What is the global prevalence of goiter?

Updated: Apr 02, 2020
  • Author: James R Mulinda, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Worldwide, the most common cause of goiter is iodine deficiency. [5] It is estimated that goiters affect as many as 200 million of the 800 million people who have a diet deficient in iodine. In the Wickham study from the United Kingdom, 16% of the population had a goiter. [8]

In a German study, 635 people underwent ultrasonographic thyroid screening, as well as basal TSH measurement, during a preventive-health checkup. [3] Thyroid nodules were detected in 432 (68%) of the persons screened; in a previous German study, ultrasonographic screening of more than 90,000 people detected thyroid nodules in 33% of the normal population. The authors of the latter report attributed this difference to the fact that patients in their study were screened using 13 MHz ultrasonographic scanners, which were more sensitive than the 7.5 MHz scanners used in the previous study. According to the investigators, their results indicated that the question of routine iodine supplementation requires renewed attention.

The incidence of thyroid cancer has been rising worldwide. The reasons are unclear, but this trend may be related to better detection and diagnostic methods. [9]

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