Thyroid hormone action is important for growth and development of the children, and in adults it plays a critical role in the regulation of function and metabolism of every organ system in the body. Hypothyroidism refers to underactive thyroid gland and is due to decreased production of thyroid hormones. It causes symptoms in the early stages, but over time, untreated hypothyroidism can cause a number of health issues, such as obesity, joint pain, infertility and heart disease.
Hypothyroidism in India:
1 out of 10 adults in India is suffering from Hypothyroidism with 1/3rd of cases are still undiagnosed. It is more common in women than men and in people over the age of 60 years. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of hypothyroidism but with the widespread use of iodized salt, other form of hypothyroidism called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (a type of autoimmune thyroid disease) is now more commonly seen.
Diagnosis of Hypothyroidism:
Diagnosis is based on the symptoms and the results of the blood tests that measure the level of TSH and sometimes the level of the thyroid hormone, thyroxine (T4) also. A low level of thyroxine and high level of TSH indicates overt hypothyroidism which needs treatment. Only mild increase in TSH indicates sub-clinical hypothyroidism and initiation of treatment has to be individualized based on other parameters.
Treatment of Hypothyroidism:
Do’s & Don’ts during Hypothyroidism treatment: