Thyroid is an important gland, and problems with this gland may be more common than we may think. Millions of people in India suffer from thyroid disorders. Hypothyroidism is the most common thyroid disorder. To spread awareness about it, Medicircle is speaking to eminent endocrinologists so that people can manage this condition well with insights gained directly from experts.
Dr. Tanvi Mayur Patel is an Endocrinologist based in Mumbai and associated with Dr. Tanvi’s Clinic. Her special areas of interest are thyroid disorders, diabetes, hormonal imbalance and obesity. She has completed her Masters in Endocrinology from the Prestigious University of South Wales, the United Kingdom (UK), and Cardiff University. She is also trained under the guidelines of the American Diabetes Association and Thyroidology and has acquired a degree in Ophthalmology and training in Diabetic Medical Retina. As part of social responsibility, she has done lots of work in rural India to help the poor and needy people in managing diabetes and thyroid disorders.
Genetic and environmental factors cause thyroid disorders
Dr. Tanvi mentions, “In the mind of the general population, two conditions lead to thyroid disorders. One is underactive thyroid and the other is overactive thyroid. However, various other conditions can cause thyroid disorders. As far as underactive and overactive thyroid conditions are concerned, autoimmunity lies at the roots. Autoimmunity is genetic. If someone’s grandmother, mother, aunt, or sister is suffering from thyroid ailments, the person is likely to suffer from it too. Apart from genetic prevalence, environmental factors play a significant role in thyroid disorder incidences. It is the environmental factors that trigger the genetic predispositions and convert them into diseases,” says Dr. Tanvi.
Genetically modified seeds and pesticides lead to thyroid problems
Dr. Tanvi emphasizes, “There is no direct dietary implication on thyroid disorders. However, some people are sensitive to gluten found in wheat. The same applies to soya products. Wheat and soya products trigger autoimmunity. This was not the case earlier; 100-150 years back but now since the agriculture process has vastly changed in which there is the use of genetically modified seeds, people are developing insensitivity towards certain food items and autoimmunity is getting triggered. If there is an established case of thyroid disorders then patients are advised to avoid eating raw cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc. However, we mostly cook and eat these vegetables so the implications of having these vegetables is minimal on the thyroid gland. It’s the pesticides in our food which are disrupting our endocrine health and hormones.”
Thyroid prevalence ratios of our society:
Dr. Tanvi mentions that disorders related to the thyroid are highly prevalent in our society. She lists down following significant points related to prevalence:
- "In the women population, thyroid problem is more prevalent
- Problems of underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) are more prevalent than overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
- Compared to urban areas, problems of goitre (swelling of the neck due to enlarged thyroid gland) are more prevalent in rural and hilly regions”
Covid and thyroid – myths debunked
Dr. Tanvi lists down the following significant points:
- "There is no strength in the statement that if a person is suffering from a thyroid disorder, he/she will be more prone to covid attack. Covid acquiring chances of people with thyroid problems and people without thyroid problems is same until and unless there is some other comorbidity.
- There is no truth in the statement that the severity of Covid-19 would be higher in thyroid patients.
- After one has got infected by Covid, functioning of thyroid might be affected for a short period of time or on a long term basis depending upon individual cases," says Dr. Tanvi.
(Edited by Amrita Priya)