Clinical Thyroidology / Original Paper
Pregnant Greek Women May Have a Higher Prevalence of Iodine Deficiency than the General Greek PopulationKoukkou E.G.a · Ilias I.a · Mamalis I.b · Markou K.B.b
aEndocrine Unit, E Venizelou Hospital, Athens, and bDivision of Endocrinology, University Medical School, University Hospital, Rion-Patras, Greece
Kostas B. Markou
6 Thisseos Street
GR-26500 Ovria Patras (Greece)
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Background: Adequate dietary iodine consumption, predicted via the urinary iodine concentration (UIC), is necessary for normal thyroid function and for the neurodevelopment of fetuses and neonates. The general population of Greece is considered to be iodine sufficient, but our preliminary findings suggest that Greek pregnant women are at risk of iodine deficiency. Objective: Our aim was to estimate the thyroid function and UIC in a representative population of pregnant Greek women. Methods: UIC and thyroid function were assessed in 1,118 women from 19 representative areas of the country. Results: The median UIC was found to be 127.1 µg/l (range 7.8-2,296), which is indicative of insufficient iodine intake according to the standard of the World Health Organization (WHO) for pregnant women. The median UIC was below the minimal recommended value of 150 µg/l in 61% of the women, and below 100 or 50 µg/l in 32 and 7%, respectively. An optimal iodine intake (150-250 µg/l) was observed in 26%, and was over the cut-off of 500 µg/l in 2% of the subjects. Serum thyrotropin significantly increased between trimesters, from 1.57 ± 1.2, to 1.68 ± 1.0 and to 2.02 ± 1.2 mU/l (p < 0.001). Serum-free thyroxine decreased significantly between trimesters, from 1.22 ± 0.34, to 1.01 ± 0.21 and 0.96 ± 0.2 ng/ml (p < 0.05). Serum thyroglobulin levels remained unchanged over the trimesters and were not correlated with UIC. Conclusions: While the general population of Greece is iodine sufficient, these findings suggest that, according to the WHO, the majority of pregnant Greek women are iodine deficient. These data strongly suggest that a proactive policy should be developed to lower iodine deficiency risk in this population of women.
© 2016 European Thyroid Association Published by S. Karger AG, Basel
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