Thyroid disorders are the second most common endocrine disease prevalent in the society, diabetes being the first. No age is immune to this problem. But what is comforting is that with timely diagnosis and treatment, most of these can be controlled.
4-10% of general population is suffering from thyroid disorders. Awareness both among the public and medical fraternity is now increasing with regards to thyroid gland problems.
The disorders are divided into hypothyroidism (an under-functioning thyroid gland), hyperthyroidism(an over-functioning thyroid gland), a nodular disease of the thyroid including thyroid cancer. Treatment of these varied conditions needs a proficient and focused approach.
Even though the thyroid disorders are thought to be more common in the middle age, more and more cases are being diagnosed in the age groups below 30 years.
Therapy in all the age groups is important but effective treatment in childhood is extremely important because the disorders have long-term complications such as short stature, mental retardation, delay in puberty. Newborn screening is an important tool which helps us in identifying the cases early in life, it is mandatory in most of the developed countries.
It is a growing problem, though not in the epidemic proportions unlike diabetes in our country, improved awareness will help in better management.
Dr. Sridevi Paladugu, MBBS, MD, DM
Endocrinologist, Apollo Hospitals, Hyderguda
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