High prevalence of hypothyroid among public: Hinduja study
A study of 2,886 patients, who came for health check ups at Hinduja Hospital between April 2011 and April 2012, has revealed that 25% of the women and 17% men were suffering from hypothyroidism.mumbai Updated: Jul 02, 2012 02:44 IST
A study of 2,886 patients, who came for health check ups at Hinduja Hospital between April 2011 and April 2012, has revealed that 25% of the women and 17% men were suffering from hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is a condition where the body secretes excess thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) owing to underactivity of the thyroid gland. If untreated, it could lead to high cholesterol levels and reproductive problems.
“The analysis was alarming because these patients were not necessarily showing symptoms. Without treatment mild thyroid failure may develop into overt hypothyroidism and may be associated with increased cholesterol levels,” said Dr Vipla Puri, consultant at rapid immunoassay laboratory at Hinduja Hospital, who did the analysis.
The patients were aged between 31 and 70 years and 1,635 were women.
Hypothyroidism is detected by the presence of TSH in the blood. The study found that 17.12% of women had TSH levels higher than 5.0 using the traditional normal range of 0.3 to 5.0 micro international unit (ulU/ml).
The new guidelines of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists have set the normal range for TSH level up to 3.0. However, the Hinduja study set the normal range to be up to 4.0.
Doctors said routine health check ups after the age of 30 are important for detection of thyroid related problems because people often ignore symptoms.
“Symptoms include lethargy, unexplained weight loss, weight gain in young women. Often women are diagnosed with hypothyroidism when they get pregnant and come for a check up. It is a multi-system disorder and can affect eyes, skin and heart if undetected and untreated,” said Dr Rekha Agarwal, consultant gynaecologist, Lilavati Hospital.
She said patients are often not aware and foods such as broccoli and cabbage may aggravate an existing condition. Insufficient iodine in the body is said to be a trigger for the condition.
However, some doctors disagreed with the study. “This percentage is very high and not representative of general population,” said Dr Nalini Shah, head of the endocrinology department, KEM Hospital.