What are the Causes of Iodine Deficiency?

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What is Iodine Deficiency?

Iodine is an essential dietary mineral that plays a vital role in our body and helps in the production of thyroid hormones. These hormones increase metabolism and also helps in the growth of the fetus in the mother’s womb. If you do not include iodine in your diet, then there may be a lack of iodine in your body. Iodine deficiency occurs if the pregnant woman does not consume iodized foods. As you know, pregnant women require more iodine. Iodine deficiency causes swelling in the throat, thus increasing its size, also known as goiter. Apart from this, there may be thyroid problems such as hypo- or hyperthyroidism. Lack of iodine can cause mental disorders in children, whereas, in women, it can cause swelling in the neck, weight gain, and pregnancy disorders. Urine test, thyroid function examination, and blood test is done to check for iodine deficiency. To prevent iodine deficiency in the body, consume enough iodine in the diet. Let me tell you in detail about iodine deficiency in today’s article.

  • What are the Causes of Iodine Deficiency?
  • What are the Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency?
  • Diagnosis of Iodine Deficiency
  • What are the Treatments for Iodine Deficiency?
  • How to Prevent Iodine Deficiency?

What are the Causes of Iodine Deficiency?

Our body cannot produce iodine, so we need to consume iodized foods to provide iodine to the body. Due to an increase in iodine deficiency in people, iodine-rich salts are now available. Excess amounts of iodine are found in meat and fish. If you do not consume iodized foods in your diet, then iodine will be deficient in the body.

Risk factors for iodine deficiency include.

  • Not consuming iodized salt
  • Eating very little salt
  • Use of less salt in the food
  • Not consuming fish and mutton
  • Having a vegetarian diet
  • In diagnostic procedures, radiative iodine is used that replaces normal iodine within the body.

What are the Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency?

Following symptoms can occur due to iodine deficiency.

Common symptoms include –

  • Constipation
  • Depresses mood
  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue
  • Goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland, forming a mass in the neck)
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Abnormal menstrual cycles (Read more – Problems related to menstruation)
  • Protrusion of the eyes
  • Thickening of the skin
  • Thin and brittle hair and nails
  • Unintended weight gain
  • Weakness

Serious symptoms include –

  • Behavioral changes
  • Bleeding while pregnant
  • Change in the level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness
  • Changes in mental state or behavior, such as confusion, delirium, lethargy, hallucination, or delusion.
  • Chest pain or chest tightness(Read more – Home remedies for chest pain)
  • Chest pressure, palpitations
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing or suffocation

Diagnosis of Iodine Deficiency

To test for iodine deficiency, the doctor may first ask questions related to food or ask about other health-related problems. If there is a sign of iodine deficiency in your body, then the doctor may do some other tests.

  • Iodine Patch Test
  • Urine test
  • Blood test
  • Iodine Loading Test

What are the Treatments for Iodine Deficiency?

The simple treatment of iodine deficiency is including iodized salt in your diet. If you consume iodized salt in food, then there will not be a deficiency of iodine in the body.

The doctor may give the following advice in case of severe iodine deficiency.

  • Consume iodine-rich foods such as fish, mutton, etc.
  • Use iodized salt instead of ordinary salt.
  • Take iodine supplements
  • Pregnant women should use iodized salt in their diet for the development of the baby.
  • Breastfeeding women should also consume iodine-rich foods.
  • In some cases, surgery can be done in case of iodine deficiency. Some people may have their thyroid gland removed. If a goiter develops, there is difficulty in swallowing food. In such a situation, the doctor performs surgery to remove the goiter.(Read more – What is the treatment of thyroid)

How to Prevent Iodine Deficiency?

Following steps can be taken to prevent iodine deficiency.

  • Using iodized salt
  • Consuming seafood 
  • Vitamins and minerals supplements that contain iodine
  • Eating dairy products
  • Eating foods that have high iodine content.
  • Fish, eggs, dry fruits, iodized salt, meat, etc.(Read more – Benefits and side-effects of eggs)

We hope that we could answer your questions regarding iodine deficiency through this article.

If you have iodine deficiency, then you can contact an Endocrinologist.

We only aim to give you information through the article. We do not recommend medication or treatment in any way. Only a doctor can give you good advice because no one else is better than them.


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