It’s hard to detect thyroid disorder. You may feel tired or have something known as brain fog and maybe gaining weight or experiencing hair loss. Other people may feel anxious or sweat more than usual. All of these are common symptoms of thyroid disease. The thyroid regulates many processes in the body and women tend to have abnormalities that affect the function of the underlying glands.
Recognizing and treating this condition is very important for optimal health and for the prevention of long-term health problems. Goitre is an enlargement of the thyroid gland that is not normal. Your thyroid gland is a butterfly gland, located at the base of the neck just below the Adam’s apple. Although goitre is usually painless, large can cause coughing and make it difficult to swallow or breathe.
The most common cause of goitre in the world is iodine deficiency in food. Goitre caused more often by excess or deficiency of thyroid hormones or nodules that develop in the thyroid gland. Treatment depends on the size of the goitre, your symptoms and the root causes. Small goitre that are not visible and doesn’t cause problems usually don’t need treatment.
Dr Venu Gopal Pareek in this blog, gives useful information about what is thyroid gland, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options available.
In the body thyroid is located in front of the neck. There are right and left lobes that give the appearance of a butterfly. It is part of a complex glandular network called the endocrine system. The endocrine system is responsible for coordinating many of the body’s activities.
The thyroid produces hormones that regulate your body’s metabolism. The hormone produced by this gland controls the body’s metabolism or the process through which the body consumes energy. Disorders that interfere with thyroid function can speed up or slow down the metabolic process, which can cause various symptoms. Several different diseases can occur if your thyroid produces too much hormone (hyperthyroidism) or too little hormone (hypothyroidism)
What Are The Possible Causes of Thyroid Swelling?
Different circumstances can cause or affect the development of thyroid goitre.
- Iodine deficiency
- Overgrowth of normal thyroid tissue
- Thyroid cysts
- Inflammatory diseases of the thyroid (called thyroiditis)
- A multinodular disease of the thyroid
- Thyroid Cancer
- Graves’ disease.
- Hashimoto’s disease.
- Solitary thyroid nodules.
- Thyroid adenoma
Symptoms of Thyroid Swelling:
Most of the goitre of the thyroid gland causes no symptoms, but it occurs when the goitre continues to grow. The small size goitres can often be detected by routine examination of the patient’s neck by a doctor or by some other type of X-ray examination or scanning for different reasons. Symptoms occur when the goitre becomes large enough to pressure other structures around the neck. Larger thyroid goitres usually cause symptoms of:
- A mass or lump in the neck.
- Uncomfortable pressure on the respiratory tract(trachea)
- Feelings something in and must swallow or difficulty swallowing
- Excessive production of thyroid hormone thyroxine which causes:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Heat intolerance
- Rapid or irregular heart rate
Diagnosis of Thyroid Swelling
A doctor can detect an enlarged thyroid just by feeling your neck and make you swallow during a routine physical examination. Diagnosing a goitre may also involve:
- Physical exam: Your doctor may be able to determine whether your thyroid has grown by examining the neck area for lumps and signs of tenderness.
- A hormone test: Blood tests can determine the number of hormones produced by the thyroid gland and the pituitary. If your thyroid is inactive, your thyroid hormone levels are low. At the same time, the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) increases when your pituitary tries to stimulate your thyroid to produce more thyroid hormone. Goitre associated with an overactive thyroid usually contains high blood thyroid hormone levels and is lower than normal TSH levels.
- An antibody test: Causes of goitre include abnormal antibody production. Blood tests can confirm the presence of these antibodies.
- Ultrasonography: Doctor held a stick-like device over the neck. Sound waves bounce off your neck and back, forming images on a computer screen. The pictures show the size of your thyroid and indicate whether the gland contains goitre that your doctor may not feel.
- CT scan or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the thyroid: If the goitre is very large or spreads in the chest, CT or MRI is used to measure the size and spread of goitre.
- A thyroid scan: During thyroid examination, a radioactive isotope injected into a vein in the elbow. Then you lie with your head on the table, while a special camera makes your thyroid picture on a computer screen. The time needed for the procedure depends on how long the isotope needs to reach your thyroid gland. Thyroid screening provides information about the type and size of your thyroid but is more invasive, time consuming, and expensive than ultrasound scanning.
- A biopsy: During a fine needle aspiration biopsy, the needle is directed using ultrasonic into the thyroid gland to obtain tissue or fluid samples for testing.
Treatment of Thyroid Swelling:
There are several treatments to combat hyperthyroidism. The best approach can be determined by a doctor who might assess the severity of hyperthyroidism and the patient’s medical history. Goitre treatment depends on the size of the swelling, your signs and symptoms, and the root cause. Your doctor can recommend:
- Observation: If your swelling of the thyroid is small and don’t cause problems, and the thyroid gland is functioning correctly, your doctor may suggest a wait and see approach.
- Medications: If you have hypothyroidism (thyroid hormone deficiency), your doctor will prescribe you thyroid hormone in tablet or capsule form. There are several types of thyroid hormone pills that your doctor may prescribe to treat low hormone levels.
Prescribing thyroid hormone can reduce the production of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in the pituitary gland and thereby stimulate thyroid tissue growth. In many cases, patients with hypothyroidism can reduce the size of the thyroid gland. If you suffer from hyperthyroidism (high thyroid hormone and deficient thyroid-stimulating hormone), your doctor may prescribe medications to control your hyperthyroidism.
These drugs must be prescribed by a doctor who knows how these drugs work and based on your condition, what their side effects and complications are.
- Surgery: Removal of all or part of the thyroid gland (complete or partial removal of the thyroid) is an option if you have massive swelling that are uncomfortable or cause breathing difficulties or swallowing, or in some cases if you have nodular swelling that causes hyperthyroidism. Surgery is also a treatment for thyroid cancer. Depending on the amount of thyroid hormone released, you may need to take levothyroxine after surgery.
- Radioactive iodine: In some cases, radioactive iodine is used to treat hyperthyroidism. Radioactive iodine is taken orally and reaches the thyroid gland through your bloodstream, destroying thyroid cells. Treatment reduces goitre size, but can eventually cause the thyroid gland to be inactive.
In most cases, you cannot prevent hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. In India, hypothyroidism caused by iodine deficiency. Thanks to the addition of iodine to salt, nowadays this deficiency is rare in India.
Hyperthyroidism is often caused by Graves’ disease, a particular autoimmune disease. You can trigger an overactive thyroid by taking too much thyroid hormone. If you had a prescription for thyroid hormone, be sure to have the right dose. In rare cases, your thyroid gland may become overactive if you consume too much food containing iodine, such as table salt, fish, and seaweed. Although you may not be able to prevent thyroid disease, you can avoid complications by diagnosing and following the treatment prescribed by your doctor.
If you have questions or concerns about thyroid disorders, consult our Dr Venu Gopal Pareek because this is the best place for the treatment of thyroid. For further information and assistance, contact us at +91 91-777-77715.
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