25th May is celebrated as World Thyroid Day to raise awareness among people battling thyroid disorders.
5 common thyroid diseases in India: (1) hypothyroidism, (2) hyperthyroidism, (3) goiter and iodine deficiency disorders, (4) Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and (5) thyroid cancer.
Thyroid disorders are on the rise in India:
According to a clinical survey, about 32% Indians have suffered various forms of thyroid disorders.
Thyroid hormones control metabolism, growth, body temperature, the menstrual cycle, the functioning of vital organs and muscular strength. It interacts with estrogen and insulin. Both hypo and hyperthyroidism can cause insulin resistance.
Approximately 1 in 10 Indian adults suffer from hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones to meet the needs of the body. This condition is twice as common in women of child-bearing age.
- Iodine deficiency (esp. North India).
- Overtreatment with thyroid medications.
- Birth defects/thyroid surgery.
- Non-thyroid illness eg., inflammatory conditions, severely ill patients.
- Pregnancy/Menopause (low estrogen causes low thyroid levels).
- Subclinical hypothyroidism: Usually high TSH with normal T3/T4.
Diagnosis: Blood tests (TSH, Free T3/T4, antibodies).
- Diet: Sufficient protein, low carbohydrate, adequate selenium, iodine and zinc.
- Exercise: Balance weight training and cardio exercises as it causes muscle weakness called hypothyroid myopathy.
- Stress management: Stress hormone cortisol interferes with the conversion of T4 into T3 (the active form).
- Medication: Thyroid hormone prescribed by the endocrinologist. Maintain a gap of 30-60 minutes prior or 4 hours after a meal/ other supplements as it interacts with food. Review regularly.
Shwetha Bhatia, Registered Dieteitan, Mind Your Fitness!