Thyroid disease affects both men and women, but the condition is more common in women. In India, the number of people suffering from thyroid disorders is on the rise with more than forty-two million suffering from different types of the condition.
According to a survey conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), almost about every third person in India suffers some kind of thyroid disorder. The thyroid is a gland in the neck. It produces thyroid hormones, which maintain the body’s metabolism.
Any dysfunction of the butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck can result in several different disorders, ranging from a small, harmless goiter (enlarged gland) that needs no treatment to life-threatening cancer. The most common thyroid disorders involve abnormal production of thyroid hormones.
The two major types of thyroid disease are – hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). In hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland produces too much of its hormone. In hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormones.
It is said that about 1 in 10 adults in India are suffering from hypothyroidism, which can lead to goiter, if left untreated. Goiter is an enlargement of your thyroid gland. It increases your risk of stroke and infertility. Thyroid disorders are found to be more common in the female population. As per a research, ‘Thyroid Dysfunction in an Adult Female Population’, women are 3-10 times more susceptible to thyroid disease than men.
Scientists do not know what makes women more prone to thyroid disorders, however, they believe there are certain factors that may play a role behind this gender disparity – pregnancy, an autoimmune attack, stress, nutritional deficiencies, or toxins in the environment. An annual screening of thyroid gland can help detect the problems earlier, making the treatment easier in women. Thyroid disorders have no cure, but in most cases, the conditions can be managed and controlled with proper treatment.