One in six women in Delhi may suffer from hypothyroidism — a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones during the first three months of pregnancy.
A study conducted by Dr Dinesh Dhanwal, professor of medicine and endocrinology, Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC), found 14.3 per cent of 1,000 pregnant women in Lok Nayak, GB Pant and Kasturba hospitals to be suffering from hypothyroidism.
The study, which was conducted over a period of three months early in 2011, has been accepted for publication in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism.
“We cannot find a solution, unless we know the magnitude of the problem. This study has helped us know the prevalence of hypothyroidism among pregnant women. It is the second most common hormone-related problem in the country,” said Dr Dhanwal.
“It is a reversible condition if diagnosed and treated in time. Pregnant women must take extra care, as it can impact not only their health, but also that of the baby,” he added.
Hair loss, fatigue, unusual weight gain, constipation, depression and decreased concentration can all be the result of a thyroid problem.
“It is a silent condition that may not kill you, but may drastically deteriorate your quality of life if left untreated,” said professor RV Jayakumar, president, Indian Thyroid Society.
The society, in collaboration with Abbott India Limited, has launched a thyroid awareness initiative across the country. Under this, nearly 10 lakh people have been screened at various camps since 2010, and this year, they expect to cover about 10 lakh women.
An estimated 40 million Indians suffer from thyroid related disorders, of which 60 per cent are women.
The condition, which commonly affects people between 20 and 40 years, can be due to genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors.
A larger study is in the pipeline that is expected to cover more than 5,000 pregnant women across the country.