World Iodine Deficiency Day: Are you iodine deficient?

World Iodine Deficiency Day or Global Iodine Deficiency Disorders Prevention Day is observed on 21st October every year around the world. The purpose of this day is to create awareness of adequate use of iodine and to highlight the health complications of iodine deficiency.

Iodine deficiency results when you do not receive enough iodine in your diet. The body cannot produce iodine and it must be obtained from nutritional resources. Research has established there are millions across the globe who have some symptom of this deficiency which may go undiagnosed for decades.

In today’s scenario one third of the world population is at the risk of iodine deficiency disorders. According to the WHO around 54 countries are still iodine deficient.

Patients suffering from iodine deficiency may experience increased mental retardation; goiterism; increased infant mortality; and, economic decline. But it can be prevented just by adding iodine to the diet.

Importance of the thyroid gland

The thyroid gland, which uses iodine, is considered the master gland for metabolism. When it is not functioning properly because of the lack of iodine, you may experience some of the following:

It’s not necessary for you to experience all of these symptoms to be iodine deficient. There can be other signs of iodine deficiency as well:

  • Muscle cramps and joint pain
  • Carpal tunnel/tendinitis
  • A feeling of neck swelling/enlargement
  • Hoarse voice or weak voice
  • Dry skin, brittle fingernails
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Intolerance to cold/ low body temperature
  • Tingling of hands and feet
  • High blood pressure
  • Reddish complexion
  • Excessive sleep
  • Thinning of outer eyebrows/no hair on arms and legs
  • Inability to fight infection
  • Sudden appearance of pimples
  • Lump in the throat

Health conditions associated with iodine deficiency

Lack of iodine in the body has been linked with chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, thyroid cancer, prostate cancer, suppressed immune system, and autoimmune deficiency. The skin, the largest organ of the body, may be attacked by psoriasis. However, iodine can serve as a simple home remedy for this condition.

Severe iodine deficiency

If you are deficient in iodine, your hormonal imbalance may have lead to hypoglycaemia. It is interesting to note that when you compare the symptoms of iodine deficiency and hypoglycaemia, they are strikingly similar. This is because they are interrelated – one affects the other in the intricate balance of the body. If your iodine deficiency is not addressed and treated adequately, your health may deteriorate to a life threatening condition called thyroid storm. At this point, the only thing which will save your life is immediate medical attention.

You can try iodine patch test which will give you a better idea about your potential iodine deficiency if you are not sure about being iodine-deficient.

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