global carer survey

In order to uncover what challenges caregivers face around the world, Embracing CarersTM has conducted a multi-national survey to determine the unmet needs of caregivers and the impact that caring for others has on their own health and well-being. Our findings are revealed here.

global carer survey

In order to uncover what challenges caregivers face around the world, Embracing CarersTM has conducted a multi-national survey to determine the unmet needs of caregivers and the impact that caring for others has on their own health and well-being. Our findings are revealed here.

SURVEY OVERVIEW

Every day, caregivers around the world sacrifice their own time and energy to care for loved ones. To uncover the varying challenges faced by caregivers around the world, Embracing CarersTM recently conducted an international survey to determine the unmet needs of caregivers and the impact that caring for others has on their own health and well-being.

The Embracing CarersTM online survey was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Merck. It questioned 3,516 unpaid/unprofessional caregivers aged 18-75 years including 2,106 respondents aged 35-55 in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK and the US between 27 July and 8 August, 2017. Respondents were screened to ensure that only unpaid, unprofessional caregivers participated in the survey. Results from the survey revealed that:

  • Nearly half (47%) of unpaid caregivers have feelings of depression with almost 3 in 5 (57%) feeling that they needed medical care/support for a mental health condition (e.g. depression, anxiety, stress) due to their role as an unpaid caregiver. Of these a quarter (25%) have not sought medical help.
  • More than half (55%) of unpaid caregivers feel that their physical health has suffered as a result of their carer duties.
  • More than half (54%) of unpaid caregivers don’t have time to book or attend medical appointments for themselves.
  • 42% of unpaid caregivers puts the health of the person they’re caring for above themselves.
  • 30% of unpaid caregivers feel that their role of a carer has put pressure on their financial situation.
  • Almost 3 in 10 (28%) of unpaid caregivers feel their role as a carer is unrecognized by their healthcare system.
  • More than 1 in 5 (21%) of unpaid caregivers feel their career has been negatively affected by their role as a caregiver.

Who is at risk?


  • Women are generally more prone to developing hypothyroidism, especially during pregnancy, after giving birth and around the menopause6
  • The elderly generation6
  • People who have relatives with autoimmune disorders6
  • People with autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritiss6
  • People with manic depression6
  • Patients who have undergone radiation treatment or thyroid surgery6
  • Caucasian (white) and Asian populations6

References

  1. EndocrineWeb. Hypothyroidism: too little thyroid hormone. Available at https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid/hypothyroidism-too-little-thyroid-hormone. Last accessed January 2017
  2. American Thyroid Association. Hypothyroidism. Available at http://www.thyroid.org/wp-content/uploads/patients/brochures/Hypo_brochure.pdf. Last accessed January 2017
  3. British Thyroid Foundation. Psychological symptoms and thyroid disorders. Available at http://www.btf-thyroid.org/information/leaflets/37-psychological-symptoms-guide. Last accessed January 2017
  4. Poppe K, Velkeniers B, Glinoer D. The role of thyroid autoimmunity in fertility and pregnancy. Nat Clin Pract Endocrinol Metab 2008; 4: 394–405
  5. Tan ZS, Beiser A, Vasan RS et al. Thyroid function and the risk of Alzheimer disease: the Framingham Study. Arch Intern Med 2008; 168: 1514–1520
  6. American Thyroid Association. Hypothyroidism. Available at http://www.thyroid.org/wp-content/uploads/patients/brochures/Hypothyroidism_web_booklet.pdf. Last accessed January 2017
  7. Hormone Health Network. Hypothyroidism and heart disease. Available at http://www.hormone.org/questions-and-answers/2013/hypothyroidism-and-heart-disease. Last accessed January 2017
  8. Razvi S, Weaver JU, Pearce SH. Subclinical thyroid disorders: significance and clinical impact. J Clin Pathol 2010; 63: 379–386
  9. Iervasi G, Molinaro S, Landi P et al. Association between increased mortality and mild thyroid dysfunction in cardiac patients. Arch Intern Med 2007; 167: 1526–1532

Diagnosing thyroid dysfunction

Many people remain undiagnosed with thyroid problems and suffer for a long time as their symptoms are confused with those of other conditions, such as depression, obesity or the menopause. Thyroid dysfunction can be confirmed by your doctor through a simple blood test to check the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroid hormones in your blood.6

If you are concerned that you could be suffering from problems with your thyroid gland, please discuss this with your doctor. To aid your consultation, download our Wellbeing Diary to help you keep a check of the symptoms you are experiencing, or try our short thyroid disorders symptom checker.

How hypothyroidism is treated

Treatment for thyroid dysfunction is straightforward, well-established, and highly effective.6 As there is no cure for hypothyroidism, the aim of treatment is to replace the missing thyroid hormones in the body.6 Appropriate medication, taken daily, should enable patients to live a symptom-free life.6

If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, it is important to remember that treatment is a lifelong commitment and medication has to be taken every day, even when your symptoms are under control.6 This may seem a bit daunting, but by taking control of your condition and complying with your medication you should be able to remain symptom-free.6 It is advisable to see your doctor more frequently if any changes in your condition occur.


References

  1. EndocrineWeb. Hypothyroidism: too little thyroid hormone. Available at https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid/hypothyroidism-too-little-thyroid-hormone. Last accessed January 2017
  2. American Thyroid Association. Hypothyroidism. Available at http://www.thyroid.org/wp-content/uploads/patients/brochures/Hypo_brochure.pdf. Last accessed January 2017
  3. British Thyroid Foundation. Psychological symptoms and thyroid disorders. Available at http://www.btf-thyroid.org/information/leaflets/37-psychological-symptoms-guide. Last accessed January 2017
  4. Poppe K, Velkeniers B, Glinoer D. The role of thyroid autoimmunity in fertility and pregnancy. Nat Clin Pract Endocrinol Metab 2008; 4: 394–405
  5. Tan ZS, Beiser A, Vasan RS et al. Thyroid function and the risk of Alzheimer disease: the Framingham Study. Arch Intern Med 2008; 168: 1514–1520
  6. American Thyroid Association. Hypothyroidism. Available at http://www.thyroid.org/wp-content/uploads/patients/brochures/Hypothyroidism_web_booklet.pdf. Last accessed January 2017
  7. Hormone Health Network. Hypothyroidism and heart disease. Available at http://www.hormone.org/questions-and-answers/2013/hypothyroidism-and-heart-disease. Last accessed January 2017
  8. Razvi S, Weaver JU, Pearce SH. Subclinical thyroid disorders: significance and clinical impact. J Clin Pathol 2010; 63: 379–386
  9. Iervasi G, Molinaro S, Landi P et al. Association between increased mortality and mild thyroid dysfunction in cardiac patients. Arch Intern Med 2007; 167: 1526–1532

How thyroid hormones impact your heart

The heart is a major target of thyroid hormones.

Too little thyroid hormone as a consequence of an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) may cause:7

  • Increased levels of low-density lipoprotein (“bad”) cholesterol, total cholesterol, and triglycerides
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Low heart rate (less than 60 beats per minute)
  • Increased stiffness of the walls of the blood vessels
  • Increased strain on the heart

Even mild hypothyroidism worsens heart disease

Mild hypothyroidism affects 4–20% of the population and is more common in women than in men.8 Older people are more likely to suffer from a slightly underactive thyroid gland.6 If you have both heart disease and a slightly underactive thyroid then it is vital that your thyroid is returned to normal function. The presence of both diseases is associated with increased risk for death from heart disease.9


References

  1. EndocrineWeb. Hypothyroidism: too little thyroid hormone. Available at https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid/hypothyroidism-too-little-thyroid-hormone. Last accessed January 2017
  2. American Thyroid Association. Hypothyroidism. Available at http://www.thyroid.org/wp-content/uploads/patients/brochures/Hypo_brochure.pdf. Last accessed January 2017
  3. British Thyroid Foundation. Psychological symptoms and thyroid disorders. Available at http://www.btf-thyroid.org/information/leaflets/37-psychological-symptoms-guide. Last accessed January 2017
  4. Poppe K, Velkeniers B, Glinoer D. The role of thyroid autoimmunity in fertility and pregnancy. Nat Clin Pract Endocrinol Metab 2008; 4: 394–405
  5. Tan ZS, Beiser A, Vasan RS et al. Thyroid function and the risk of Alzheimer disease: the Framingham Study. Arch Intern Med 2008; 168: 1514–1520
  6. American Thyroid Association. Hypothyroidism. Available at http://www.thyroid.org/wp-content/uploads/patients/brochures/Hypothyroidism_web_booklet.pdf. Last accessed January 2017
  7. Hormone Health Network. Hypothyroidism and heart disease. Available at http://www.hormone.org/questions-and-answers/2013/hypothyroidism-and-heart-disease. Last accessed January 2017
  8. Razvi S, Weaver JU, Pearce SH. Subclinical thyroid disorders: significance and clinical impact. J Clin Pathol 2010; 63: 379–386
  9. Iervasi G, Molinaro S, Landi P et al. Association between increased mortality and mild thyroid dysfunction in cardiac patients. Arch Intern Med 2007; 167: 1526–1532

 

Get your copy of the full Embracing CarersTM Global Survey here.