Swelling of the thyroid gland is called Goitre. Goitre is of various types – when there is an enlarged thyroid gland then it is called diffused smooth goitre and when one or more lumps are found in the thyroid it is called nodular goitre.
Diffuse smooth goitre may be formed because of Graves disease, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, iodine deficiency, medications like lithium and amiodarone. In some people hereditary factors can lead to thyroid disease as well. It may swell at certain times in life like puberty or pregnancy.
Nodular goitres are of two types – multinodular goitre and single nodule goitre. Single nodule goitre is formed when there is cancer, cyst, adenoma or a non-cancerous tumour.
Goitres may or may not affect the production of thyroid hormones. In some people the thyroid may be hyperactive called hyperthyroidism or it may be underactive called hypothyroidism. Anyone with goitre symptoms should immediately consult a doctor. Doctors may recommend ultrasound test or biopsy to understand the nature of thyroid disease.
When goitres are painless and there is only swelling, then the goitre does not require treatment. Radioactive thyroid treatment is when a radioactive capsule is made to be swallowed by the patient. The radioactive capsule will destroy the extra tissues. Iodine replacement is the treatment provided when there is lack of iodine in the diet. Cancerous thyroid may need surgery.
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