Acta Med. 2005, 48: 39-42

Iodine Deficiency and Goiter Prevalence of the Adult Population in Erzurum

Ersin Akarsua, Güngör Akçayb, Ilyas Çapoğlub, Necdet Ünüvarb

aUniversity of Gaziantep, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Turkey
bUniversity of Atatürk, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Turkey

Received March 1, 2004
Accepted December 1, 2004

It is believed that total goiter prevalence in Turkey is as high as 30.5%. The iodine deficiency is the distinct etiologic factor in the development of goiter. The aim of this study was to determine goiter prevalence and iodine deficiency in adults living in Erzurum (1659 m above sea level) for at least 10 year. The study involved 340 people (192 females, 148 males). The median age was 38.5 year (ranging from 20 to 76 years). Ultrasound-measured thyroid volume (TV) for men (TV > 25 ml) and for women (TV > 18 ml) was considered goiter indicator. By this evaluation, goiter was diagnosed in 94 (27.6 %) cases, whereas the goiter prevalence, based on the palpation method, was 5.6%. Urinary iodine concentration (UIC) was measured by ammonium persulfate method. UIC in subjects with goiter was significantly lower than that of the others (median values 5.0 vs 7.8 μg/dl, p < 0.0001). While the value of UIC ≥ 10 μg/dl (no. 121, 36.6%) was accepted normal, the extent of iodine deficiency in other subjects was classified as severe (UIC < 2.0 μg/dl, no.53, 15.6%), moderate (UIC = 2.0–4.9 μg/dl, no.75, 22%) and mild (UIC = 5.0–9.9 μg/dl, no.91, 26.8%). TV values were found to be significantly different among the four groups (p < 0.05). TV values were significantly correlated with body surface area and UIC (r = 0.15 and r = -0.16, respectively, p < 0.005). Also, the prevalence of thyroid nodules was estimated as 2.1% by palpation and 18% by ultrasonography. We conclude that goiter originating from iodine deficiency has been an important health problem in Erzurum. Besides taking measures at national level, local factors and risks which interfere with the nationwide efforts should also be dealt with for the eradication of the iodine deficiency problem. In the region, periodical evaluation of iodine level and iodine related disorders will guide the measures to be taken for the well being of people’s general health.


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