CHANDIGARH—Abbott and the Indian Thyroid Society today announced a commitment to further improve thyroid disease awareness in women in India with the ‘Make a Difference to Life – Think Thyroid, Think Life’ programme. Juhi Chawla has been named ambassador for this thyroid awareness initiative.
The initiative is a first of its kind in India, focused on improving disease awareness of thyroid disorders, increasing access to diagnosis, improving standards of treatment for women and continuing medical education for doctors. Since 2010, approximately 10 lakh individuals have been screened at the diagnostic and education camps that have been held in India throughout the ‘Think Thyroid’ programme. In 2012, the effort will expand to reach more than 10 lakh women.
“This partnership with the Indian Thyroid Society, local doctors and a well-known personality like Juhi Chawla will bring about a greater awareness and understanding of thyroid disorders and their related conditions. The ‘Think Thyroid’ initiative demonstrates Abbott’s commitment and progress in increasing access to health care in India,” said Vivek Mohan, Managing Director, Abbott India Limited.
As ambassador of the ‘Think Thyroid’ initiative, Juhi Chawla hopes to bring awareness of thyroid disorders to more women and increase diagnosis and treatment. “A number of people live with symptoms of a thyroid disorder due to lack of knowledge of the disorder. Having witnessed how untreated thyroid disorders can affect the quality of life in women, I am eager to raise awareness and encourage early diagnosis,” said Juhi Chawla. It is estimated that approximately 40 million Indians suffer from thyroid related disorders, of which 60 percent are women.
Thyroid disorders can be due to genetic or environmental and dietary factors. They are most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40, but can occur at all ages. If left untreated, hypothyroidism can cause elevated cholesterol levels, decreased fertility, depression and decreased heart rate; and in pregnant women, placental abnormalities and increased risks for the baby’s well-being. These symptoms are often confused with other disorders, thus making thyroid disorders one of the least detected disorders in India. Like diabetes, there is no permanent cure for most forms of thyroid disorders but with medication and precise treatment, thyroid disorders can be controlled and patients can live normal lives.
Professor R V Jayakumar, President of The Indian Thyroid Society said, “Thyroid disorder is a silent disease. With millions of Indians suffering from this disorder, the majority of cases are undiagnosed. There is a significant need for us to reach out to the Indian people and make them aware of the causes, symptoms, treatment and importance of testing. Building on our significant outreach in 2011 and in conjunction with Thyroid Awareness Month, we will expand our efforts in India with a particular focus on women.” Hypothyroidism is one of the most common endocrinal problems during pregnancy and often goes unnoticed. If undetected, it can adversely affect the overall development of the baby.
Dr. Anil Bhansali, Professor& Head, Dept. of Endocrinology, PGIMER, Chandigarh, says “Hypothyroidism is the most common thyroid problem and involves decreased production of thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism in pregnant women has been associated with many complications such as an increased risk of miscarriage, still birth and premature birth. If left untreated it could lead to pre-term labor and post-partum hemorrhage. In order to avoid complications, it is important to go for a regular thyroid check up to ensure the healthy life for the mother and the baby.”