Rising Thyroid Disorder Risk: 1 in 8 Women Affected, Say Experts

Highlighting the critical need for increased awareness about thyroid testing in infants, pregnant women, and those planning pregnancy, experts on World Thyroid Day emphasized that one in eight women is at risk of developing a thyroid disorder in their lifetime. World Thyroid Day, observed annually, aims to raise public awareness about thyroid diseases and the importance of maintaining a healthy thyroid gland.

Dr. Rajesh Rajput, Director of Endocrinology and Diabetology at Medanta, Gurugram, noted the significant burden of thyroid disorders in India. “Alarmingly, one in every ten individuals has thyroid dysfunction, with the majority of cases diagnosed in the late stages. Most thyroid conditions are chronic, requiring lifelong medication, and they are ten times more prevalent in women than in men,” Rajput told IANS.

Health experts estimate that around 42 million people in India suffer from thyroid disorders, with a significantly higher incidence among women compared to men. “Hypothyroidism,” a condition where the level of thyroid hormones in the blood decreases, is particularly common among women aged 20 to 50 years, though it can occur at any age.

Dr. Chandan Kumar Mishra, Senior Consultant in Endocrinology at Aakash Healthcare, Delhi, explained, “The level of thyroid hormones in the blood needs to be normal for all the systems of our body to function properly. Both high and low levels of thyroid hormones can have numerous effects on our body.”

Thyroid disorders can also significantly impact neurological health, according to Dr. Praveen Gupta, Principal Director and Chief of Neurology at Fortis Hospital, Gurugram. “Cognitive sequelae associated with hypothyroidism include memory loss, problems with focus and concentration, and changes in intellectual capacity. Some patients may experience ‘brain fog,’ where they feel dazed or easily confused,” Gupta told IANS. Effective treatment often requires a multidisciplinary approach involving endocrinologists, neuropathologists, psychiatrists, and other specialists.

Experts stress the importance of increasing awareness of thyroid disorder symptoms and ensuring timely treatment. Doctors should educate patients about the symptoms and promote regular thyroid testing. “By prioritizing these actions, we can improve health outcomes and reduce the long-term impact of thyroid disorders on individuals and communities,” said Dr. Rajput.

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