Enlarged Thyroid Gland
Thyroid gland is located just under the skin on the front of the neck. Its main task is to produce the hormone thyroxine, and this hormone is responsible for our metabolism. A normal gland weighs 20-30 g and each piece measures approximately 2 x 4 x 2.5 cm in width, height and thickness (see drawing). The normal thyroid gland often can not be touched and seen. When thyroid problems involve you, in most cases, you have an enlarged thyroid, that is one of the most common symptoms of thyroid disease, and becomes a result of benign hyperplasia, swelling or congestion of thyroid, inflammation, growth of thyroid tumor or thyroid cancer. In the case of enlarged thyroid, the thyroid is enlarged or swollen in the form of diffuse-uniform swelling, uneven-irregular-single nodule or multinodular enlargement.
- Bilateral or unilateral diffuse, enlarged thyroid.
- Diffuse, enlarged thyroid, with thyroid nodules.
- Bilateral or unilateral thyroid nodule, or multiple nodules.
- The initial diffuse, enlarged thyroid develops thyroid nodule.
- The initial single, thyroid nodule progresses to irregular multiple nodules.
Enlarged thyroid describes a palpable, visible or measurable enlargement of the thyroid gland regardless of the metabolic condition (overactive, underactive or normal thyroid function). The enlarged thyroid can often be recognized with the naked eye or by microscope in histological structure. Typically, the enlarged thyroid shows a diffuse thyroid swelling, or a mass or lump in the neck. Enlarged thyroid is very common thyroid problems, especially affecting women more frequently. The possible causes leading to enlarged thyroid are iodine deficiency or excess, certain substances or drugs, thyroid hormone requirements increase, autoimmune factors, birth defects, thyroid tumor or thyroid cancer. The treatment options include drug therapy with administration of iodine and / or thyroid hormones, thyroid surgery and radioiodine therapy.
- Shape: The diffuse enlarged thyroid characterized by uniform enlargement can be distinguished from thyroid nodules. There are two forms of nodules: solitary thyroid nodule and multiple irregular thyroid nodules.
- Function: The enlarged thyroid can be divided into the euthyroid (having a normally functioning, enlarged thyroid, normal metabolic values), the hypothyroid (enlarged thyroid with hypofunction), the hyperthyroid (enlarged thyroid with hyperactivity).
- Occurrence: For non-inflammatory non-neoplastic, enlarged thyroid, not accompanied by hypothyroid or hyperthyroid. Then, this type of enlarged thyroid is called an endemic goiter (iodine deficiency is the main cause), if within the same area more than 10% of the population are affected, otherwise known as sporadic goiter.
- Formation and composition, the enlarged thyroid can be neoplastic enlargement, which contains a tumor - a benign thyroid adenoma or a malignant thyroid cancer; Or an inflammatory enlargement - thyroiditis; Or a non-inflammatory, non-neoplastic enlargement - goiter.
Physiological goiter: That causes a small enlarged thyroid gland with normal metabolism and no other signs of disease; It is particularly common in teenagers and pregnant.
Simple goiter: any enlarged thyroid and non-inflammatory, non-tumor; Without symptoms only simple enlargement of thyroid; If thyroid is huge, it can compress the trachea and esophagus to lead to difficulty breathing and swallowing.
High thyroid (overactive thyroid): a common syndrome characterized by excessive production of thyroid hormones and enlarged thyroid, caused by various causes; Usually causes symptoms of multiple systems, typically e.g. bulging eyes.
Thyroiditis: That is caused by viruses (subacute thyroiditis) or due to autoimmune response. Infection causes chills, fever, fatigue and loss of appetite, neck pain in area of thyroid, slightly enlarged thyroid; This type of thyroiditis can be self-healing.
Chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis (Hashimoto's disease): Autoimmune disease of thyroid; Common in middle-aged women; Fatigue, moderate diffuse swelling, thyroid pain or no pain; May develop into hypothyroidism, edema; Drug treatment.
Thyroid tumor: like thyroid cancer, thyroid adenoma, parathyroid tumor; Neoplastic growth of the thyroid leads to an enlarged thyroid gland; Tumor or cancer involves trachea and esophagus, compresses nerve to lead to Horner's syndrome; Metastasis to lungs, bone, and leading to swollen lymph in neck.