Thyroid Disorders Affecting 4.2 Crore Indians Every Year

Ahead of World Thyroid Day, the message from the Indian Thyroid Society and Abbott India Limited is that untreated thyroid disorders are very common and it is estimated that 4.2 crore Indians are suffering from thyroid disorders with almost 90 per cent undiagnosed. Often people suffer from different ailments completely unaware that these could be linked to thyroid dysfunction. Thyroid problem is perhaps the second most common endocrine disease next to diabetes.

In order to create a greater understanding on the awareness and diagnosis of thyroid disorders and the co-morbidities associated with it, 40, 000 patients will be examined through 700 thyroid testing camps held across the country ahead of World Thyroid Day. 
According to Dr. R V Jayakumar, President of The Indian Thyroid Society (ITS), millions of people have an undiagnosed thyroid problem, and don’t realize that it is the source of the other serious health challenges they face. Obesity, depression, fatigue, high cholesterol, infertility and many other conditions are very often the direct result of undiagnosed and untreated thyroid conditions. Thyroid disorders are also known to result in dyslipidemia which is an abnormal amount of cholesterol and/or fat in the blood. Dyslipidemia is known to be an important contributor to cardiovascular risks including all cause mortality.
He added, “In order to avoid complications health wise it is important to go for a regular thyroid check up to ensure a long and healthy life. Think Thyroid, Think Life.”
The thyroid is a small butterfly shaped gland located in the ‘neck’ region, just under the Adam’s apple. It makes, stores and releases thyroid hormones that influence almost every cell in the body. In short, the thyroid gland facilitates smooth functioning of our body.
Dr. Ankush Desai, Endocrinologist, Goa Medical College says, “The most common thyroid disorder-hypothyroidism results when the thyroid gland fails to produce enough hormones. Hypothyroidism is often not suspected. Since thyroid function is not typically tested as a part of the regular blood tests, it is important to consult your local physician about doing a simple blood test called Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test. The sensitive Thyroid Stimulating Hormone test is the most valuable single test to diagnose hypothyroidism. It enables doctors to identify even mild cases of hypothyroidism before symptoms appear.”
Over the past several years it has been proved that maternal thyroid disorder influence the outcome of mother and fetus, during and also after pregnancy. Hence, it is important for women to “Think Thyroid” if they are:

  1. Planning pregnancy: Undiagnosed thyroid condition in pregnant women increase the risk of miscarriages, stillbirth and premature birth. Untreated mild thyroid condition in a mother may reduce her child’s IQ scores and aptitude. If already hypothyroid and planning pregnancy, make sure your doctor optimizes the dose of thyroid medicine for each trimester since there is an increase in dose requirement during pregnancy. Monitoring and regulating TSH levels towards lower normal range have proven benefits on pregnancy outcomes
  2. Unable to conceive: Women unable to conceive should undergo a comprehensive thyroid evaluation in consultation with their doctor 
  3. Facing repeated miscarriages: Doctors claim that miscarriages could be reduced if screening for thyroid problems were a standard part of prenatal testing. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists recommends universal thyroid screening test for every woman planning a pregnancy. A study reports most pregnant woman with thyroid disease would be diagnosed by case finding but at least 30% will remain undetected.
  4. Experiencing Menstrual abnormalities: It is observed that 68.2% of Indian hypothyroid women have menstrual abnormalities.

Thyroid disorders can be medically managed with effective treatment. Not only the symptoms improve but also an improvement in the quality of life of patients is reported. The challenge ahead is the lack of awareness and effective diagnosis at the right time. Think thyroid-Think Life!

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