You likely don’t think about how much iodine is in your diet on a regular basis. However, the essential chemical element is responsible for energy regulation as well as for triggering the production of thyroid hormones. Because iodine is a common addition to table salt (since the 1920s) iodine deficiency hasn’t been that common. However, researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine find that certain population groups are prone to iodine deficiency—including vegans and vegetarians and those who don’t eat animal milk, seafood, bread, or eggs, as well as expectant moms.
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Here are 14 indicators of iodine deficiency and potential risk factors…
Signs and Symptoms
1. Goiter (Swelling in the Neck)
The most common sign of an iodine deficiency is an enlarged thyroid gland, also known as a goiter. The American Thyroid Association explains that this happens “as [the thyroid] tries to keep up with demand for thyroid hormone production.” A goiter is hard to ignore because it’s a large swollen lump where the thyroid is located. It can be extremely uncomfortable for the patient as it can cause trouble swallowing, breathing, and even in severe cases, cause choking while laying down, says Everyday Health.
If you think that you’re suffering from a goiter, the source advises contacting a doctor immediately. Request a physical assessment and get a professional opinion. If your doctor suspects you’re suffering from an iodine deficiency, you’ll most likely have a 24-hour urine iodine test done to make sure.