World Iodine Deficiency Day 2023
The 21st of October every year marks World iodine deficiency day. This day is otherwise also known as Global Iodine Deficiency Disorders Prevention Day. World Iodine Deficiency Day is celebrated globally to spread awareness about the importance of iodine consumption and its impact on health.
Our body needs various elements for its normal regular functioning. These elements have different functions and play different roles in the body. Iodine is one such element required by the body to produce a hormone called the thyroid. Hence, iodine is an essential element in our daily diet. A deficiency of iodine can give rise to conditions like hypothyroidism or goiter.
The Global Response to Iodine Deficiency
To address this global health issue, the international community has made considerable strides. The most notable intervention has been the implementation of universal salt iodization programs. These initiatives involve adding iodine to table salt during the production process, ensuring that people receive a daily dose of iodine through their diet. Universal salt iodization is considered one of the most cost-effective and sustainable public health measures, with significant improvements seen in regions that have successfully adopted this practice.
What Is Iodine Deficiency?
Iodine is an important element that is required for producing thyroid hormones. When the body lacks the iodine element, iodine deficiency occurs. The body cannot make iodine naturally; hence, taking iodine through a daily diet is important.
Why Is Iodine So Important?
Iodine is responsible for thyroid hormone production, which in turn is responsible for controlling various important bodily functions like metabolism. Iodine is essential during pregnancy since it is essential for developing the baby’s brain and bones. Lack of iodine during pregnancy can lead to some severe complications. Iodine is an important component in the diet of thyroid patients.
Iodine Deficiency Symptoms
There are various symptoms that indicate iodine deficiency. One of the early signs of iodine deficiency is thyroid enlargement (Goitre). Low thyroid hormone eventually causes hypothyroidism. The various symptoms of hypothyroidism include,
- Weight gain due to slow metabolism
- Puffiness on the face
- Muscle weakness
- Dry skin
- Increased cold sensitivity
- Abnormal menstrual cycle
- Hair thinning
- Increased levels of cholesterol
- Bad memory
Complications During Pregnancy
Did you know that apart from hypothyroidism and goiter, iodine deficiency can pose various complications during pregnancy?
Low levels of thyroid hormone during pregnancy put the baby at risk of various birth defects. Iodine deficiency in pregnant women can pose various complications during pregnancy,
- Preterm birth
- Intellectual disabilities.
- Developmental delay
- Cretinism (rare cases)
Treatment Of Iodine Deficiency
Once diagnosed with iodine deficiency, the treatment plan will be devised by the doctor. Usually, iodine deficiency is treated by following dietary changes and including more iodine-rich foods in the diet or by iodine supplementation. In patients having hypothyroidism, the doctor will prescribe thyroid hormone supplements. Depending upon how severe the hypothyroidism is, the patient’s treatment plan will be made.
Foods To Eat To Prevent/ Treat Iodine Deficiency
There are various foods that are a rich source of iodine and are to be taken in the daily diet. Some of these iodine-rich foods include,
- Iodized salt
- Cod fish
- Cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt
World Iodine Deficiency Day: A Day Of Reflection And Action
World iodine deficiency day serves as a yearly reminder of the importance of maintaining iodine sufficiency. It is a day to reflect on the progress made in combating iodine deficiency and to recognize the work that still needs to be done. Here are some key themes and objectives associated with this important day:
- Awareness and Education: The day is an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of iodine in our diets and the devastating consequences of iodine deficiency. Educational programs, workshops, and campaigns are organized to inform communities, healthcare professionals, and policymakers about the issue.
- Advocacy: World iodine deficiency day provides a platform for advocacy efforts aimed at ensuring that universal salt iodization programs are implemented and enforced in all regions that need them. Advocates call on governments and organizations to prioritize this critical public health measure.
- Monitoring and Assessment: Regular monitoring of iodine levels in salt, as well as iodine status in populations, is vital. On this day, experts and organizations review data, share findings, and assess the effectiveness of iodine deficiency prevention programs.
- Mobilizing Resources: Iodine deficiency is an entirely preventable condition. Therefore, world iodine deficiency day encourages governments, NGOs, and donors to allocate resources and funds for iodine supplementation and education, especially in high-risk areas.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Iodine might sound like just a normal element. However, it is more than that. As already discussed, iodine is extremely important for various bodily functions and is to be consumed in the daily diet because it cannot be made in the body naturally. And its deficiency can give rise to various health complications. Hence it is important to prevent iodine deficiency by eating foods rich in iodine. This world iodine deficiency day 2023, spread the word among your near and dear ones about how important iodine is for our bodies. Encourage them to use iodized salt while cooking and to eat foods packed with iodine. This world iodine deficiency day 2023, raises awareness among all mothers about how essential iodine is for their babies.