April 12, 2024
India Thyroid Function Test

Understanding Thyroid Function Testing and Its Importance in India

What do thyroid function tests measure?

Thyroid function tests, also called thyroid panel or thyroid profile, measure the levels of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in the blood.

T3 and T4 hormones: The thyroid gland produces two main hormones – triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). T3 is the active form that helps regulate the body’s metabolism, while T4 needs to be converted to T3 to be biologically active. Blood tests measure the levels of both T3 and T4 hormones.

TSH hormone: The pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain, regulates thyroid function by releasing thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH signals the thyroid gland to produce more T3 and T4 hormones when their levels fall. The TSH blood test determines if the pituitary gland and thyroid gland are communicating properly.

Thyroid function tests are essential to diagnose thyroid disorders like:

– Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) – High TSH and low T3, T4 levels

– Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) – Low TSH and high T3, T4 levels

– Subclinical hypothyroidism – High TSH with normal T3, T4 levels

– Autoimmune thyroid disorders like Hashimoto’s disease

– Thyroid nodules or tumors affecting hormone production

– Iodine deficiency increasing risk for goiter and hypothyroidism

Populations at risk of thyroid disorders

Certain populations in India are at higher risk of thyroid problems due to iodine deficiency and genetic factors.

India Thyroid Function Test Himalayan states like Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir have severe iodine deficiency affecting over 70% of population.

– Coastal states like Kerala, Karnataka and Goa have mild-moderate iodine deficiency risking 32-65% population.

– Women are 3-5 times more likely to develop thyroid issues than men due to hormonal changes.

– Elderly people above age 60 have reduced thyroid function with ageing.

– People with family history of thyroid disease have greater genetic susceptibility.

– Obesity and excess weight put more stress on thyroid gland functioning.

Importance of thyroid testing in India

Timely diagnosis of thyroid disorders through routine screening is crucial to manage this highly prevalent problem in India. Some key benefits are:

– Early treatment can prevent complications: Left untreated, thyroid problems lead to issues like osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes, infertility, neurological impairment etc. Treatment in initial stages vastly improves health outcomes.

– Iodine deficiency disorders: Regular thyroid screening helps identify iodine deficiency disorders, initiate corrective measures through iodized salt intake and treat the deficiency.

– Preserving quality of life: Thyroid medication regulates thyroid hormone production to alleviate symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, mental fogginess etc improving day to day well-being and productivity.

– Reduced healthcare costs: Catching the problem at an early curable phase prevents costly advanced disease management and lowers the economic burden.

– Benefits of thyroxine replacement: Long term thyroxine treatment offsets risks of heart disease, depression and reverses other clinical manifestations of an underactive thyroid.

– Helps high-risk groups: Screening women, elderly, those inhabiting iodine-deficient zones helps address their relatively higher risks and provides necessary medical intervention early on.

– Guiding treatment approach: Follow up thyroid function tests monitor treatment effectiveness, dose adjustments helping optimize management of hypothyroid and hyperthyroid conditions.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it