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Epidemiology of Iodine Deficiency Disorders in Pakistan and North-East Germany

  • Iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) result from insufficient iodine intake, and may lead to many adverse effects on growth, development and thyroid diseases in humans. Pakistan is a country with history of iodine deficiency. Before reunification both parts of Germany were iodine deficient. In the Eastern part, however, due to mandatory iodine prophylaxis adaptation in 1983, the iodine status of the population improved from moderate to mild iodine deficiency. After the reunification of Germany in 1989 “voluntary principle” was adopted leading again to a decrease in iodine intake. Germany and Pakistan present different socioeconomics, cultural values and adaptations to the IDD eradication but have resemblance in history of iodine deficiency. In the recent years Germany has improved in IDD eradication more than Pakistan. The purpose of this research was to study the regional influence on iodine nutritional status of pregnant women in Pakistan and to monitor the effectiveness of the iodine fortification programme in the North-East German population. Pregnant women data was obtained from randomly selected (public and private) prenatal clinics in five districts of the KPK province of Pakistan. Women visited there for their routine checkup between March and September 2012. Data were obtained from almost 250 pregnant women from each district reaching to a total of 1260 in all five districts. The SHIP project consists of two population-based cohorts, for which only individuals with German citizenship and main residency in the study area were recruited. In the first SHIP cohort; SHIP-0, individuals aged 20-79 years were selected from population registries by a two-stage cluster sampling method. The net sample (without migrated or deceased persons) comprised 6265 eligible subjects, of which 4308 (response 68.8%) participated between 1997 and 2001. A separate stratified random sample of 8826 adults aged 20-79 years was drawn for SHIP-Trend, of which 4420 subjects participated between 2008 and 2012 (response 50.1%) in SHIP-Trend-0. All the pregnant women were asked to complete a short interview questionnaire containing the information related to sources and reasons for intake and non-intake of iodized salt. The questionnaire also comprised questions related to knowledge of iodized salt nutrition. Information on the number of previous pregnancies and/or abortions (fetal loss due to various reasons, not including voluntary termination of pregnancy) was also obtained. The gestational age of the pregnant women was determined from the first day of the last regular menstrual period with gestational ages of ≤14.9, 28.9, and ≥29 weeks comprising the first, second, and third trimesters of pregnancy, respectively. For goiter assessment in pregnant women the WHO/UNICEF/IGN recommended palpation method was used. UIC was measured using a modification of the Sandell-Kolthoff reaction with spectrophotometric detection. Evaluation of group iodine status was based on median UIC categories defined by the WHO/IGN. These are: recommended – median 150-249 μg/L; mild iodine deficiency – median <150 μg/L. For the analysis of monitoring trends of thyroid diseases in SHIP, diagnosed thyroid disorders were assessed by computer-assisted personal interviews. Medication data were obtained online using the IDOM program (online drug-database leaded medication assessment) and classified according to the Anatomical-Therapeutic-Chemical (ATC) classification system.In SHIP population goiter assessment was based on thyroid volume determined with ultrasonography. Goiter was defined as a thyroid volume exceeding 18 mL in women and 25 mL in men. Urinary iodine concentrations were measured from spot urine samples by a photometric procedure. Urinary creatinine concentrations were determined with the Jaffé method. Evaluation of group iodine status was based on median UIC categories defined by the WHO/IGN. The iodine/creatinine ratio was calculated by dividing urinary iodine by urinary creatinine concentrations. Serum TSH, fT3, fT4 levels in SHIP study were measured by an immunochemiluminescent procedure. A method comparison between the two TSH laboratory methods showed only negligible differences. High and low serum TSH levels were based on the reference range established from data for SHIP-0 (0.25 mIU/L - 2.12 mIU/L) and SHIP-TREND-0 (0.49 mIU/L - 3.29 mIU/L) respectively (21,22). Anti-TPO Abs were measured by an enzyme immunoassay in the whole SHIP study. The anti-TPO Abs status was defined as follows: normal < 60 IU/ml in men and < 100 IU/ml in women; increased > 60 IU/ml in men and > 100 IU/ml in women; positive: > 200 IU/ml in both sexes. Thyroid ultrasonography was performed in SHIP-0 using an ultrasound VST-Gateway with a 5 MHz linear array transducer. In SHIP-Trend-0 ultrasonography was performed with a portable device using a 13-MHz linear array transducer. In both studies intra- and inter-observer reliabilities were assessed before the start of the study and semi-annually during the study. For thyroid volume all inter-observer and inter-device variabilities showed mean differences (±2 SD)of < 5% (<25%). Thyroid volume was calculated as length x width x depth x 0.479 (ml) for each lobe (26). The normal thyroid echo pattern was classified as homogeneous. A homogeneous echo pattern with reduced echogenicity was defined as hypoechogenic. Nodular changes exceeding 10 mm in diameter were defined as thyroid nodules. Multivariable logistic regression analysis adjusting for age was used to regress the outcome measures (knowledge about IDD, iodized salt intake, UIC <150mIU/L and goiter prevalence) on regional influences (as exposure) in each specific district. These results are presented as odd ratios and their 95% confidence interval. For the analysis in SHIP, all analyses were standardized by base-weights to account for different sampling probabilities. In SHIP-Trend-0, additionally, inverse probability weights for study participation were calculated, which were multiplied with the base-weights. Differences in median levels between SHIP-0 and SHIP-Trend-0 were tested by median regression models; prevalence differences between SHIP-0 and SHIP-Trend-0 were tested by Poisson regression models. The majority of pregnant women (88.0%) had no knowledge about IDD. A very high (79%) percentage of pregnant women were not taking iodized salt, out of which 36.6% reported that iodized salt would negatively affect reproduction and for 17.0%, it was too expensive. Iodized salt intake in pregnant women was high in the big cities (Peshawar, Nowshehra) and in the urban areas (27.0%) In 41.3% of the pregnant women, we observed a UIC of >150mIU/L. The median UIC level for the pregnant women was 131µg/L. The total goiter prevalence in pregnant women was 25.5%. The prevalence of UIC <150mIU/L in pregnant women did not differ between rural and urban areas. The results based on logistic regression analysis shows that the prevalence on knowledge about IDD, iodized salt intake, UIC <150mIU/L, and goiter did not differ in pregnant women between urban and rural areas. In district Lakki Marwat except, the pregnant women from urban residence had higher odds of having knowledge on IDD and iodized salt intake than their rural counterparts. The prevalence of diagnosed thyroid disorders increased from 7.6% [CI 6.9-8.5] in SHIP-0 to 18.9% [CI 17.6-20.1] in SHIP-Trend-0. Likewise, the prevalence of thyroid medication intake increased from 6.2% [CI 5.5-7.0] to 11.1% [CI 10.1-12.2]. The median urinary iodine excretion levels decreased significantly, which was more pronounced in females than in males. The median iodine-to-creatinine ratio declined in all sex- and age-groups with stronger decrease in females than in males. The prevalence of median urinary iodine excretion levels <100µg/L increased between SHIP-0 and SHIP-Trend-0. Median serum TSH levels increased significantly between SHIP-0 and SHIP-Trend-0, resulting in a right shift of the serum TSH level distribution. The prevalence of high serum TSH levels remained almost stable between SHIP-0 and SHIP-Trend-0. Likewise, the prevalence of low TSH remained almost stable between SHIP-0 and SHIP-Trend-0. The prevalence of increased anti-TPO Abs and positive anti-TPO Abs decreased from SHIP-0 to SHIP-Trend-0 in the whole study population. The prevalence of hypoechogenic thyroid pattern decreased from SHIP-0 to SHIP-Trend-0. The median thyroid volume remained similar between SHIP-0 and SHIP-Trend-0 in the whole study population. Goiter prevalence decreased significantly; more pronounced in males than in females, while the prevalence of thyroid nodules increased between SHIP-0 and SHIP-Trend-0. In pregnant women in Pakistan due to insufficient awareness campaigns and low literacy ratio in rural areas urinary iodine excretion levels indicate a stable iodine supply, which is still not sufficient. Our results show that rural/urban disparity is affecting the IDD prevention program in rural districts, but not in general. The SHIP data indicate that the improved iodine supply over the past two decades in Germany is paralleled by a reduction in prevalence of IDDs, while no increase was observed in markers of autoimmune thyroid disorders arguing for an optimal iodine supply of the general adult population in Northeast Germany. The increase in prevalence of diagnosed thyroid disorders and the intake of thyroid medication might be because of inappropriate therapeutical decisions which should be made with caution, based on regional TSH reference ranges, its prognostic value, and compliance with treatment.

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Author:Dr. Rehman Khattak
Title Additional (German):Epidemiologie von Jodmangelerkrankungen in Pakistan und Nordostdeutschland
Referee:Prof. Dr. Dietrich Rothenbacher, Prof. Dr. Thomas Remer
Advisor:Prof. Dr. Henry Völzke
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Year of Completion:2018
Date of first Publication:2018/06/20
Granting Institution:Universität Greifswald, Universitätsmedizin
Date of final exam:2018/03/26
Release Date:2018/06/20
Tag:iodine deficiency disorders
GND Keyword:Iodine deficiency disorders, IDD in pregnant women, Monitoring IDD
Page Number:74
Faculties:Universitätsmedizin / Institut für Community Medicine
DDC class:600 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit