Key Employee Wellness & Recognition team to evaluate and anticipate the communications needs of the two programs. Forms creative strategies to solve for the communications needs of Southwest Key’s Employee Wellness and Employee Recognition programs. Conceptualizes, writes and designs collateral pieces such as posters, flyers, email blasts and more in order to achieve communications goals of Wellness & Recognition Programs. Collaborates with the Communications Director to keep the rest of the Communications team apprised of upcoming job requests from the Wellness and Recognition team. Works with the Communications Director and Graphic Designers to ensure that Southwest Key branding standards are upheld and that effective and realistic communications timelines and goals are set and maintained.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Guest Post: Women and Heart Disease by Monique Huntley

Heart disease is a condition that affects the normal functioning of the heart and or the structures of Heart disease includes conditions that affect your blood vessels, such as coronary heart disease; abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias); heart defects that you're born with; and issues with your heart valves and muscles. A heart attack is caused from narrowing or blockage of a blood vessel (cardiovascular disease) and heart disease is used synonymously with cardiovascular disease. As we recognize American Heart Month, remember to get your heart checked-out by your healthcare provider and remember the facts about heart disease.
the heart.

Heart Disease and Women

  • Heart Disease is the #1 killer of women.
  • Heart Disease kills approximately 1 woman every minute.
  • Approximately 43 million American women suffer from Heart Disease.
  • The signs and symptoms of Heart Disease differ among women and men.
  • Heart Disease is often misdiagnosed in women.
  • Hispanic women are more likely to develop Heart Disease 10 years earlier than Caucasian women.
  • Heart Disease is the leading cause of death among African American women.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back is mostly noted by women than men. This may confuse many women because they expect the pain to be located in the chest and left arm.
  • Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint.
  • Chest pain or discomfort. In women, the pain may be located in any area of the chest and not directly on the left side. 
  • Many women complain of stomach pain and they mistake this pain as Reflux. 
  • Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder, dominantly occurs on the down the left arm. 
  • Shortness of breath. 
  • Some women complain of having a nervous cold sweat that resembles a stress-related sweat.

Prevention Strategies

  • Healthy diet: consume healthy fats, decrease saturated fats, drink alcohol in moderation, and eat well balanced foods from each food group.
  • Exercise routinely and regularly.
  • Get adequate sleep.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Refrain from smoking.
  • Get regular cardiovascular screenings from your doctor yearly.
  • Get help immediate if you suspect that you are having a heart attack.


American Heart Association. About heart disease in women. Retrieved from https://www.goredforwomen.org/home/about-heart-disease-in-women/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Heart disease. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/about.htm

Rodriguez, F., & Foody, J. M. (2013). Is cardiovascular disease in young women overlooked? Women's Health, 9(3), 213-5. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/whe.13.18 

Monique C. Huntley, MSN, FNP-BC, is a doctoral student in Health Studies at Texas Woman's University. 
Graphics courtesy of the author.

On Campus Events
Go Red for Women: Heart Health Lunch and Learn
Go Red for Women: Wear Red (campus photo)

Interested in becoming a health educator? Check out our website and contact us to discuss which program might be the best for you.

You might also be interested in:

Go Red Interviews with MaryJo Frederick and Dr. Roger Shipley

Creating a Heart-Healthy Diet

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Guest Post: Defining the Two Most Common Thyroid Disorders by Julie Gardner

Thyroid disorders affect millions of Americans on an annual basis; however, many of those affected do not realize the cause of their symptoms or illness. The thyroid is an endocrine gland at the base of the neck that produces thyroid hormones; these hormones affect heart rate, metabolism, weight, body temperature, and keep vital organs such as the brain and heart functioning properly (American Thyroid Association [ATA], 2012a; National Cancer Institute [NCI], 2012). 

Two of the most common conditions associated with thyroid disorder are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. These disorders vary in symptoms and treatment; however, both can have detrimental effects on the body if left undiagnosed. 

Hyperthyroidism refers to the condition in which the thyroid produces too much hormone (ATA, 2012a). This overproduction, increases metabolism rates, thus causing nervousness, irritability, anxiety, weight loss, and muscle weakness (ATA, 2012a). Physicians can easily diagnose hyperthyroidism through an enlarged thyroid and rapid pulse; however, laboratory tests will need to be performed for further confirmation (ATA, 2012a). Treatment options for hyperthyroidism include anti-thyroid drugs, radioactive iodine, surgery to remove part of the thyroid, and beta-blockers. 

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid is not producing enough hormones. This condition is often caused by autoimmune disease, surgical removal of the thyroid, radiation treatment, medicines, damage to the pituitary gland, or an inflammation of the thyroid. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include a decreased metabolism, weight gain, fatigue, depression, and constipation. 

Although there is no cure for hypothyroidism, patients can manage the disorder through the use of a thyroxine medication; this medication must be taken daily for life (ATA, 2012b). Hypothyroidism is often difficult to diagnose as there are no consistent symptoms and many of the symptoms may be similar to other diseases (ATA, 2012b). Although thyroid disorders can be considered severe in some cases, they can be managed through patient and physician communication. Furthermore, someone with thyroid disorder can continue to live an active lifestyle and is encouraged to do so through healthy eating, physical activity, and continued monitoring of their thyroid condition. Thyroid disorders can, and often are, hereditary so it is important for other family members to be screened so future complications can be prevented. 

American Thyroid Association (2012a). Hyperthyroidism. Retrieved from http://www.thyroid.org/wp-content/uploads/patients/brochures/Hyper_brochure.pdf 

American Thyroid Association (2012b). Hypothyroidism. Retrieved from http://www.thyroid.org/wp-content/uploads/patients/brochures/Hypo_brochure.pdf 

National Cancer Institute (2012). What you need to know about thyroid cancer. Retrieved from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/thyroid.pdf 

Julie Gardner, BS, MEd is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Health Studies at Texas Woman's University with an emphasis in population health. She received her Master of Education in Education Administration from Tarleton State University in 2000. Julie currently works as a Community Health Specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in a partnership effort with Scott and White Health Plan serving Bell, Brazos, Llano, McLennan, and Williamson counties. Additionally, Julie suffers from hypothyroidism, but continues to lead an active lifestyle with her husband and two daughters. 

Interested in becoming a health educator? Check out our website and then contact us to discuss which program might be the best fit for you! 

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