Iodine deficiency, a common problem worldwide can lead to many thyroid disorders. According to WHO, iodine-deficiency disorders, which can start before birth, can jeopardize children’s mental health and often their very survival. It is also a cause of concern during pregnancy as serious iodine deficiency can result in stillbirth, spontaneous abortion, congenital abnormalities or mental impairment. Deficiency of iodine causes a range of diseases which, altogether are termed as iodine deficiency diseases.
Many a time, a person with iodine deficiency does not exhibit any symptoms of it and the best way to know is to get a urine or a blood test done to check the level of iodine in the body.
Dr Sheenu Sanjeev (PhD) Dietitian/Nutritionist, Practo tells us about common iodine deficiency symptoms that one should not ignore:
1. Feeling lethargic: Lack of thyroid hormones can slow down a person’s metabolism and leave one tired and drained of energy. “You may feel lethargic and tired most of the times and suffer from weakness constantly,” says Dr Sanjeev.
2. Feeling cold: When a person’s metabolism is affected due to iodine deficiency, less energy is produced and one may start feeling cold, even when it is visibly warm for the others around you.
3. Difficulty in concentration: People with iodine deficiency face memory problems as thyroid hormones also play an important part if brain development. According to a study, hippocampus is smaller in people with low levels of thyroid. “You may have difficulty in concentrating and might have a poor memory,” says Dr Sanjeev.
4. Weight gain: Problems with thyroid function affects metabolism which also has an impact on your wait You may experience unusual weight gain.
5. Depression: One may also become more prone to depressive periods due to iodine deficiency.
6. Puffy face: You may notice your skin becoming thick and puffy or your face becoming puffier than usual.
7. Hair loss: The problem with thyroid hormones may also mean that your hair follicles are not replaced because of which one may experience hair loss.
8. Constipation: You may start having frequent problems of constipation.
9. Dry skin: Thyroid hormones also help renew the cells. When that does not happen and the dead cells accumulate, your skin might feel really dry.
10. You might feel your heart beating slower.
11. Visible signs would include enlargement of the chin and neck area that caused due to enlargement of your thyroid gland.
“With proper treatment and change in diet, iodine deficiency disorders can be prevented with ease. For a better diagnosis, you must consult an experienced medical practitioner and follow his suggestions for improving the iodine levels in your body,” says Dr Sanjeev.