Infertility, weight gain, depression? Get a thyroid test, say experts

January 6th, 2009 - 6:58 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 6 (IANS) It’s one of the most common disorders, yet thyroid problems - which lead to weight issues, depression and even infertility - are the least detected, simply because people are not aware of it. According to experts, over 42 million (4.2 crore) Indians suffer from thyroid problems - which they cite as the next diabetes. However, 90 percent of those suffering from thyroid problems are unaware they have the health condition.

R.V. Jayakumar, chairman of the Indian Thyroid Society (ITS), said a part of the fault lay with the doctors who don’t communicate enough with their patients about thyroid problems, the risks, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

“I don’t know whether the problem is lack of knowledge on the part of doctors, but the bottom line is that millions of people are walking around with thyroid problem, but they are not getting properly diagnosed and treated,” Jayakumar said.

In order to increase awareness, ITS is observing the entire month of January as the ‘Think Thyroid’ month, said a press statement.

He said that women are eight times more prone to thyroid problems than men.

“Difficulty in conceiving and recurrent miscarriages can be a symptom of underactive thyroid. Sadly many doctors do not routinely perform a complete thyroid evaluation in women experiencing fertility problems. Even more shocking, many women getting expensive infertility and assisted reproduction treatments have never even had a thyroid test,” Jayakumar said.

“Even though doctors routinely dismiss thyroid problems as the cause of significant weight gain, studies show that patients who suffer from hypothyroidism are at substantially increased risk of obesity. Metabolism, energy, mood, blood sugar imbalances - all are affected by an underactive thyroid, and increase the risk of weight gain,” he added.

Cholesterol problems can also be caused by thyroid problems.

“A woman considering having a baby, a person gaining weight with no dietary modification and those with high cholesterol before taking medication must take a thyroid test. It’s a hidden disease,” he said.

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