Women are more likely to develop thyroid disorders than men

Hypothyroidism can lead to irregular menstrual cycles, fatigue, muscle and joint pain.

The most common thyroid disorder seen among adults in India is hypothyroidism. Read on to know the causes, symptoms and treatment of thyroid disorders.

Perhaps one of the most prevalent endocrine problems globally are thyroid disorders. India is also not an exception. It is estimated that about 42 million people in India have thyroid disorders, which include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goiter/iodine deficiency disorders, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and thyroid cancer. The most common thyroid disorder in India is hypothyroidism, affecting one in ten adults.

“The simplicity of diagnosis, accessibility of medical care, and relative visibility of thyroid enlargement sets thyroid problems apart from other illnesses. The cornerstone of management continues to be early diagnosis and adequate treatment,” says Dr Subhramanian Kannan, Consultant Diabetes and Endocrinology, NH Health City, Bangalore.

Talking to the HealthSite, Dr Kannan sheds light on the prevalence of thyroid disorders among Indian women, as well as causes and treatment of thyroid disorders.

Know what is thyroid first

The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped gland located in the neck which produces hormones that influence every cell, tissue and organ in the body; therefore, thyroid health is extremely important. Thyroid hormones play vital roles in growth, neuronal development, reproduction and regulation of energy metabolism. Resultantly, thyroid hormone disorders significantly impact a person’s well-being and quality of life and hence deficiency or excess thyroid hormone can trigger a range of health complications.

Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism: Causes and symptoms

Thyroid disorders can be broadly categorized into two types: hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). In hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland does not produce sufficient hormones, leading to symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, and depression. On the contrary, hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormone, leading to symptoms such as weight loss, nervousness, and increased heart rate.

Early detection, particularly in cases of severe hypothyroidism and early hyperthyroidism can lead to better treatment outcomes and effective management of the condition. But correct detection, diagnosis, and treatment is important.

Women at a higher risk of thyroid disorders

In India, thyroid disorders are prevalent, and women are more likely to develop thyroid disorders than men, with nearly 1 in 10 Indian women estimated to develop a thyroid disorder before the age of 60.

Hypothyroidism can lead to irregular menstrual cycles, fatigue, muscle and joint pain and in severe conditions cause fluid accumulation around the heart and lungs and finally result in lowering of body temperature and coma. Hyperthyroid state can lead to weaking of bones and irregular heartbeat. This can sometimes lead to stroke/paralysis.

Treatment of thyroid disorders

The thyroid conditions can be treated effectively through medication, nuclear medicine therapies, surgery in select cases.

World Thyroid Day

World Thyroid Day is observed on the 25th of May every year, which focuses on increasing awareness of thyroid health and educating about prevention and the treatment of the prevailing thyroid disorders among people. World Thyroid Day serves as an annual reminder of the need to promote awareness, increase understanding, and encourage people to take charge of their health by staying more vigilant, getting regular check-ups and seeking medical advice if they experience any concerning symptoms.

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