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Test for Iodine Deficiency

Lack of iodine in the body may lead to several health conditions. Therefore, it's necessary to test for iodine deficiency on a regular basis. The test is easy to perform, and can also be done at home.
Madhurjya Bhattacharyya
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
The body functions properly due to a set of complex reactions which takes place every second. Every part of the body, takes part in the day-to-day activities. Of these organs, the thyroid gland is one of the most important. The thyroid gland produces a hormone called the thyroid hormone, and this hormone is produced in sufficient quantities only if there is enough iodine content in the body.
Whenever there is deficit of iodine in the body the condition is called hypothyroidism, wherein the thyroid glands may enlarge and can cause goiter. Today, a large number of people are found to be deficient. It may cause sudden hot flashes, increased body temperature, sleeplessness, agitation, weight loss, and irregular heart rate. If you get one of these symptoms, it's always better to test for iodine deficiency disorders. It is a simple procedure and does not take much time.
Home Test
Research has found that if the body suffers from iodine deficiency, it may lead to mental retardation. It is believed to be one of the major problem with children. The only way to get rid of this condition is to consume foods rich in iodine. You may also feel tired very soon, besides experiencing pain in the body.
Home test includes taking some iodine and a swab of cotton. You can find tincture iodine in a drugstore. Dip the cotton swab in the tincture, and paint a circle in the inner part of your upper arm or the thighs. Once you have done with that, wait for an hour. After an hour if you find that the circle has disappeared, it means that your body is deficient in iodine. However, if the circle remains as it is for at least four hours, it means that the levels are fine. This is one of the easiest self test which you can use, but if you are still not sure, you can get the test done in a laboratory.
Urine Test
If you go for a test in a laboratory, they would take a sample of your urine, which is usually taken early in the morning. After the sample is taken, you will be given an iodine tablet. After a few minutes your urine sample would again be taken, and it's at this point of time that your urine is tested. If the levels are normal, then most of the iodine which was ingested through the tablet, would be excreted. On the other hand, if your body lacks it, then it would be retained in the body.
Usually if the doctor finds something abnormal with the thyroid glands, then he would suggest you to get a test of these glands done. No doubt they don't measure the levels of iodine in the body, but it can give the doctor a good idea of thyroid problems.
Blood Test
Besides urine test, blood tests are also done to see whether the iodine levels in the body are sufficient or not. Blood tests are done to check the levels of thyroid hormones in the blood. If the amount of thyroid hormones are low it means that the body is not being able to produce enough of this hormone due to the lack of iodine, or due to malfunction of thyroid gland.
So, there are a number of ways to test for iodine deficiency. Whether you test it at home, or in a laboratory, get in touch with a doctor to know the causes behind it. Nowadays, certain amount of iodine is added to food salt to take care of this problem.