It is estimated that approximately 42 million Indians suffer from thyroid related disorders of which 60 percent are women.
Hypothyroidism is highly prevalent 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 percent of the study population. The older population above the age of 35 years seemed to be at higher risk of hypothyroidism than the younger population, according to the study assessing the prevalence of hypothyroidism in India conducted by Abbott India.
Women were three times more likely to be affected by hypothyroidism than men (15.86 percent vs 5.02 percent), especially those in mid-life age between 46-54 years, the study said.
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 risk for the baby's well-being, it said.
Almost one-third of the hypothyroid patients (3.47 per cent) were not aware of the condition and were diagnosed for the first time during the course of study-related screening. Hypertension (20.4 percent) and diabetes mellitus (16.2 percent) were the other common diseases observed in the study population, the study said.
Inland cities namely Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad had higher prevalence of hypothyroidism (11.73 percent) compared to coastal cities like Chennai, Goa and Mumbai. Kolkata recorded the highest prevalence of hypothyroidism of 21.67 percent.
Approximately one-fifth of the study population had anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPO) positivity, an established auto-immune marker pointing towards a steady risk of thyroid disorders, according to the study.

"Our objective of undertaking a nation-wide comprehensive epidemiological study is 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," Abbott India Managing Director Rehan A Khan said.
"Thyroid disorders in India are characterized by a high prevalence, minimal diagnosis, poor awareness and low involvement of doctors in treatment. There is a growing urgency to create awareness of thyroid disorders, the need for early and regular diagnosis and the importance of following a recommended treatment regime," Principal Investigator of the study A G Unnikrishnan said.
Dr Mahesh Padsalge, Mumbai Investigator of the Study and Consultant Diabetologist, Diabecare - Speciality Diabetes Centre said, "Of the 1,259 people in Mumbai, 9.61 percent were diagnosed with hypothyroidism, of which 2.86 percent were screened for the disorder for the first time. Approximately one-fourth (25.42 percent) of the population from Mumbai tested positive for anti-TPO antibodies, hence putting them at a greater risk of developing thyroid disorders in the future.


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