The goiter and everything you should know about it

The goiter and everything you should know about it

In January every year, we observe International Thyroid Awareness Month. We engaged Dr. Helen Yifter, our consultant endocrinologist, to talk about GOITER, a common condition affecting the thyroid gland.

What is the thyroid?

The thyroid is a gland located at the base of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. It produces hormones that regulate heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight.

What does the thyroid do?

The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones that help the body use energy, stay warm, and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs working as they should.

What does goiter mean?

The term “goiter” refers to the abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland. It is important to know that the presence of a goiter does not necessarily mean that the thyroid gland is malfunctioning. A goiter can occur in a gland that is producing too much hormone (hyperthyroidism), too little hormone (hypothyroidism), or the correct amount of hormone (euthyroidism).

A goiter indicates there is a condition present that is causing the thyroid to grow abnormally.

What is the common cause of goiter?

One of the most common causes of goiter formation worldwide is iodine deficiency. Wherever iodine deficiency is common, goiter will be common.

How is a goiter diagnosed?

The diagnosis of a goiter is usually made at the time of a physical examination when an enlargement of the thyroid is found. It is crucial to determine the cause of the goiter. As a first step, you will likely have thyroid function tests to determine if your thyroid is underactive or overactive

How is goiter treated?

The treatment will depend upon the cause of the goiter. If the goiter was due to a deficiency of iodine in the diet, you will be given iodine supplementation given in preparations to take by mouth. However, suppose there are problems associated with the size of the thyroid per se, such as the goiter getting so large that it constricts the airway. In that case, your doctor may suggest that the goiter be treated by surgical removal.

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