Surprisingly, as many as 10 percent of women may have some degree of thyroid hormone deficiency and in fact, hypothyroidism is more common than you would believe. The problem is that millions of people are currently hypothyroid and are not even aware of it. HEALTH speaks to Dr. Faraz Farishta, Consultant Endocrinologist at Thumbay Hospital India Pvt Ltd. about understanding thyroid diseases and how these are treated.
Thyroid diseases are common worldwide, Dr. Farishta reveals, and in India too, there is a significant burden of thyroid diseases. “Various studies on thyroid disease has estimated that about 42 million people in India suffer from thyroid diseases,” he tells and the five common thyroid diseases in India include: hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goiter and iodine deficiency disorders, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and thyroid cancer.
What it Means
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the body lacks sufficient thyroid hormone, explains Dr. Farishta, elaborating, “Since the main purpose of the thyroid hormone is to ‘run the body’s metabolism’, it is understandable that people with this condition will have symptoms associated with a slow metabolism.
Women, particularly older women, are more likely to develop hypothyroidism than men. Dr. Farishta adds that some of the other risk factors include the following: race (being white or Asian), increasing age, and a higher risk for the person with diabetes, arthritis (chronic joint pains), or vitiligo.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
According to Dr.Farishta, there are many tell-tale symptoms of hypothyroidism. Some
of these include: fatigue, weakness, weight gain, or increased difficulty losing weight, coarse/dry hair, dry/rough pale skin, hair loss, and even intolerance to cold temperatures. “Other symptoms include muscle cramps and frequent muscle aches, constipation, depression, irritability, memory loss, and abnormal menstrual cycles,” he says, and it is also one of the leading causes of infertility. The paradox of this is that you may have one of these symptoms as your main complaint, while another person will not have that problem at all and will be suffering from an entirely different symptom. However, Dr. Farishta points out that most people will have a combination of these symptoms while occasionally, some patients’ with hypothyroidism have no symptoms at all, or they are just so subtle that they go unnoticed. However, left untreated, the symptoms of hypothyroidism will usually progress, and rarely, complications can result in severe life-threatening depression, heart failure, or coma.
The good news, tells Dr. Farishta, is that hypothyroidism can often be diagnosed with a simple blood test. “However, in some individuals, it’s not so simple and more detailed tests are required,” he explains. “Most importantly, a consultation with a good endocrinologist will almost surely be required.”
Gold Standard Treatment
Hypothyroidism is completely treatable in many patients’ simply by taking a small pill once a day, points out Dr. Farishta, however, this is not always so easy. “There are several types of thyroid hormone preparations and one type of medicine will not be the best therapy for all patients,” he concludes.
Five Foods Hypothyroid Patients’ Should Avoid
Soy and soy-related products, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower.
About Dr. Faraz Farishta
Dr Faraz Farishta, Consultant Endocrinologist at Thumbay Hospital India Pvt Ltd. has been trained in the UK in diagnosing and treating thyroid and all complications associated with thyroid disorders. He has vast experience in treating thyroid disorders as well as infertility linked to thyroid disorders, thyroid complicating pregnancies, thyroid disorders in children, obesity with thyroid disorders, and diabetes and thyroid disorders.He is a member of both the American and Indian Thyroid Society and has also been invited by the American Thyroid Society to share his experiences on ‘Thyroid Disorders and Metabolic Syndrome—a Pan-India Study’ he conducted.
At Thumbay Hospital, India Pvt Ltd. there is a team led by Dr. Faraz Farishta in treating thyroid disorders, PCOS, osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, and in particular, diabetes complicating pregnancies. Thumbay Hospital is also launching a Gestational Diabetes Clinic soon for the first time in South India which will include state-of-the-art facilities for pregnant women with diabetes.