Goiter (or goiter) is a thyroid condition that is characterized by the swelling of thyroid gland(thyromegaly), apparently causing swelling of the larynx or neck. Goiter is commonly caused by iodine deficiency and it is associated with either a proper or improper functioning thyroid gland.Some patients with goiter can preset with normal levels of thyroid hormone (euthyroidism). Goiter can present with an excessive production of thyroxin (hyperthyroidism), which results in temperature elevation,nervousness,weight loss,and irritability. Goiter presenting with reduced availability of thyroxin hormone (hypothyroidism) reduces the metabolic rate, causes water retention,weight gain, voice deepening, retarded growth and mental function in developing children. Both the latter conditions present with altered bowel function, menstrual flow, growth of hair and skin. The most common sign associated presented by three conditions of goiter (euthyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism) is the enlargement of the thyroid gland. Here is a brief highlight about various types of Goiter and associated symptoms:
Types of Goiter
The three types of goiter include:
Hyperthyroid goiter–Increased availability of TSH results in the enlargement of thyroid gland and thus, produces high levels of thyroxin. This results in hyperthyroidism associated goiter and the disorder most commonly occurs as Graves’ disease.
Euthyroid goiter–This type of goiter doesn’t lead to a significant change inthe thyroid gland function. Dietary iodine is mainly utilized by the only thyroid gland in the system. Inadequate dietary iodine results in reduced amounts of thyroxin secretion, which causes the pituitary to produce more TSH in an effort to compensate for the deficiency.Hence, the thyroid gland continues to enlarge in size to produce enough levels of thyroxin.
Hypothyroid goiter– In this condition, an extremely reduced intake of dietary iodine causes significant thyroid gland enlargement that still cannot produce enough thyroxin. The gland continues to grow in size under the action of TSH, but it can’t produce enough thyroxin, thus resulting in hypothyroidism.
Thyroid goiter involves an enlarged or swollen thyroid gland with significant tissue growths or nodules. Based on the shape and cause of the condition, such types of goiter can be grouped into different varieties. Some of the major forms of goiters include:
- Simple endemic goiter
- Simple sporadic goiter
- Toxic nodular goiter
- Congenital goiter
- Thyroid cancer
Diffuse and Nodular Goiter
All types of goiters generally develop as either a diffuse or nodular type of goiter. The diffuse goiter involves uniform enlargement of the thyroid gland; whereas, the nodular goiter consists of formation of asymmetric lumps in the thyroid gland. These goiters can be either small or large resulting in significant enlargement of the thyroid gland and can cause swelling or protrusion from the neck.
- Simple goiter comprises of a non-cancerous enlargement of the thyroid gland, which can either develop as a diffuse or nodular form of goiter.
- Simple goiters occur in two varieties, endemic and sporadic goiter.
An endemic goiter, also called as colloid goiter, occurs due to an iodine-deficient diet. Reduced intake of Iodine results in reduced thyroid hormone production. Hence, the thyroid gland enlarges in an effort to produce sufficient level of thyroid hormones, thus resulting in goiter.
Sporadic goiter, also called as nontoxic goiter, is associated with the enlargement of thyroid gland. It occurs due to genetics, certain medications, regular intake of anti-thyroid substances and sometimes an apparent is unknown.
- Toxic goiter is caused by an overproduction of thyroid hormone and thyroid gland enlargement, thus resulting in hyperthyroidism.
- Toxic goiter can either occur as diffuse or nodular variety.
- Graves’ disease belongs to the commonly occurring type of diffuse, toxic enlargement of the thyroid gland and it occurs due to the production of antibodies against the thyroid gland.
- Myxedema (hypothyroidism) belongs to a type of goiter that is caused by the reduced formation of thyroid hormone.
- Another type of hypothyroidism includes Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is characterized by the production of autoimmune antibodies against the thyroid gland; thus, reducing the production of thyroid hormone.
- Congenital goiter occurs at the time of birth as either diffuse or nodular enlargement of the thyroid gland.
- Birth defect can cause irregular thyroid hormone production, and various types of thyroid gland enlargements.
- Other causes include placental passage of anti-thyroid substances or maternal antibodies to the unborn baby.
- Although, thyroid cancer is rare; however, it can develop from nodular thyroid goiters.
- The main cause for thyroid cancer is not known and may be usually triggered by different factors such as radiation exposure,heredity, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Symptoms of goiter
Some of the common symptoms presented by all types of goiter include:
- Heat intolerance
- Weight loss despite increased appetite
- Swelling in front of the neck, that occurs as a small nodule or a massive lump
- Tightness in the throat area
- Neck vein distention
- Breathing difficulty
- Rapid heartbeat
- Increased resting pulse rate
- Hand tremors
- Menstrual irregularities
- Dry skin
Filed Under: Goiter Symptoms