Goitre is a disease of the thyroid gland. It causes an abnormally large swelling in the neck. Regulation of breathing, growth and heart rate are functions that depend on the thyroid gland. Goitre can be caused by tumors or an inflammation. An excessive production of thyroid hormones or hyperthyroidism is another cause of goitre. Hypothyroidism can lead to development of Grave's disease as well. One of the main causes of goitre world-wide is iodine deficiency. But it is usually prevalent in those areas where production of iodine is scarce. Goitre can also be caused due to use of certain medication, such as lithium, which are usually not harmful. The thyroid also swells when there is an under functioning thyroid gland. This condition is called hypothyroidism and it causes goitre. Thyroid cancer could cause a swelling of the thyroid, but it is rare. The major symptom is a swelling in the neck. The size of the swelling differs from person to person. The other symptoms that indicate goitre are dizziness, restriction of breathing, hoarse throat and trouble swallowing. If one notices such symptoms it is important to consult a physician for medical help. Treatment may include medications to reduce the size of the goitre. A surgical procedure can remove the thyroid if it grows too large.
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