Most of the territory of Russia is located in areas of natural iodine deficiency, which is why citizens are at high risk of getting a thyroid disease called endemic goiter, which is fraught with serious complications. Marina Vershinina, the leading expert of the Center for Molecular Diagnostics CMD of the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology of Rospotrebnadzor, told about this on May 25.
Master Yoda: How to Help Your Thyroid
Nutritionists told about ways to make up for iodine deficiency
On this day, World Thyroid Day is celebrated annually around the world. The European Thyroid Association (ETA) proposed to devote a day to this topic, which is studying related issues.
As the expert emphasizes, the thyroid gland (TG) is the most important organ of the human body, which regulates many significant processes. At the same time, according to WHO, various thyroid diseases rank second among endocrine disorders after diabetes mellitus. Violations of its function are detected in approximately every tenth inhabitant of the planet.
“Most of the territory of Russia is located in areas of natural iodine deficiency. This microelement is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones, therefore, in conditions of its deficiency, the risk of developing endemic goiter is high. The disease is manifested by a uniform increase in the tissues of the thyroid gland. Symptoms develop slowly, and patients may not pay attention to the ongoing changes for a long time. A large goiter causes compression of the trachea and esophagus, a change in voice, impaired swallowing, and neck deformity, ”Vershinina emphasized.
According to her, thyroid diseases have a lot of systemic manifestations and can be associated with both a lack of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism) and their excessive activity (hyperthyroidism). At the same time, they often disguise themselves as other conditions, and only laboratory diagnostics will confirm or refute the assumption of the presence of the disease. If treatment is not started on time, severe complications may develop.
In addition, the symptoms of a decrease and an increase in the production of thyroid hormones are diametrically opposed, which also complicates the diagnosis of the disease. So, with hypothyroidism, patients are concerned about: constant chilliness and cold extremities, lack of energy, coarsening and hoarseness of the voice, the appearance of edema, pain in the heart and muscles, weight gain against the background of the usual physical activity and diet, constipation, dryness and yellowness of the skin, as well as hair loss.
In the case of hyperthyroidism, they complain of: a feeling of an accelerated heartbeat and interruptions in the rhythm of heart contractions, excessive sweating, a feeling of heat, trembling of the fingers and eyelids, irritability, sudden mood swings, fatigue, weight loss against the background of increased appetite, as well as diarrhea or frequent stools.
Speaking about the factors for the development of disorders in the thyroid gland, the expert drew attention to the genetic predisposition. In addition, external factors such as environmental pollution, infections, poor quality food and drinking water have a negative impact. Sometimes viral infections can lead to the development of subacute thyroiditis – inflammation of the thyroid gland and pain in the neck.
To reduce the risk of developing diseases, Vershinina recommended eliminating the lack of iodine in food by enriching the diet with this element, which is especially important in Russia.
“There is little of this element in the soil and plants, accordingly, also do not accumulate it in sufficient quantities. The same can be said about animal products: meat, milk. And this is dangerous, especially for children at all stages of their growth and development, starting from the prenatal. Iodine is necessary for the normal formation of the central nervous system and mental development. Therefore, one of the effective and affordable methods of prevention is the consumption of iodized edible table salt,” the specialist said.
She also advised to regularly undergo a preventive examination – for adults, in the absence of complaints, it is enough to do it once a year. At the same time, if thyroid diseases are recorded in relatives, monitoring should begin in childhood.
On May 6, nutritionist Mikhail Ginzburg warned that iodine deficiency in the human body can lead to the development of cancer. The doctor said that with iodine deficiency, dry skin, problems with stools, loss of strength, weight gain, and cognitive decline appear. In women, hair loss begins and the menstrual cycle is disturbed.