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High incidence of multinodular toxic goitre in the elderly population in a low iodine intake area vs. high incidence of Graves' disease in the young in a high iodine intake area: comparative surveys of thyrotoxicosis epidemiology in East-Jutland Denmark and Iceland

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Little is known about the optimum level of iodine intake for iodine supplementation programmes, or about the effects of the high levels of iodine intake that are found in some countries. We compared the incidence of different types of hyperthyroidism in East-Jutland Denmark with a low average iodine intake but no endemic goitre, and the incidence in Iceland with a relatively high iodine intake. Hyperthyroidism was more common in East-Jutland than in Iceland, due to a much higher incidence of multinodular toxic goitre and also of single toxic adenoma. Most of the patients with these diseases were over 50 years of age. By contrast, the incidence of Graves' disease was significantly higher in Iceland than in East-Jutland. This difference was most marked in the younger age groups, in which hyperthyroidism was more than twice as common in Iceland as in East-Jutland. These results demonstrate that even mild iodine deficiency has a significant effect on population health, since it leads to a high incidence of autonomous thyroid nodules with hyperthyroidism in the elderly population. However, population iodine intake probably should not exceed a level much higher than that necessary to avoid iodine deficiency, otherwise Graves' disease may be induced in the young population.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournal of Internal Medicine
Vol/bind229
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)415-20
Antal sider6
ISSN0954-6820
StatusUdgivet - maj 1991

ID: 174866956