Health & Fitness

Goitre (Thyroid Swelling)


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What is Goitre?

An enlargement of the thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped gland which is present at the front of the throat and below the Adam’s apple, is called goitre.

What are the Types of Goitre?
Goitre is classified as diffuse or nodular.

In diffuse goitre the whole thyroid gland swells and its smooth to touch
In nodular goitre, solid or fluid-filled lumps called thyroid nodules develop in the thyroid gland. Nodular goitre is further classified into two types:
Uninodular with only one nodule
Multinodular with more than one nodule

The nodules may be inactive or toxic

What are the Causes of Goitre?

Goitre is the resultant of many factors such as:

Insufficient iodine in the diet due to inadequate intake of iodine-rich foods or high consumption of certain foods that neutralize iodine, namely cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. Soy also induces goitre.
Drugs such as
lithium and phenylbutazone
Thyroid cancer such as infiltrating papillary thyroid cancer, lymphoma, and anaplastic thyroid cancer.
Thyroid nodules
Hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism due to several causes
Thyroiditis like autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto thyroiditis) and painless (postpartum) thyroiditis. Thyroiditis refers to inflammation of the thyroid gland.

What are the Symptoms and Signs of Goitre?

Symptoms and Signs of goitre include:

Enlargement of the thyroid gland in the throat. It may appear as a smooth diffuse swelling or with an irregular surface due to the presence of nodules. It moves vertically during swallowing
Difficulty in swallowing due to a large goitre that presses the esophagus or food pipe
Difficulty in breathing due to a large goitre that presses the windpipe (trachea)
Hoarseness of voice

How Do You Prevent Goitre?
Following are some tips to prevent goitre:

Add only iodized salt to your food
Eat seafood rich in iodine, such as sea weed, shrimps and shell fish.
Avoid over exposure to radiation, be it at work place or during any kind of radiation treatment.

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