April 18, 2024

LAGAWE, Ifugao – The Provincial Health Office strengthens awareness about the prevention and control of goiter and other iodine deficiency disorders (IDD), emphasizing the vital role of iodized salt in its prevention.

Health Education Promotion Officer Yvonne Indunan said during the “Hummangan with  PIA” over  Radyo Kiphodan that the National Nutrition Survey showed approximately 5.8 million Filipinos are afflicted with thyroid disorders in various clinical forms.

These disorders could lead to detrimental reduction in intellectual and physical capacity, and even death among susceptible individuals, if left untreated.

Goiter is the enlargement of the thyroid gland, which is located at the lower front of the neck. It can result from iodine deficiency or other causes such as autoimmune disease, inflammation, and various medical conditions.  

Signs and symptoms may include tiredness, decrease or increase in weight, low or increased appetite, depression, dryness of skin and hair, sleepiness, diarrhea or constipation, and menstrual irregularities for women.

Indunan said women have higher risk of goiter than men. Pregnancy and menopause may also trigger problems in the thyroid.

Iodine deficiency remains the primary cause of goiter in the Philippines.

She said IDD occurs when the body does not get enough iodine. It does not only cause goiter, but can also cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and congenital abnormalities in pregnant women and fetuses.  

For infants and preschoolers, it can affect their growth and could cause intellectual disability, and physical and motor abnormalities such as delayed walking and speech. It could also result in increased neonatal and infant mortality.

For schoolchildren, IDD could result in poor learning ability, low motivation, poor school performance, and poor general cognitive function.

In adults, IDD can impair mental function and could result in poor work capacity resulting in low productivity.

Indunan encouraged the use of iodized salt as a practical means of obtaining iodine in their daily diet to prevent goiter and other conditions associated with iodine deficiency. Iodine is essential for the thyroid to produce thyroid hormones.

Other sources of iodine are seafoods such as fish, shellfish, and seaweeds; dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt; meats; bread; eggs; iodinated water, and other iodine-fortified foods. – Florida B. Robles