Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Iodine deficiency leads to permanent brain damage


As we celebrate the Global Iodine Deficiency Disorders Prevention Day with the rest of the world today. This item is published to sensitize and consceintize all citizens to take forward as individual responsibility to eliminate IDDs in our state.
IDDs is a major public health problem worldwide. It is confirmed that one out of every five people in India lies in IDD endemic areas. It is estimated that 1.5 billion people in the world and over 200 million people are at risk of getting IDDs. India alone has more than 71 million people suffering from goitre and other IDDs.
Nagaland was declared as one of the IDD endemic States in India through a base line survey conducted by ICMR in early 1960’s where 34.3% of goitre prevalence was recorded.
Nagaland IDD Cell was established in 1987, since then, control and preventive measures were adopted through the programme division.
Nagaland has the lowest goitre/thyroid disorder among 1,00,000 women in the country 505/1,00,000 (NFHS-4)
The state ranks 6th in the country in total household consumption of iodized salt at 99%
99.3% : Urban
98.8% : Rural (NFHS-5)

  1. What is iodine?
    Iodine is a micro- nutrient element essential to human life. Some of the most vital functions of the human body depend upon a regular supply of iodine.
  2. What is the source of iodine?
    Iodine is naturally available in the soil and water. Our normal requirement comes from crops grown on iodine-rich soil. Therefore when the soil of any area lacks iodine the crops grown on such area lacks iodine. Consequently, those people who live on iodine deficient land do not get the daily requirement of iodine from their diet.
  3. Why is iodine so important?
    Because it is essential for the normal growth, development and functioning of both the brain and body. More importantly, without enough iodine a newborn’s brain and body can become permanently retarded and stunted. A pregnant woman who is deficient in iodine is likely to produce an abnormal child.
  4. How much iodine does a person normally need?
    The average daily requirement of an adult is 150 micrograms. However small the quantity may be, yet it is important that the body gets this quantity regularly everyday.
  5. What happens when a person does not get enough iodine?
    Iodine deficiency in the diet forms a group of abnormalities known as Iodine Deficiency Disorders. It includes goitre, mental retardation speech & hearing defect, squint, difficulties in standing & walking normally & growth retardation. During pregnancy it causes abortion, still-birth and birth of mentally deficient baby.
  6. Why does a child become a cretin?
    A baby in the mother’s womb needs regular supply of iodine for the normal growth & development of its brain & body. But when the mother is iodine deficient, the child too is deprived of this much needed nutrient. If the deficiency is severe, the growth & development of the child’s brain & body are permanently stunted and it becomes a cretin, causing unable to walk, talk or think normally.
  7. Where does Iodine Deficiency Disorder occur in India?
    It occurs in almost all the States & Union Territories of our country. The most affected areas lie in the sub-Himalayan belt extending from Jammu & Kashmir to the North-East including Nagaland covering an area of 2500 Sq.kms.
  8. What is Iodised salt?
    Iodised salt is nothing but the common salt to which a small quantity of iodine compound is added. It is used to prevent iodine deficiency. It looks, taste & smells exactly like an ordinary salt.
  9. Why is Iodine added to salt?
    Iodine is added to salt for the simple reason that we all use salt everyday irrespective of caste, religion or economic status in normal quantity – 10 to 15 grams a day. If this quantity is iodised we automatically get the right amount of iodine that is required everyday.
  10. Can consumption of iodised salt cure goitre, cretinism & other Iodine Deficiency Disorder’s?
    No. Most of the disorders are permanent and incurable but it can be easily prevented before it occurs by consuming iodised salt regularly.
  11. Will consumption of excess Iodine harm me?
    No. Our body will utilize only the required quantity of iodine and the excess (if any) will be excreted unused through the urine.
  12. Can pregnant woman and children use iodised salt?
    Yes. The pregnant woman and young children need it even more than others.
  13. How can I know if salt contains Iodine?
    We can know the content of iodine by testing the salt with a simple salt testing –kit method.
  14. Do animal need iodised salt?
    Yes. Iodised salt improves the health & productivity of animals and reduces the number of still-birth & miscarriages. Also cattle that are fed with iodised salt produce milk that is rich in iodine.
  15. How should iodised salt be stored?
    Iodised salt should be stored in an air tight container because prolong exposure to direct sunlight and moisture can destroy the iodine in the salt.
  16. Is the sale of non-iodised salt banned in our State?
    Yes. The sale of non-iodised salt is banned under the provision of PFA Act 1954 which is still enforced in our State. If any trader is found selling non-iodised salt for human consumption is liable for prosecution under provision of the said Act.
  17. What should the traders do?
    i) Shopkeepers should stock and sell only iodised salt.
    ii) They should ensure proper storage of iodised salt away from direct sunlight and rain.
    iii) They should label the salt meant for farm or animal use as “NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION”.
  18. What is the responsibility of every citizen?
    i) To disseminate the information’s on Iodine Deficiency Disorders its consequences, control & preventive measures.
    ii) To purchase & consume iodised salt only.
    iii) To store iodised salt in close container.
    iv) Not to keep the iodised salt near or above the fireplace.
    v) Not to store iodised salt for more than six months.
    “Iodine deficiency is so easy to prevent that it is a crime to let a single child be born mentally handicapped for that reason.”
    Directorate of Health and Family Welfare
    IDD Cell
    Nagaland: Kohima.

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