WHAT do Oprah Winfrey, Kim Atienza and Kelly Osborne have in common?

Aside from the fact that all are celebrities, they all have been diagnosed with a thyroid problem.

The thyroid gland is a small butterfly shaped organ loca-ted in the lower part of the neck. It is called the master gland since it is the primary regulator of body metabolism. Its role is essential from infancy to adulthood.

Problems with the thyroid gland can go unrecognized for many years. It is not necessary that a neck mass be present.

As the master gland affec-ting multiple organ systems, some symptoms of a thyroid problem include weight gain, fatigue, infertility, hair loss, menstrual irregularities, and even fatal heart rhythm disturbances.

If you or someone you know has at least three of these signs, consult your doctor regarding a thyroid problem: fatigue, weight changes, either weight loss or weight gain, neck mass, palpitations and tremors, menstrual irre-gularities, fertility problems, bowel problems, either constipation (under-functioning gland) or diarrhea (over-functioning gland), hair or skin changes, cholesterol problems, resistant to diet and medication, and depression and anxiety.

January is thyroid awareness month. In celebration, the physicians of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists-Philippine Chapter (AACE-PC) will be holding lay fora all over the country to increase awareness as well as to inform people on how to do neck checks.

There will be a marathon on March 24 at the Parkmall, Mandaue City.

Dubbed the G.O.O.D. run, the focus will be on the speci-fic endocrine disorders of Goiter, Obesity, Osteoporosis and Diabetes. The run will have 3K, 6K, 12K and 21K legs.

There is a 1K leg specifically geared for patients who have the abovementioned disorders.

All 21K runners will have a finisher's medal. Cash prizes and medals will be given to the top runners in the 3K-21K legs.

Aside from the marathon, there will be booths for free screening of blood sugar and cholesterol. A program will follow after the event.

Registration fees are as follows: 1K - P100, 3K to 12K -P300 and 21K - P500.

For more information, visit accephil.com.

You may also contact 234 2620 and look for Stella or 253 8335 and look for Alona.