‘42 million Indians suffer from thyroid disease’

May 25th, 2008 - 2:07 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Nearly 42 million Indians are suffering from thyroid disease, doctors said on the International Day of Thyroid Sunday. According to the Indian Thyroid Society (ITS), thyroid disorders are among the most common and yet most under-diagnosed of all health problems, making it a hidden disease.

Experts said women are eight times more prone than men to the disease.

“With growth, the demand for thyroid increases in the body and women are more prone to the disease especially after they reach puberty,” said Unnikrishnan A.G., a professor at the Amrita Institute of Medical Science at Cochin.

“If thyroid patients are not monitored and the disease not controlled, they may suffer from more serious health problems like higher cholesterol levels, heart disease, osteoporosis, infertility and depression,” Unnikrishnan told IANS.

The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate metabolism in every organ, tissue and cell in the body. It contributes to the growth of children’s physical attributes, mental power and even the IQ level.

Doctors said that with iodized salt reaching almost every parts of the country the problem has gone down in a major way.

“There is a substantial decrease in the number of people suffering from thyroid problem. But what is required is more awareness and concerted efforts in some pockets of the country where the disease prevalence is high,” said R.K. Marwaha of the Delhi-based Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences.

Marwaha said among children 20 percent suffer from goitre (enlarged thyroid gland) problem. Of these, nearly one percent suffer from the under-performing thyroid gland, medically known as overt hypo-thyroidism.

“Seven to eight percent of those kids suffering from goitre problem have sub-clinical hypo-thyroidism,” Marwaha, an endocrinologist, told IANS.

In sub-clinical hypothyroidism, the symptoms are not visible.

The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism, which constitutes over 80 percent of all thyroid disorders, are fatigue, weight gain, intolerance to cold, sleepiness, depression, goitre, dry coarse skin and hair, hoarse voice, forgetfulness and constipation.

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