Thyroid goiter

Goiter is a disease characterized by an enlarged thyroid gland. Goiter, this is not a specific disease, but a collective term, which can be understood as any thyroid disease characterized by an increase in its volume. The name of the disease comes from goiter in birds, in which the goiter serves as a dilator of the esophagus, to accumulate food. In humans, the thyroid gland is located on the front surface of the larynx, and an enlargement of the thyroid gland leads to a thickening of the neck, which will be observed visually. In women, the normal volume of the thyroid gland does not exceed 20 cubic centimeters, in men – 25. With goiter, these indicators increase.

Types of Goiter

The most common thyroid disorder is endemic goiter. It is especially often observed in people living in areas with insufficient iodine content in soil and water, since iodine is the main and necessary element for the normal functioning of the thyroid gland. With a decrease in the level of hormones in the blood, cells producing hormones begin to multiply actively in the thyroid gland. As a result, goiter in a person begins to grow. 

They also distinguish diffuse goiter, in which the thyroid gland enlarges evenly, and nodular goiter, in which nodes are formed in the thyroid gland – limited compaction. With increased thyroid function, toxic goiter develops, with a decreased – hypothyroid.

Symptoms of goiter

As a rule, a person’s goiter is located on the front surface of the neck, although in rare cases it can be located at the root of the tongue or behind the sternum. Experts are quite wary of the appearance of goiter in an atypical place, since it can squeeze blood vessels and tissues, which can be accompanied by difficulty swallowing food, changing the timbre of the voice, and in patients with bronchial asthma, such an arrangement of the goiter can even provoke asthma attacks. Nodes, especially those located in problem areas, must be removed with surgical intervention, since it is impossible to get rid of them with conservative treatment. In this case, the sooner the surgery occurs, the better, since the node can begin to grow. It should be noted that cases were recorded when malignant degeneration of cells occurred at the site of the removed site, while the site did not cause the patient any concern.

The main symptoms of goiter may also include signs of hypothyroidism: dry skin, swelling of the face, chilliness, memory impairment, weight gain, hair loss, constipation.

Goiter Prevention and Treatment

As a prophylaxis of endemic goiter, people at risk are advised to regularly eat iodized salt and foods high in iodine: bell peppers, persimmons, sea fish and sea kale. But it is not recommended at the same time to get involved in iodine preparations and oversaturate the body with this element, since its excess can cause the development of atherosclerosis or diffuse toxic goiter. With excessive production of thyroid hormones, the patient may complain of significant weight loss, increased irritability, poor sleep, eye pain, lacrimation, and heart palpitations. 

Treatment of diffuse toxic goiter is mainly conservative. Patients with goiter require regular monitoring by an endocrinologist. With a slight violation of the functions of the thyroid gland, you can restore its activity by taking iodine in tablets or solution. The doctor selects the dose of the drug, focusing on the results of the diagnosis. If the patient has signs of hypothyroidism, it is advisable for him to take medications containing thyroid hormones. Such treatment can help reduce goiter, up to its complete disappearance.

If there are no visible improvements from the course of treatment, the doctor may decide on the need for surgery.

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