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High risk of hypothyroidism in Indians: Study

Kolkata, Dec 3 : Global healthcare company Abbott India announced on Tuesday the Kolkata results from a study assessing the prevalence of hypothyroidism in India that was published in the July 2013 issue of the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism.


The Thyroid Epidemiological Study team was led by Dr. A. G Unnikrishnan, Principal Investigator of the study and CEO and Endocrinologist, Chellaram Diabetes Institute, Pune; Dr. Mary D' Cruz, Kolkata Investigator and Consultant Physician, Kolkata; and other researchers.

This study initiated by Abbott is India's first cross-sectional and multi-city study to quantify prevalence of thyroid dysfunctions in the post iodization phase in Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, Goa, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad.

Key Findings from the study:

· Hypothyroidism is highly prevalent amongst the surveyed population across India with one out of ten people being diagnosed with the condition.

· Hypothyroidism was found to be a common form of thyroid dysfunction affecting 10.95% of the study population in India. The older population (above the age of 35 years) seemed to be at higher risk of hypothyroidism than the younger population (13.11% vs. 7.53%).

· Of the 5360 people screened for thyroid disorders in India, 8.69% were enrolled from Kolkata. About 3.6% of hypothyroid cases were not aware of their disease. Over 22% of the study population tested positive for anti-TPO antibodies putting them at a higher risk of developing future thyroid disorder.

· Women were three times more likely to be affected by hypothyroidism than men (15.86% vs. 5.02%), especially those in midlife (46-54 years).

· Hypertension (20.4%) and diabetes mellitus (16.2%) were the other common diseases observed in the study population.

· Approximately one-fifth of the study population had anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies [TPO] positivity, an established autoimmune marker pointing toward a steady risk of thyroid disorders.

"The study assessed the nationwide prevalence of thyroid disorder, particularly hypothyroidism, in adults residing in various cities that represent diverse geographic origin, occupation, socio-economic status and food habits," says Dr. A. G Unnikrishnan, Principal Investigator of the study and CEO and Endocrinologist, Chellaram Diabetes Institute, Pune.

"Many patients were diagnosed with hypothyroidism for the first time during the study. Screening for thyroid disorders is essential for early detection, treatment and management of the disease.

"Since women are more affected than men, it poses major health issues to women. Tiredness, weight gain, hair loss, menstrual irregularities, decreased fertility and depression are symptoms that are observed in women with hypothyroidism."

Dr. Mary D' Cruz, Consultant Physician and the Study Investigator for Kolkata, says, "Of the total study population, about 3.6% of hypothyroid cases were not aware of their disease. Over 11% of the population was diagnosed of subclinical or mild hypothyroidism which may progress to hypothyroidism in future.

"Mild thyroid failure was found highest in Kolkata as compared to any other city national prevalence was 8%. Over 22% of the study population tested positive for anti-TPO antibodies putting them at a higher risk of developing future thyroid disorder."

Globally, thyroid disorders continue to be common yet one of the most under-diagnosed and neglected chronic health conditions.

These disorders impair normal functioning of the thyroid gland causing abnormal production of hormones leading to hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

The prevalence of hypothyroidism in the developed world is estimated to be about 4-5%.

If left untreated, hypothyroidism can cause elevated cholesterol levels, an increase in blood pressure, an increased rate of cardiovascular complications, decreased fertility, and depression; and in pregnant women, placental abnormalities and increased risks for the baby's well-being.

These symptoms are often confused with other disorders, thus making thyroid disorders one of the most underdiagnosed disorders in India. Like diabetes, there is no permanent cure for most forms of thyroid disorders, but with medication and precise treatment, thyroid disorders can be controlled and patients can live normal lives.

Rehan A. Khan, Managing Director, Abbott India, said "The city-specific epidemiological study will help to get a true picture of the evolving profile of thyroid disorders in the post iodization phase in India.

"By partnering with various stakeholders, Abbott is seeking to advance understanding, increase awareness and support proper diagnosis of thyroid disorders in our country."

--IBNS (Posted on 03-12-2013)

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