Goiter: e.a. Iodine deficiency
Goiter: e.a. Iodine deficiency
What does the thyroid do?
- Maintain the rate at which your body uses fats and carbohydrates
- Help control your body temperature
- Influence your heart rate and help regulate the production of proteins.
Causes of Goiter
This is when your body's immune system attacks the thyroid gland causing it to become over stimulated and produce too much thyroid hormone (Graves' disease) or produce too little hormone (Hashimoto's disease).
This can either be a solitary nodule or Multinodular Goiter. Nodules are solid or fluid-filled lumps. Most do not lead to cancer.
Cancer of the thyroid often appears as an enlargement on one side of the thyroid.
A certain hormone produced during pregnancy (human chorionic gonadotropin-HCG) may cause your thyroid gland to enlarge slightly. This is particularly more noticeable during the early months of pregnancy.
This is usually seen as pain, warmth and swelling of the thyroid
- Over 40 years old
- Inadequate dietary intake of iodine
- Residence in an endemic area
- Ingestion of large amounts of Goiter-causing foods or drugs
- Family history of Goiters
- Radiation exposure to the neck and chest area (only large doses such as those used in radiotherapy or those found in nuclear facilities and not those single exposures done when diagnosing a disease are considered significant)
Symptoms of Goiter
- Thyroid enlargement
- Breathing difficulties or wheezing from compression of the windpipe (trachea)
- Swallowing difficulties from compression of the food pipe (esophagus)
- Neck vein distension and dizziness when the arms are raised above the head
Cretinism is a condition of severely stunted physical and mental growth in children due to untreated congenital deficiency of thyroid hormones or from prolonged nutritional iodine deficiency (usually in babies born to mothers with iodine deficiency). These children have:
- Protruding abdomen
- Delayed bone maturation and delayed tooth eruption
- Delayed puberty
- Flattened nose
- Neurological impairment : seen early as delayed speech, slowness of movement and even mental retardation
- Ovulation interference and infertility
- Poor growth (height)
- Thick, waxy, flabby skin
Treatment of Goiter
- Surgery to remove part of the thyroid
- Avoid Goiter producing foods
- Increase iodine intake
If your goiter is caused by your diet, these suggestions can help you to get enough iodine.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Iodine
|Life Stage||Age||Males (mcg/day)||Females (mcg/day)|
|Infants||0-6 months||110 (AI)||110 (AI)|
|Infants||7-12 months||130 (AI)||130 (AI)|
|Adults||19 years and older||150||150|
Sources of Iodine
|Salt (iodized)||1 gram||77|
|Fish sticks||2 fish sticks||35|
|Tuna, canned in oil||3 ounces (1/2 can)||17|
|Milk (cow's)||1 cup (8 fluid ounces)||56|
|Egg, boiled||1 large||22|
|Navy beans, cooked||1/2 cup||32|
|Potato with peel, baked||1 medium||60|
|Turkey breast, baked||3 ounces||34|
|Seaweed||1/4 ounce, dried||Variable; may be greater than 4,500 mcg (4.5 mg)|
*A three-ounce serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards.
Reduce iodine consumption: Although it's uncommon, getting too much iodine sometimes leads to Goiter. If excess iodine is a problem, avoid salt fortified with iodine, shellfish, seaweed and iodine supplements.
Content developed by Dr Caroline Mukuhi Ng'ang'a, 2009
Information Source Links
- Utiger R.(1999). Maternal hypothyroidism and fetal development. The New England Journal of Medicine 341(8):60-1999