What is Iodine Deficiency
At a point in time, you must have seen an individual with a grotesquely swollen neck called a goiter manifesting as one of the iodine deficiency symptoms. Iodine deficiency is a condition that results when there is an inadequate amount of iodine in the diet.
Iodine is an essential trace element in the body and it is useful in the synthesis of hormones of the thyroid gland – thyroxine and triiodothyronine. These hormones are needed for metabolic activities in the body.
You need to take the issue of iodine deficiency seriously as at 2007 alone, the World Health Organization stated that almost 2 billion people on earth suffered from the condition.
What Causes Iodine Deficiency
Iodine deficiency results from a number of factors but the most important of these are the lack of the essential micronutrient in the diet. This itself results when foods are grown in soils that are not rich enough in iodine. Scientists have observed that the soils in the mountainous areas of the globe tend to be poorer in iodine. That explains why when one is placed on such diets for a prolonged period of time, the inevitable results are iodine deficiency symptoms.
Other causes and risk factors include pregnancy, gender (relatively higher in females), radiation exposure, chemical compounds (like perchlorates and thiocyanates) or even the use of oral contraceptives.
The Best Known Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency
Like the other nutritional deficiencies, it is quite easy for you to spot these symptoms. For someone suffering from a lack of iodine in the meals, these are the most common symptoms and should not be ignored at all:
This is the swollen neck appearance that occurs. Goiter is the swelling of the thyroid gland itself as it tries to compensate for the lack of or reduced amount of iodine in the blood.
- Difficulty in speech
The swelling of the thyroid gland can press on the larynx (the voice box) and lead to troubles in speaking or vocalizing.
This is a condition typically associated with the deficiency of iodine. It has squint eyes, deafness, mutism, hypothyroidism, stunted growth, hypothyroidism and even mental retardation as its features. The World Health Organization has classified iodine deficiency as the largest single cause of mental retardation. A BBC report in April 2011 also supports this.
What Can Be Done If You Suffer From Iodine Deficiency
Luckily, suffering from iodine deficiency does not mean you are afflicted with a terminal disease. The best way to treat the condition is to ensure you ingest adequate amounts of iodine. There are very good natural sources of iodine and these are seafood like saltwater fish or sea vegetables such as dulse, nori and kelp. Egg yolk and milk are also some other good sources.
If the iodine deficiency is a mild one, then you can consume iodized salt or take water or flour that have been fortified with iodine on a regular basis. But then, do get rid of the iodine deficiency symptoms with assistance and recommendation from your doctor.
Iodine Deficiency: 72% are Deficient. Are You?