Does anyone know about thryoid problems globally - is it more prevalent in some countries than others? Why?

I read the other day that thryoid - especially hypo is a massive problem in India and not much better in USA - also massively under-diagnosed. Has anyone heard of any countries that have less of a problem. A bit like the fact Japanese women don't have name for hot flushes as they don't have them but moving to US then they begin?

16 Replies

  • I know India has low naturally occurring iodine levels, which causes thyroid problems (not auto-immune) and therefore have a much higher instance, no idea about other countries


    heres a WHO paper on iodine deficiency around the world, its quite long though

  • ahh, can see this might take a bit of wading through! It focuses on iodine, wouldn't be the same for all hypo or hyper problems would it?

  • no, auto immune conditions are nothing to do with iodine deficiency, probably others arn't also. Iodine deficiency is just one cause of bog standard hypothyroidism, but not the only cause.

    Just the only one Ive read up on, maybe others will have read up on other global causes and will comment

  • Thanks it just occurred to me, maybe some countries have more problems with hypo others with hyper, or even cultures within countries - thinking about food and lifestyle.... wonder if it has ever been looked at.....

  • some places have a high incidence of goitre. In this country it was called 'Derbyshire Neck' back in the day. I think I remember there being a high incidence of it in, at least some parts of, India too.

  • It does make you wonder, if there is such a huge number of people with the problem perhaps there should be medical advice about places to live and what to eat?

  • thanks...

  • ....I live in Crete and the incidence here is VERY high - they of course blame the NATO base in Souda Bay and the contamination from submarines. They may well have a point.

    I also think it seems high here because they are more open-minded with taking care of the whole body and the testing is more thorough. I had the full profile prior to my diagnosis. Therefore more cases diagnosed. Low rates for MRSA because they don't test for it !!

    Also could be to do with Chernobyl and the contaminated fall-out that blew down this way....after blowing over the UK. I understand that Thyroxine is the second highest prescribed medication in the States. Just imagine if everyone who had symptoms was treated then it could well be the highest. They say that Hashimotos - Auto-immune Thyroiditis - is the most common thyroid illness throughout the world. So that really comes down to the changing patterns in eating/diet/stress/pollution/lifestyle/toxins/technology.......and so on ! And here I am bathing myself in EMF's typing away - so time to go...!

  • Thanks for this, it's really intersting, I wonder then if there is somewhere with a very low hypo/hyper incidence and then could look at why....... who would know that? x

  • It might well the the second-highest on the prescription charts. But it gains this honour partly because it is (in terms of being counted) all the same. Synthroid, Unithroid, Levoxyl (when available), "generic" will all be counted together. Whereas with, say, anti-depressants or sleeping pills there are dozens of different active ingredients. That is, the total of ALL anti-depressants (prozac, sertraline, amitriptyline, etc.) might well be higher than levothyroxine.

    Nonetheless, the sheer scale absolutely should not be undermined because if you count things a slightly different way it is fourth instead of second (or whatever).


  • Thank you Rod - helpful as always. Statistics eh ?

  • There was a significant study of China performed in conjunction with the British Geological Survey.

    What was interesting about that was the way that levels of both iodine and selenium vary hugely, in some areas almost village by village, across the country. So the effects of low iodine/low selenium, low iodine/high selenium, high iodine/low selenium and high iodine/high selenium need to be considered. It means that overall national levels are almost entirely meaningless for that country. (Might be very much more meaningful for other countries.)

    In north America there is a large area known as the goitre belt precisely because of the low iodine. Ironically the wheat growing areas of north America seem to e mostly fairly high in selenium.

    Simple? Never when thyroid is involved.


  • Thanks Rod and very interesting, I know I wouldn't move to goitre belt but do wonder if long term studies could show what helps with thyroid in terms of natural environment and then diet.... I'd love to know if there is a place with very low incidence and look at that....

  • Tea is also a cause of underactive as it is grown in fluoride rich soil. Fluoride was at one time used for overactive thyroids to bring it back down to "normal". I do drink tea but I do not use fluoride toothpaste.

    Jo xx

  • Thanks Joanna, I drink herbal now, pukka mainly but also Lahloo love their Jasmine and Sobacha, try to use aloe vera toothpaste but sometimes just want that zingy clean feeling ....x

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