Hypothyroidism is a condition that affects thousands of people in India. This commonly occurring condition can have serious repercussions on health and wellbeing. Hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid gland, can cause health problems such as obesity, heart disease, improper growth and development in teens and children, etc. As the symptoms of hypothyroidism are often subtle and can be attributed to many other factors, they often go unnoticed until the condition turns serious.
Hypothyroidism can lead to serious health problems such as goitre, heart conditions, mental health conditions, and birth defects. Depending on the age and gender of the individual, these problems can be life altering. Babies, children and teenagers can encounter mental and physical growth problems. Untreated hypothyroidism in pregnant women can compromise foetal neurocognitive development.
As hypothyroidism can remain undetected for a long time, it is necessary to take steps to prevent it.
One of the foremost reasons for hypothyroidism is lack of iodine in the diet. The thyroid gland requires this chemical element in order to function normally. As the human body cannot produce this on its own, iodine must be supplied to the body from the food we consume. The easiest and most practical way to include iodine in the diet is to use iodized salt. This salt is enriched with iodine to address our body’s need. Daily use of iodized salt can help prevent diseases such as goitre.
In the popular medical journal, The Lancet, the chairman of the Medanta Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes (Gurgaon, India), Ambrish Mithal mentions that the unregulated use of pesticides and exposure to endocrine disruptors along with unclean drinking water and exposure to industrial pollutants can also be reasons for hypothyroidism. To avoid this, consume a healthy diet which includes natural foods that haven’t been heavily treated by pesticides or are highly processed.
As the signs of hypothyroidism can be easily missed, it is best to screen your thyroid levels through a blood test periodically. This is especially important for vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, the elderly and those with compromised diets. Regular screening will ensure that hypothyroidism is noticed and any abnormalities are treated at the earliest.
Take these simple steps to help you and your family stay away from hypothyroidism. Consult your doctor to understand your dietary needs and ascertain your path to healthy living.