Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Dr. Fazıl Küçük Medicine Faculty academic staff member and Internal Diseases Specialist Assist. Prof. Dr. Bülent Sezgin released a statement about the Week for the Prevention of Iodine Deficiency Disorders, observed during the first week of June each year. Sezgin’s statement reads as follows:
"Every year during the first week of June, various awareness raising practices are organized to draw the community’s attention to iodine deficiency diseases and to prevent health problems caused by these diseases at an early stage.
Why is Iodine Essential for Body?
It is important that iodine amounts are adequate for a healthy continuation of thyroid hormone functions that govern the growth, development and energy metabolism of the body. Iodine needs increase especially during pregnancies. Iodine has an important role in the entire development and learning process, including early development of the baby's brain. Iodine deficiency is an important cause of mental development problems in children and there are many effects on children during school, including reproductive functions and reduced IQ (intelligence) levels.
Why is Iodine Added to Table Salt?
Endemic goiter and iodine deficiency are two of the major public health problems all over the world as well as in Turkey. The World Health Organization (WHO) identified iodine deficiency in 1 out of 3 of the population in the study conducted in 18 countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. Due to the deficiency of iodine in the nutrients, the growth of the regional thyroid gland is called endemic goiter in humans. Necessary legal arrangements have been introduced to fight against Iodine deficiency and endemic goiter and since the year 2000 the use of iodized salt has been made widespread.
Who would expect in the risk of iodine deficiency?
- Pregnant women
- People living in countries with very little iodine in their soil
- People who do not use iodized salt
- People who follow a vegetarian and vegan diet.
What are the symptoms of iodine deficiency?
- Overgrowing of thyroid gland and swelling in the front of neck (goiter)
- Gaining weight
- Feeling of tiredness and weakness
- Hair loss
- Dry skin
- Problems in learning and memorization
- Low body temperature
- Lowering heart rate
- Problems in pregnancy and/or becoming pregnant
- Severe menstrual irregularities or menstrual periods
What is the Most Important Adverse Effect (complication)?
The most serious complications of iodine deficiency are the effects on pregnant women and their babies. Problems in the development of the brain, nerves, muscles, internal organs of babies may cause mental retardation in their future ages.
How is Iodine Deficiency Treated?
In order to maintain iodine amounts at a healthy level, the daily amount of iodine should be 150 μg (micrograms). This amount meets 97-98% of all iodine needs in healthy adults.
Which Types of Food Contain High Levels of Iodine?
1 egg, 1 glass of milk or yoghurt a day and a quarter teaspoon of iodized salt are observed to meet the daily need of an adult person.
Why is Iodine Deficiency Observed Frequently at the Black Sea Region in Turkey?
Most iodine deficiency is observed at the Black Sea Region in Turkey. This may be due to the frequent consumption of foods such as savoy cabbage and radish, both of which have guatrogenic (goiter producing) effects.