What Is Iodine Deficiency?


Quick Answer

An iodine deficiency is a condition in which the body has less iodine than it needs to make thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency is caused by a diet that lacks sufficient iodine, according to Healthgrades. Iodine is also found in treated salt. It is so crucial for fostering growth that babies with an iodine deficiency have developmental and mental problems.

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What Is Iodine Deficiency?
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Full Answer

Healthgrades explains that iodine deficiency is rare in the United States because many foods contain iodine, including eggs, seafood, dairy products, meats and breads. Iodine deficiencies are common in places where access to seafood and iodized products is rare, as is sometimes the case in Central Africa, Eastern Europe and parts of South America.

Iodine deficiencies can manifest in the form of a bulging neck, which is a sign of hyperthyroidism. Healthgrades points out that common symptoms of an iodine deficiency include depression, dry skin, eye protrusion or weight gain. The metabolism also slows down when the thyroid suffers from a lack of iodine, resulting in fatigue and constipation.

Healthgrades notes that a lack of iodine can be fatal in certain cases. A person can suffer from personality changes, and he may be a threat to himself and others. Lethargy and hallucinations are other red flags, as are falling into a coma and chest pain or tightness. Pregnant women can also suffer from miscarriages and stillbirths due to iodine deficiency.

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