How is iodine deficiency treated?
The main treatment for iodine deficiency is avoiding it in the first place. The introduction of iodized salt has greatly reduced the occurrence of iodine deficiency in the United States and throughout many parts of the world.
Should iodine deficiency develop, the treatment is iodine replacement. Adding iodized table salt and foods high in iodine to the diet may be enough to achieve normal iodine levels. Sometimes vitamin and mineral supplements containing iodine may be used. Because iodine is so important during fetal and early childhood development, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should take multivitamins that include iodine.
Occasionally, the thyroid gland may need to be removed. This is particularly true if a large goiter makes it difficult to swallow or breathe. Thyroid replacement hormones are required if the thyroid is removed.
What you can do to improve your iodine deficiency
You may be able to increase your iodine levels by:
- Eating foods grown in iodine-rich soils
- Eating meat and dairy products
- Eating seafood or seaweed
- Taking vitamin and mineral supplements that contain iodine
- Using iodized salt
What are the potential complications of iodine deficiency?
In some people, especially infants and young children, complications of untreated or poorly controlled iodine deficiency can be serious. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of iodine deficiency include:
- Cognitive decline and personality changes
- Congestive heart failure
- Cretinism (complication of prenatal iodine deficiency associated with short stature, mental retardation, deaf-mutism, gait abnormalities, and goiter)
- Goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland in the neck)
- Menstrual irregularities
- Mental retardation
- Miscarriage or stillbirth
- Weight gain
Iodine deficiency. American Thyroid Association. http://www.thyroid.org/patients/patient_brochures/iodine_deficiency.html. Accessed May 20, 2011.
Iodine in diet. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002421.htm. Accessed May 20, 2011.
What is iodine deficiency?
Iodine is an element your thyroid needs to make thyroid hormones. If your diet is deficient in iodine, your thyroid gland will enlarge as it tries to increase the production of thyroid hormones. The enlarged thyroid can cause a mass in the neck known as a goiter. As thyroid levels fall, hypothyroidism develops.... Read more about iodine deficiency introduction
What are the symptoms of iodine deficiency?
Initially, iodine deficiency may not have any symptoms. As the thyroid reacts to lower iodine levels, it tries to produce more thyroid hormones. This ultimately leads to enlargement of the thyroid.... Read more about iodine deficiency symptoms
What causes iodine deficiency?
Our bodies do not produce iodine, so it must come from our diet. Iodine deficiency is rare in the United States, partly due to widespread use of iodized salt. Because animal feed is also often supplemented with iodine, meat and dairy products tend to be high in iodine.... Read more about iodine deficiency causes