This does not happen in the United States because we get plenty of iodized salt in our diet, but it does happen in other parts of the world. If we don’t have enough iodide, we don’t have enough thyroxine production. If we don’t have enough thyroxine in the blood, the pituitary produces TSH to tell the thyroid gland to get to work. Unfortunately the thyroid gland can’t get to work because of the lack of iodide in the body. The thyroid gland continues getting stimulated and it grows to become a giant lump in the neck called a goiter. This happens to prove to actually be useful rather than simply unsightly. With this huge mass, the extra surface area leads to better trapping of iodide. Eventually, the person becomes euthyroid, meaning they have a normal functioning thyroid gland because what little iodide is present, will be adequate enough to produce T4 and T3. The only thing unusual about this individual is the physical appearance until they get more iodide in their body. When they get more iodide in, the goiter will slowly shrink.
- Decreased thyroxine production
- Decreased blood levels
- Increased release of TSH from pituitary
- Hypertrophy of Thyroid Gland (goiter)
- Increased Iodide trapping
- Euthyroid (everything eventually balances out)