Iodine is an essential nutrient. It is needed by our thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones. These hormones play an important role in the growth and mental development of a child. Also, these hormones help in the smooth functioning of various organs such as the heart, brain, and muscles.
Iodine deficiency diseases are the largest cause of brain damage in kids. Also, it leads to serious medical consequences such as stillbirth, infantile birth, and neurological damage in children. About 250 micrograms of Iodine per day is recommended for pregnant woman and 90 micrograms of iodine per day for child up to 5 years.
A baby depends on its mother’s milk for an adequate supply of iodine. Hence, iodine deficiency in lactating mothers can affect the baby as there is a high chance of hypothyroidism in them. Signs of hypothyroidism in babies include poor feeding, jaundice, constipation. If these signs are missed and treatment is not started within the first few weeks then it can lead to irreversible intellectual disability in a child. To prevent this, a regular screening blood test for hypothyroidism is carried out.
Older children can also be easily affected by hypothyroidism. It can result in poor growth, poor school performance, goiter and can affect their puberty. The treatment involves daily medication and long-term follow-up with a specialist in the field of hormonal imbalance in children.