What Is A Goiter
Goiter refers to enlargement of the thyroid gland, a butterfly shaped organ draped around the front and sides of the windpipe in the lower part of the neck.
The thyroid gland is normally about the size of two thumbs held together in the shape of a V. It can enlarge when it is inefficient in making thyroid hormones, inflamed, or occupied by tumors.
Thyroid gland enlargement can be generalized and smooth, a so called diffuse goiter or it can become larger due to growth of one or more discrete lumps within the gland, a nodular goiter.
A goitrous gland can continue producing the proper amounts of thyroid hormones, in which case it is called a euthyroid or nontoxic goiter or a goiter can develop in conditions with either overproduction of thyroid hormone, called toxic goiter, or the inability to make sufficient thyroid hormones, called goitrous hypothyroidism.
What Are The Complications Of Thyroid Cancer
Most thyroid cancers respond well to treatment and arent life-threatening.
After thyroid surgery or treatments, your body still needs thyroid hormones to function. Youll need thyroid replacement hormone therapy for life. Synthetic thyroid hormones, such as levothyroxine , take over for the thyroid hormones that your body no longer naturally produces.
How Is Thyroid Cancer Diagnosed
If you have an enlarged thyroid nodule or other signs of thyroid cancer, your healthcare provider may order one or more of these tests:
- Blood tests: A thyroid blood test checks hormone levels and gauges whether your thyroid is functioning properly.
- Biopsy: During a fine-needle aspiration biopsy, your healthcare provider removes cells from your thyroid to test for cancer cells. A sentinel node biopsy can determine if cancer cells have spread to lymph nodes. Your provider may use ultrasound technology to guide these biopsy procedures.
- Radioiodine scan: This test can detect thyroid cancer and determine if cancer has spread. You swallow a pill containing a safe amount of radioactive iodine . Over a few hours, the thyroid gland absorbs the iodine. Your healthcare provider uses a special device to measure the amount of radiation in the gland. Areas with less radioactivity need more testing to confirm the presence of cancer.
- Imaging scans:Magnetic resonance imaging , computed tomography and positron emission tomography scans can detect thyroid cancer and cancer spread.
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Thyroiditis Causes And Types
Many things can make your thyroid swell. You may have gotten an infection from a virus or bacteria. You may be taking a drug like lithium or interferon. Or you may have problems with your immune system.
These are the most common causes:
- Hashimoto’s disease. This is the most common type of thyroiditis. Your immune system attacks your thyroid and slowly weakens the gland until it canât make enough thyroid hormones.
- Subacute thyroiditis. This type is often triggered by an infection. Thereâs usually a pattern of how the thyroid functions. First, the thyroid and neck area are painful. Then, the thyroid makes too much hormone, called hyperthyroidism. Then, your thyroid works normally, followed by a time where the thyroid produces too little thyroid hormone. This is called hypothyroidism. After about 12 to 18 months, thyroid function returns to normal.
- Postpartum thyroiditis. This type begins within a year after childbirth, particularly in women with a history of thyroid issues. With treatment, the thyroid usually recovers within 18 months.
- Silent thyroiditis. As the name suggests, there are no symptoms with this type. Itâs similar to postpartum thyroiditis, and recovery usually takes up to 18 months. It starts with a phase of too much hormone production, followed by a longer period of the thyroid making too little.
An Incredibly Important But Rarely Understood Part Of Your Body
Welcome to the world of lymph. In your body, it is the lymphatic system that carries lymph. Even if youve heard the term lymph or lymphatic before, you probably dont understand just how important it is to your health!
In Latin, the word lympha translates to water. Lymph is a clear fluid that flows through a massive network of lymph super-highways known as your lymphatic system. Just like blood flows through your veins and arteries, lymph flows through lymph vessels.
You know how important blood is to your survival but you probably dont know that lymph is just as important. Without lymph, the next bacterial or viral infection you catch would kill you!
Why is lymph important?
One of the main functions of your lymphatic system is immune defense. When youre exposed to an invading virus, your lymphatic system carries the invader to your immune system. Your immune system creates antibodies to fight off the intruder and as a result you recover often without even knowing a thing.
But without lymph, youd struggle to overcome any infection.
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Too Much Thyroid Hormone Medicine
Some people who take thyroid hormone medicine for hypothyroidism may take too much. If you take thyroid hormone medicine, you should see your doctor at least once a year to have your thyroid hormone levels checked. You may need to adjust your dose if your thyroid hormone level is too high.
Some other medicines may also interact with thyroid hormone medicine to raise hormone levels. If you take thyroid hormone medicine, ask your doctor about interactions when starting new medicines.
Can Hyperthyroidism Be Prevented Or Avoided
You cannot prevent hyperthyroidism. However, some people are more at risk for the condition. This includes people who:
- Were born female.
- Have a family history of thyroid disease.
- Are younger than 40 or older than 60.
- Have certain problems, such as type 1 diabetes, pernicious anemia, or an immune system disorder.
- Consume large amounts of iodine, either through food or medicine
What Your Tongue Tells You About Your Thyroid
When Dr. Wiggy appeared on The Doctors TV Show, here is what he had to say about the tongue that caught my attention, Sometimes the tongue gets too big for the mouth and actually pushes up against the sides of the teeth and that can suggest the tongue is too large because there are too many toxins. A lot of times that is from having low thyroid.
I immediately went to the mirror and for the first time in my life looked at my tongue, not just looked at it but really examined it closely. I discovered that my tongue was in fact enlarged. I had 2 out of the 4 tongue issues Dr. Wiggy describes below. I had no idea my tongue was so unhealthy looking.
How about you? Have you taken a good look at your tongue?
How Does Thyroid Disease Affect Pregnancy
Pregnancy-related hormones raise the level of thyroid hormones in the blood. Thyroid hormones are necessary for the babys brain development while in the womb.
It can be harder to diagnose thyroid problems during pregnancy because of the change in hormone levels that normally happen during pregnancy. But it is especially important to check for problems before getting pregnant and during pregnancy. Uncontrolled hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause problems for both mother and baby.
Hyperthyroidism that is not treated with medicine during pregnancy can cause:
- Premature birth
- a serious condition starting after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Preeclampsia causes high blood pressure and problems with the kidneys and other organs. The only cure for preeclampsia is childbirth.
- Thyroid storm
- Fast heart rate in the newborn, which can lead to heart failure, poor weight gain, or an enlarged thyroid that can make it hard to breathe
- Low birth weight
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What Are The Risk Factors For Thyroid Nodules
Risk factors for developing thyroid nodules include:
- Family history. Having parents or siblings who have had thyroid nodules or thyroid or other endocrine cancers increases your chance of developing nodules.
- Age: The chance of developing nodules increases as you get older.
- Gender: Women are more likely than men to develop thyroid nodules.
- Radiation exposure: A history of radiation exposure to the head and neck increases your risk of developing nodules.
Risk factors for developing cancerous thyroid nodules include:
- Family history of thyroid cancer
- A nodule that is hard or is stuck to a nearby structure
- Male gender
Goiters: Abnormally Large Thyroid Glands
A goiter is an abnormally large thyroid gland. A goiter develops either because the whole gland is swollen or the gland has multiple growths or nodules on it. While some people with a goiter have no symptoms, others may have symptoms of an overactive or underactive thyroid.
- Hyperthyroidism is the medical term for an overactive thyroid, which produces too much thyroid hormone. Symptoms may include: Anxiety, rapid heart rate, diarrhea, weight loss.
- Hypothyroidism refers to an underactive thyroid, which products too little thyroid hormone. Symptoms may include: Depression, fatigue, constipation, weight gain.
What Causes a Goiter?Causes of goiters include:
Treatments for GoitersTreatment depends on the cause of the goiter and your symptoms. If your goiter is caused by low iodine intake, you may be treated with iodine supplements and thyroid hormone.
If your goiter is caused by Hashimotos thyroiditis, and you have hypothyroidism, treatment typically involves taking a pill containing thyroid hormone every day.
If the goiter is caused by hyperthyroidism, you may be treated with radioactive iodine, which is given as a pill and causes the thyroid gland to shrink and make less thyroid hormone. Radioactive iodine is only absorbed by the thyroid gland, so it does not harm other cells in your body. Another treatment involves removal of part or the entire thyroid by a surgeon. You may need to take thyroid hormones after surgery.
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What Are The More Serious Complications Of Hyperthyroidism
People with advanced and extreme hyperthyroidism face a ramshackle of problems, some of them life-threatening. The good news, though, is many patients do not reach this level of severity. Complications can include:
- Graves ophthalmopathy or Thyroid Eye Disease , which may soon be treatable using a new drug called Teprotumumab
- Irregular heartbeat, which can lead to:
- blood clots
- other heart problems
Bottom line: The longer you have an overactive thyroid and go without treatment, the greater the risk of lifelong complications, even after treatment. As over 60 percent of people with thyroid disease go undiagnosed, its important to listen to your body before reversible symptoms like weight loss and insomnia become life-threatening issues such as irregular heartbeat , bone loss , and infertility .
Do One Thing Right Now
Relax! Slowing things down is keyeven if it feels counterintuitive with all the sped up effects of the condition. The GDATF recommends practicing yoga, Tai Chi, self-hypnosis, and meditation.
Symptoms Of Thyroid Inflammation
Symptoms of thyroid inflammation may vary depending on the inflammation intensity. Since the gland affects many body parts, signs might be emanating from different types of the body. As the disease progresses, most patients experience a mix of symptoms, including mental health problems, among other physiological problems. Have a look at some of the symptoms you can expect when suffering from thyroiditis:
- Unusual anxiety
- Unexplainable stress
- Gastrointestinal problems: Some of the symptoms include nausea, unusual increase or decrease of appetite, and increased bowel emptying
- General body sickness: This may present with sweating, lethargy, pain, feeling cold, and heat intolerance
- Unusual increase or decrease in weight
- Shortness of breath
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What Causes Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism has several causes. They include
- Grave’s disease, an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system attacks your thyroid and causes it to make too much hormone. This is the most common cause.
- Thyroid nodules, which are growths on your thyroid. They are usually benign . But they may become overactive and make too much thyroid hormone. Thyroid nodules are more common in older adults.
- Thyroiditis, inflammation of the thyroid. It causes stored thyroid hormone to leak out of your thyroid gland.
- Too much iodine. Iodine is found in some medicines, cough syrups, seaweed and seaweed-based supplements. Taking too much of them can cause your thyroid to make too much thyroid hormone.
- Too much thyroid medicine. This can happen if people who take thyroid hormone medicine for hypothyroidism take too much of it.
What Is An Enlarged Thyroid
This is more of a symptom of thyroid disease than a medical condition. Your thyroid is one of the endocrine glands and is located in the front portion of your neck. This gland is important because it secretes hormones that help to regulate your metabolism, your growth, your sexual development, and many other different functions. The thyroid glad secretes three hormones, which are triiodothyronine, calcitonin, and thyroxin. An enlarged thyroid is often referred to as a goiter by physicians.
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What Other Health Problems Could I Have Because Of Hyperthyroidism
If hyperthyroidism isnt treated, it can cause some serious health problems, including
- an irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart-related problems
- an eye disease called Graves ophthalmopathy that can cause double vision, light sensitivity, and eye pain, and rarely can lead to vision loss
- thinning bones and osteoporosis
What Is A Thyroid Goiter
Thyroid goiter is a condition where there is an abnormal enlargement of your thyroid gland. The photo here shows how many thyroid goiters look, which is like the neck is swolen and fat. When you touch it, you can tell it isnt fat since it is firm and doesnt move much. Most thyroid goiters are painless, but they may produce symptoms due to their size itself. The most common symptom from a thyroid goiter is a lump in the neck. Other symptoms from a large thyroid goiter may include a sense of a lump in the throat, difficultly swallowing, difficulty breathing and even in extreme cases, voice changes and even vocal cord paralysis.
World wide, the most common cause of thyroid goiter is in locations where iodine in the diet is low or non-existent. This was similarly the case in the United States where thyroid goiter was commonplace until the contemporary iodination of table salt. Since then, the incidence of thyroid goiters have drastically been reduced in the United States.
Today, in the United States, thyroid goiter is more commonly associated with too much production of thyroid hormone , too little production of thyroid hormone , or multiple nodules within the thyroid gland itself .
There are two autoimmune conditions that can be causes of thyroid goiter.
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Who Should Be Tested
If you think you have symptoms of a thyroid problem, ask your doctor if you should be tested. People with symptoms or risk factors may need tests more often. Hypothyroidism more frequently affects women over age 60. Hyperthyroidism is also more common in women. A family history raises your risk of either disorder.
Thyroid Nodules: When To Worry
Suppose you go to your doctor for a check-up, and, as shes feeling your neck, she notices a bump. Then, suppose she tells you theres a nodule on your thyroid. Is it time to panic?
No, say experts at Johns Hopkins Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery. Thyroid nodules even the occasional cancerous ones are treatable.
Heres what you need to know about thyroid nodules and how concerned you should be if you develop one.
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Hashimotos Diagnosis And Treatment
Testing the level of TSH is often the first step when screening for any type of thyroid disorder. Your doctor might order a blood test to check for increased levels of TSH as well as low levels of thyroid hormone if youre experiencing some of the above symptoms. Hashimotos thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder, so the blood test would also show abnormal antibodies that might be attacking the thyroid.
Theres no known cure for Hashimotos thyroiditis. Hormone-replacing medication is often used to raise thyroid hormone levels or lower TSH levels. It can also help relieve the symptoms of the disease. Surgery might be necessary to remove part or all of the thyroid gland in rare advanced cases of Hashimotos. The disease is usually detected at an early stage and remains stable for years because it progresses slowly.
How Does Thyroid Cancer Affect Pregnancy
Thyroid cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in pregnant women . Approximately 10% of thyroid cancers develop during pregnancy or within the first year after childbirth. Experts believe fluctuating hormone levels during pregnancy may trigger the cancer.
If you receive a thyroid cancer diagnosis during pregnancy, your healthcare provider can discuss treatment options. Depending on the cancer type and severity, your provider may recommend delaying treatment until after you deliver your baby. If treatment cant wait, most women can safely undergo surgery to remove the cancerous gland. You shouldnt have radioactive diagnostic tests or treatments when youre pregnant or breastfeeding.
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How Is Goitre Treated
Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the goitre. Simple goitre, where there is no thyroid hormone imbalance and no problems arising from the size of the thyroid, is unlikely to cause problems. In case the goitre is large and symptomatic , it may be appropriate to consider surgery , though this will result in the patient requiring lifelong thyroxine replacement.
Treatment of overactive and underactive thyroid is explained in articles on hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, respectively.