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Thyroid gland disorders and their therapies

Iodine deficiency and Struma

Thyroid hormones have a global effect, exerted on the whole body. Iodine present in the water and food is incorporated into the thyroid hormones. Thyroxin and triiodothyronin activity may be inhibited, if the amount of dietary iodine intake is too low. In such cases, the thyroid gland compensates the decreased production by its growth, resulting in goiter or Struma common in iodine deficient areas. Preventively, it is worthwhile to use iodine enriched table salt, or assure the proper iodine intake in form of pills. Their administration may be necessary even after the operative or pharmaceutical treatment of goiter.

Do not take the Potassium Iodide pills,

  • if you’re diagnosed with thyroid hormone over-production,
  • if in your thyroid gland there are nodules working independently from central nervous system regulation, or areas producing hormones (autonomous adenoma, focal or diffuse thyroid gland autonomy),
  • if you are allergic (hypersensitive) to iodine or any other component of the product

Nuclear accidents and the potassium iodide

In nuclear accidents radioactive iodide potentially released into the environment enters the dietary cycle and may accumulate in the thyroid gland. This may be prevented by potassium iodide supplementation, since the stabile (not radiating) iodine taken in large amounts inhibits the accumulation of radioactive iodine from other sources.

The potassium iodide may only be taken following governmental instruction and only when justified. If iodine prophylaxis is not centrally imposed, intake of potassium iodide pills is not recommended, since, in unjustified cases, risks are greater than benefits. Thyroid gland, gastric and intestinal side-effects can occur, as well as allergic reactions, for example fever, joint pain, edema and shortness of breath. In cases of chronic overdosing it may even have a more severe effect on thyroid gland function.

Potassium iodide pills are kept in inventory in pharmacies or Mayor’s Offices in localities in the 30 km circuit surrounding the Paks Nuclear Power Plant Ltd. In addition to this, the country disposes over a central inventory which can be distributed, if necessary.

Further information of what to do in case of an accident or emergency: