In Latin America the prevalence of hypothyroidism has reached approximately 10% in women of reproductive age. With regard to International Women’s Day, which is commemorated every March 8, it is important to talk about the thyroid and its impact on the lives of women, since they are the ones who have the highest risk of developing disorders of this gland, hovering around the figures between 5 to 8% more likely to be affected than men.
The thyroid gland is usually related only to overweight problems. However, this gland has a greater impact, especially in the lives of women and its different stages, because if it functions irregularly, it can give rise to various conditions, including hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
It is located below the neck in front of the trachea and has a peculiar shape similar to that of a butterfly. Its function is to produce and release thyroid hormones that are involved in growth and regulation of metabolism. “In Latin America, the prevalence of hypothyroidism has reached approximately 10 percent of the population, being one of the most frequent thyroid disorders, mainly in women. This increasingly common disease occurs when the thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormone to supply the body’s needs”, said Dr. Dolores Mejía, former president of the Dominican Society of Endocrinology and Nutrition. In the words of the specialist, thyroid hormones are required in the body to maintain metabolic balance and consequently the proper functioning of organs and tissues, and if they were not present, the thyroid disorder could have an impact on the lives of women, since if your physical health is affected, then your emotional health is also affected.
The symptoms of hypothyroidism usually go unnoticed or are confused with a bad lifestyle, not having enough energy, being sleepy, feeling discouraged and even tired even starting the workday. Many times it has a negative impact on your life professional. Some of the most common symptoms are: intolerance to cold, dry skin, hair loss and brittle nails, tiredness or discouragement, which can be confused with depression, which is why many patients do not go to the doctor for a timely diagnosis.
Being a disease that has a higher incidence in the female gender, it is important to pay attention to it since it affects stages such as reproductive age, since this is a common cause of infertility; subnormal fertility; problems in pregnancy and childbirth, which are associated with anovulation; irregular menstrual cycles; spontaneous abortions and premature birth. “Usually hypothyroidism cannot be prevented; but having a timely diagnosis from periodic check-ups and performing the TSH blood test will allow those who suffer from it to access an adequate treatment that consists mainly of levothyroxine, a thyroid hormone that simulates the same function of the thyroid, allowing patients to lead a normal life”, added Dr. Mejía, an endocrinology specialist.
There are different metabolic risk factors that are indirectly related to hypothyroidism, among which are: having type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, hypertension, high cholesterol, fatty liver, infertility, pregnancy loss or obesity, which are reasons for frequent consultation. In this regard, Damaris Fernández, President and Founder of the Honduran Association of Thyroid Cancer commented that “Having information about the different risk factors, symptoms, and thyroid disorders helps to pay attention to health and approach specialists to avoid developing other conditions such as thyroid cancer, a disease that can be detected early enough to have timely treatment to maintain a good quality of life”.
An optimal state of health contributes to the empowerment of women in any area and stage of their lives, which is why the call of specialists and associations focuses on staying informed of these and other conditions that can put health at risk, and they invite Consult platforms such as “Measure Your Thyroid” a page that specializes in providing information on thyroid health, available on Facebook and Instagram. “We invite all women not to dismiss any symptom, many times patients consider it normal to feel exhausted, discouraged or even constipated, clinical manifestations of hypothyroidism that must be taken into account when approaching a specialist so that they can provide timely attention and adequate treatment that maintains an optimal state of health and an improvement in the quality of life, adequate thyroid function is a fundamental element in the construction of well-being”, concluded Dr. Mejía.