Time to get your thyroid checked: study

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on October 09, 2013

People with thyroid disorders, unaware of their condition

If you feel fatigued, depressed or undergo a sudden weight gain, it may be time to check your thyroid, as a recent nation-wide study found that one-third of people surveyed as being hypothyroid were not aware of their condition.


Of the 5,300-odd people surveyed across eight cities, as part of the thyroid epidemiological study --  hypothyroidism (where the thyroid gland is less active) was found in one of every 10, said A G Unnikrishnan, a principal investigator with the study and chief executive and endocrinologist, with Pune’s Chellaram Diabetes Institute.

Women were seen to be three times more likely to be affected by hypothyroidism than men, especially in the 46-54 years age-group, he added.  And about eight percent of those surveyed were seen to be mildly hypothyroid.  India is estimated to have about 40 million people with thyroid disorder, and over 60 percent of them are women.

Though the study was urban-centric and found inland cities (Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad) having higher prevalence of hypothyroidism than coastal cities (Chennai, Goa, Mumbai) – Unnikrishnan said that these findings needed to be further researched. The study established the high prevalence of thyroid disorders, he said, urging greater screening.

Despite the broad use of iodised salt in the country since 2004, the prevalence of hypothyroidism was high, he said, pointing out the vulnerability of the population.

Drug-maker Abbott, that initiated this study, also participates in thyroid screening programmes with the Government in Visakhapatnam, Bangalore and Puducherry, said Rehan A. Khan, Managing Director of Abbott India. The company’s Thyronorm for hypothyroidism is available in the local market and is in the Government’s price-control net.  For the year ending December, Abbott would bring in 15 new products or extensions to products already being sold in the country, he said, without giving details.

Published on October 09, 2013

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