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The Hindu
25 May 2010
Bangalore, India

World Thyroid Day today, theme is ‘Thyroid awareness during pregnancy’
With the Indian Thyroid Society (ITS) having identified thyroid–related disorders as the “next diabetes,” city endocrinologists said there is a need to create more awareness about the condition.

Tuesday (May 25) being the World Thyroid Day with the theme, “Thyroid awareness during pregnancy”, doctors said expectant mothers should get tested for the condition once in every two months.

“Most women are unaware of the symptoms and the impact of thyroid disorders. All expectant mothers should opt for thyroid tests as thyroid disorders during pregnancy can lead to a lower IQ in the baby. Medicine for thyroid is safe and can be taken even during pregnancy,” said Mala Dharmalingam, Professor of Endocrinology at M.S. Ramaiah Hospital.

Endocrinologists and gynaecologists in the city assert that more pregnant women in the 25–30 age group have been detected with hypothyroidism.

“Around 10 per cent to 12 per cent of pregnant women are suffering from thyroid–related problems. Although some gynaecologists prescribe tests soon after the pregnancy is detected, there is a need to make the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test mandatory for pregnant women,” said Dr. Dharmalingam, who is also the Director of Bangalore Endocrine Diabetic Research Centre.

Gynaecologist Padmini Prasad, who has been seeing hypothyroidism cases, said: “In fact, all women should get tested for the condition during pre–conception stage as many are unable to conceive because of hypothyroidism. Early diagnosis, correct follow–up and regularly monitoring the condition will ensure the person remains healthy. But medicine should be taken all through the life.”

“The heart, brain, liver, kidneys and skin all need the right amount of thyroid hormone to work effectively. Problems arise when this gland does not function properly and begins to produce either too little or too much of thyroid hormones,” she explained.

Both the doctors pointed out that uncontrolled hormone levels during pregnancy can cause disorders in the baby. “Iodine deficiency in a pregnant woman can cause a congenital abnormality in the child,” Dr. Dharmalingam said.

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