Introduction: Hypothyroidism is defined as deficient production of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. There is a paucity of data on the Knowledge, Awareness and Practices (KAP) among patients of hypothyroidism and improving patient’s knowledge through education increases compliance with health‑care appointments and medications which improves the outcome.
Materials and Methods: This study was conducted in the Outpatient Department of two peripheral hospitals of Kashmir viz. district hospital kulgam and emergency hospital Qazigund from April 2017 to December 2018.Adult patients with hypothyroidism for more than 3 months were taken for the study after getting formal consent. A well-structured questionnaire was used to check their Knowledge, Awareness and Practices (KAP) with respect to hypothyroidism and adherence of treatment.
Results and observations A total of 260 participants completed the questionnaire. 88 (35.2%) participants were aware of correct meaning of the term thyroid Similarly, only (51.2%) participants were aware about correct meaning of the term hypothyroidism. weight gain (90.6%), easy fatigability (88%), irregular menstrual cycle (38%), infertility (30%), constipation (55.2%), excessive hair fall (47.0%), skin problems (30%) depression (10%) were the major symptoms. 53 (20.4%) participants believed that calcium supplements alone can cure hypothyroidism, 166 (64%) believed that iodized salt can be used to treat hypothyroidism while. 183 (70.4%) believed that cabbage, cauliflower, and soya products should be avoided by patients with hypothyroidism. 125 (48%) participants felt that T4 can be stopped once lab reports return to normal level while 179 (68.8%) participants felt thyroxin needs to be stopped for few days before repeating TSH on follow up.
Discussion: Knowledge awareness and practices (KAP) about chronic diseases is very important for better long term outcome. In general, the patients with thyroid disorders have inadequate knowledge of thyroid gland and hypothyroidism. Our study shows that a large number of patients with primary hypothyroidism lack basic knowledge about the disease.
Conclusion: Knowledge awareness and practices (KAP) about hypothyroidism is lacking a lot in our population which causes a lot of inconvenience in patient management and prevention of morbidity. Therefore, an aggressive campaign is required to make the community, health workers, doctors, dieticians and policy makers aware of hypothyroidism and its consequences and try to decrease the misconceptions and increase awareness.