What effect did Chernobyl have on thyroid disease?

Hypothyroidism, thyrotoxicosis, thyroiditis, thyroidectomy … A person who has encountered diseases of the thyroid gland knows these terms as a table of multiplication by two third graders. If you do not know – take measures in order not to remember. 

The thyroid gland is a rather small organ, but in the structure of our body it is very similar to a conductor. The thyroid gland, or rather, the hormones that it produces, is responsible for literally everything: loss and weight gain, mood, performance and much, much more. For the production of hormones, one element is needed – iodine. At the same time, it should not be small, but it should not be much. Any deviation from the “norm” can lead to irreversible consequences.   

Intimidated? Do not panic! Our conductor is extremely competent, easily treatable and has medical substitutes. But it’s better still with her, the gland. Therefore, we will be engaged in prevention, but first we recall the story.  

Measures for the prevention of goiter began to be carried out on the territory of the USSR since the 1950s. This problem has always been relevant for territories whose soils are poor in iodine, this is an important element for the functioning of the thyroid gland.

In the post-war years, the first anti-anxiety dispensaries fought to establish primary, secondary and individual prophylaxis. Since then, even preparations that contained a weekly dose of iodine have been preserved. By that time it was not bad. But it soon became clear that the thyroid gland is not a camel to stock up for future use. It cannot accumulate and consume as needed. Then we began to produce iodized salt. Our parents probably remember her – she was yellow and smelled bad. Jars of cucumbers rolled up with this salt exploded.  

It is clear that such food did not cause much enthusiasm among the population. But they struggled with goiter as best they could, and this eventually began to bear fruit. By the 80s, iodine prophylaxis began to fade. At some regular congress, the parties even reported victory over the goiter. How premature it was! 

By the time of the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the thyroid gland of Belarusians, Ukrainians and Russians living several hundred kilometers in diameter with the station was in a state of hunger. Therefore, when the release of radionuclides occurred, our glands absorbed precisely this radioactive iodine. After all, the body, in fact, does not care what iodine is. The main thing is that for one molecule of the hormone there are four molecules of this element, which is needed only for the thyroid gland.

Radioactive iodine is very volatile, it easily spread to a fairly vast territory, and after a few years, doctors felt the negative impact of the Chernobyl accident on the thyroid gland. Somewhere in the early 1990s, Belarus began to register the first cases of thyroid cancer in children. If 15–4 sporadic cases were diagnosed 15 years before the disaster, then in the early 90s, surgeons operated on more than 200 children. At that time, Belarus ranked first in the world for this disease. Thyroid cancer in children is one of the few diseases that – has been proven – occurred due to an accident.    

First of all, those who received a high dose of radiation became ill. Specially for these children, academic center Demidchik created a thyrological center in Minsk. And today, everyone who was on April 26 , 1986 in a territory contaminated with iodine-iodine, and who were from 0 to 18 years old at that time, has the risk of developing thyroid cancer throughout her life. 

However, thyroid cancer is the only cancer that can be completely cured. After radical treatment, they don’t die from it. People until the end of life receive substitution therapy, can lead a familiar lifestyle, women can give birth to a child.  

And only one thought does not leave: after all, if iodine therapy had not been “turned off” in the USSR , such terrible consequences could have been avoided.  

You Might Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *