There are different kinds of goiters. A simple goiter can occur for no known reason, or when the thyroid gland is not able to produce enough thyroid hormone to meet the body’s needs.
A goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland. It is not cancer.
There are different kinds of goiters. A simple goiter can occur for no known reason, or when the thyroid gland is not able to produce enough thyroid hormone to meet the body’s needs. The thyroid gland makes up for this by becoming larger.
There are two types of simple goiter:
• Endemic (colloid) goiter
• Sporadic (nontoxic) goiter
Colloid goiters occur in groups of people who live in areas with iodine-poor soil. These regions are usually away from the sea coast. People in these communities might not get enough iodine in their diet (iodine is needed to produce thyroid hormone). In most cases of sporadic goiter the cause is unknown. Occasionally, certain medications such as lithium or aminoglutethimide can cause a nontoxic goiter. Inherited factors may cause goiters. Risk factors include:
• Age over 40 years
• Family history of goiter
• Female gender
• Not getting enough iodine in the diet
The main symptom is a swollen thyroid gland. The size may range from a single small nodule to a large neck lump. The swollen thyroid can put pressure on the windpipe and esophagus, which can lead to:
• Breathing difficulties (may rarely occur with very large goiters)
• Swallowing difficulties
There may be neck vein swelling and dizziness when the arms are raised above the head.