Iodine deficiency found in seafood is a big reason for goiter. However, it is a rare cause in the developed countries where iodine is regularly put inside salt. Because iodine is not commonly found in plants, vegetarian diets lack adequate iodine. However, this is not a problem for vegetarians living in countries wherein iodine is added to salt. Dietary iodine is present in cow’s milk, seafood and plant food that is grown in iodine-rich soil.
As per worldwide statistics, the presence of goiter is as high as 80% like the populations in remote mountainous areas of Southeast Asia, Central Africa, and Latin America, where every day iodine intake is below 25 micrograms daily and children are very often born with hypothyroidism. Thyroid gland requires iodine for producing thyroid hormones that regulate the body’s rate of metabolism.
Goiter is an Autoimmune Disease
Women above 40 years of age are at more risk of suffering from goiter like the people who have a family history of this condition. Hypothyroidism is a consequence of underactive thyroid gland & this leads to goiter. As the gland makes very little thyroid hormone, it is stimulated to make more causing the swelling. This generally is a consequence of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis which is a condition wherein which the immune system of our body attacks it’s own tissue & leads to inflammation of our thyroid gland.
Hyperthyroidism and Goiter
Hyperthyroidism refers to an overactive gland. This is another reason for a goiter wherein too much of thyroid hormones is made. This generally results from Grave’s disease which is an autoimmune disorder wherein which the immunity of our body turns on itself & attacks thyroid gland making it swollen.
Other reasons for goiter
Less common reasons for goiter comprise the following-
- Smoking – thiocyanate of tobacco smoke interferes with the absorption of iodine.
- Nodules– the benign lumps
- Hormonal changes – Puberty, pregnancy & menopause could affect the thyroid function
- Thyroiditis – inflammation which is lead to infection