problems plague adults and teens alike.
Lifestyle change is the only solution
(c)HT, 26th June 2012
After six hours of commuting to and fro from office each
day, Namita Narula, 23, assistant manager in a public relations firm, had
little time to eat and sleep. She ate out most days. Working late hours meant
hitting the bad at 2am.
That was six months ago.” I was constantly fatigued and
became very short-tempered. Within a few months I gained weight, my complexion
grew dark and my periods got irregular,” says Narula.
She was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, where the thyroid can
not make enough hormones to keep the body’s metabolism running properly
Hypothyroidism (underactive gland) causes weight gain, fatigue,constipation,intolerance
to cold and heat, irregular periods, and hair loss.Hyperthyroidism (overactive
gland ) causes unexplained weight loss,palpitations and excessive sweating.
Narula is not alone with an hormonal imbalance. While in her
case, unhealthy lifestyle was circumstantial, doctors say many young people
deliberately play with their health.
Like many teenagers, Neha Munshi, 17, subsisted on potato chips,
French fries, pastries, cookies and colas. Two years ago, she developed severe
acne and excessive facial hair. When a dermatologist couldn’t help,she was
asked to undergo an ultrasound of the pelvis. It showed markedly enlarged
ovaries and cysts.
One in three women between 12 and 45 years suffers from
polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which interferes with ovulation, leading to
infertility. The first line of treatment for lifestyle-related diseases
includes cutting down i=on refined food rich in sugar and carbohydrates and
regular exercise, at least 30 minutes of brisk wall daily.
“There is no cure. It can only be controlled by eating
healthy and exercising regularly. In severe cases, mild doses of oral
contraceptives are prescribed,” says Dr Anuradha kapur, senior consultant, obstetrics
and gynaecology, Max Hospital, Saket.
Narula, for one, has shifted to eating mostly home-cooked
food; increasing her fluid intake and going for walks each day. “It’s been six
months. Now I sleep better, my temper is well under control and the tiredness
has gone down. I weigh just fine now,” she says.
Hypothyroidism cannot, however, be used as an
excuse to explain being overweigth, warn experts. “The weigth gain due to
hypothyroidism is minor, maybe not more then 5kg of a person’s body weigth.
Unlike diabetes, thyroid symptoms are reversible with treatment,” said Dr DK
Dhanwal, professor of medicine and endocrinology, Maulana Azad Medical College
and Lok Nayak Hospital, who is a part of a national study on thyroid disorsers.
“Simple blood tests such as TSH, T3, T4 can detect the problem,” Dhanwal added