Iodine, an important mineral that’s found in seafood, has a vital role to play in your body functions. Iodine is primarily used by the thyroid gland for the natural production of thyroxin and other related hormones. These hormones are responsible for repairing damaged cells, controlling growth, and providing the support needed for a healthy metabolism. The bad news is that over one-third of people, globally, are either suffering from iodine deficiency or depict early symptoms of the same.
Fortunately, the number of people suffering from iodine deficiency is considerably lower in the USA. This is because there’s an adequate percentage of iodine levels in the regular food supplies found in the country. Read on to know more about the common symptoms and signs of iodine deficiency.
Who’s at Risk?
Pregnant women, those not using iodized salt in their daily meals, and people following a vegan or vegetarian diet are at high risk of being diagnosed with iodine deficiency. The others who are at risk of being iodine deficient are people residing in South Asia, New Zealand, European countries, Southeast Asia, and other places that contain little or no iodine in the soil.
Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency
Iodine deficiency may be the cause of different uncomfortable as well as severe symptoms. These symptoms include and are not restricted to pregnancy-related issues, swelling in the throat and neck, learning difficulties, and weight gain. In certain cases, you’ll find that the signs and symptoms of iodine deficiency are quite similar in nature to that of hypothyroidism, which is caused by low thyroid hormones. As iodine is useful for manufacturing thyroid hormones, deficiency of the same paves the way for hypothyroidism.
1. Swelling in the Throat and Neck
One of the main symptoms of iodine deficiency is swelling that occurs in the front part of the neck. Also referred to as goiter, this condition takes place when the thyroid gland becomes too enlarged. Do know that the thyroid gland is in the shape of a small, butterfly-type of gland that’s present in the frontal portion of your neck. This gland is responsible for producing thyroid hormones when signals are received from TSH, the thyroid-stimulating hormone. Luckily, it is possible to treat this symptom by increasing your daily consumption of iodine.
2. Weight Gain
Yet another sign of iodine deficiency rests in unexpected weight gain and its related issues. This symptom occurs as thyroid hormones are helpful in controlling the speed of the metabolic activities carried out by your body. They are indirectly responsible for how your food gets converted into heat and energy. In case of a dip in the levels of your thyroid hormones, it will not be possible for your body to burn off most calories. This effectively means that the fat content in your body will rise and lead to weight gain.
Fatigue and weakness, hair loss, as well as flaky and dry skin are just some of the other tell-tale signs of iodine deficiency that you should keep a firm watch for. Get in touch with your health care specialist to know more about iodine-rich foods and how to handle its deficiency. Timely action will help in preventing several hassles later on.