Hypothyroidism is believed to be a common prevailing disorder in India, as it is worldwide. The life-threatening disorder is estimated to affect 200 million people worldwide and 50 per cent of people remain undiagnosed. A study shows that around 78 million people in India suffer from thyroid and the number is estimated to increase.
The disease is a condition that develops when the thyroid gland is unable to produce enough hormones. Autoimmune mechanisms appear to play an etiological role in a major ratio of patients. Iodine intake ceases to be the sole etiological contender for thyroid disorders in urban areas. Thyroid disorders are 10 times more common in women; however most of them are unaware of their condition with an additional 20 per cent of the population found to be at a higher future risk of thyroid.
The prevalence of undetected hypothyroidism was 3.47 per cent, which is almost one-third of the hypothyroid patients. Even though it is easy to detect and less expensive to treat disease, patients often remain undetected and undiagnosed which impacts their overall well-being and health.
Untreated thyroid can lead to many health concerns like physical and psychological health issues, heart diseases, infertility and birth defects resulting in a poor quality of life. Prevention is better than cure. You can prevent thyroid from becoming a serious concern by recognising its symptoms and getting treated by the doctor. Maintaining a proper diet with more intakes of iodine, zinc and alga will be helpful. In addition, efforts should be made to prevent emotional stress. This leads to a good health and well-being.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism can be mild or severe, but are often subtle. An underactive thyroid gland affects all organs and functions within the body indeed leads to both physical and emotional symptoms. The symptoms that are associated with the condition are; weight gain, weakness, dry skin, fatigue, hair loss, high cholesterol, irregular periods and infertility. Consistent screening for pregnant women is important since the disease may exist without symptoms.
The thyroid hormones are dangerous for brain development in the baby. It is prior to be diagnosed at the right time otherwise your child may end up having serious psychological and physical development issues.
By: Dr Talacheru Srinivasulu
(The writer is Consultant General Physician and Diabetologist at Gleneagles Global Hospitals.)