Thyroid problems are becoming increasingly common in India, with an estimated 42 million people suffering from thyroid disorders. The thyroid gland, located in the neck, produces hormones that regulate metabolism and other bodily functions. When the thyroid gland produces too much or too little of these hormones, it can lead to a range of health problems.
There are several factors that can contribute to thyroid problems. Here are some of the most common causes:
1. Iodine deficiency: Iodine is an essential mineral that is required for the production of thyroid hormones. In India, iodine deficiency is a major cause of thyroid problems, particularly in areas where the soil is deficient in iodine. To prevent iodine deficiency, it is important to consume iodized salt and other iodine-rich foods such as seafood, dairy products, and eggs.
2. Autoimmune disorders: Autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease can cause the immune system to attack the thyroid gland, leading to inflammation and damage. These disorders are more common in women and tend to run in families.
3. Radiation exposure: Exposure to radiation, particularly during childhood, can increase the risk of thyroid problems. This can include exposure to radiation from medical treatments such as radiation therapy, as well as exposure to environmental radiation from sources such as nuclear accidents.
4. Medications: Certain medications, such as lithium and amiodarone, can interfere with thyroid function and lead to thyroid problems.
5. Age and gender: Thyroid problems are more common in women than men, and the risk increases with age.
6. Pregnancy: Pregnancy can cause changes in thyroid function, and some women may develop thyroid problems during or after pregnancy.
If you are experiencing symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain or loss, hair loss, or changes in mood, it is important to get your thyroid function checked. A simple blood test can determine whether you have a thyroid problem.
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