Thyroid nodules are solid lumps or filled with liquid that form within the thyroid gland located at the base of the neck above the sternum.
The vast majority of thyroid nodules are not serious and do not cause symptoms. Thyroid cancer accounts for only a small percentage of thyroid nodules.
Often a patient does not know that he has a thyroid nodule, until the doctor finds it during a routine medical examination. Some thyroid nodules can, however, be large enough so that they can be seen, they also make difficulties to breathing and swallowing.
Most thyroid nodules do not cause signs or symptoms. Sometimes, however, nodules become so large that they can cause swelling at the base of the neck, by displacement of the trachea or esophagus, causing shortness of breath or difficulty swallowing.
In some cases, thyroid nodules produce additional thyroxine, a hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Additional thyroxine can cause symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as unexplained weight loss, heat intolerance, tremor, nervousness, rapid or irregular heartbeat.
Some thyroid nodules can be cancerous, but it is difficult to determine the symptoms. Although the size is not an indicator of malignancy of thyroid cancers look more like fixed – growth cones.
Despite the fact that the majority of thyroid nodules are benign and do not cause problems, it is necessary to consult a doctor to make a correct diagnosis of unusual swelling in the neck, especially if you have difficulties in breathing or swallowing. It is important to evaluate the possibility of developing cancer.
Causes of thyroid nodules
Iodine deficiency. Lack of iodine in diet can sometimes lead to the development of thyroid nodules.
Excessive growth of normal thyroid tissue. Such growth is sometimes called an adenoma of the thyroid gland – are benign, and it is not considered serious if does not cause bothersome symptoms because of the size. Some thyroid adenomas (autonomous or hyperfunctional thyroid nodules) produce thyroid hormones influence outside the pituitary standards, which leads to overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism) .
Thyroid cyst. Fluid-filled cavities (cysts) in thyroid gland often formed as a result of adenoma degeneration of the thyroid gland. Often solids are mixed with the thyroid gland cysts liquid. Cysts are usually benign, but sometimes they can be malignant solid components.
Chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland (thyroiditis). Hashimoto’s disease, thyroid disease may cause inflammation of the thyroid gland, resulting in the expansion of the anchor. It is often accompanied by a decrease in activity of the thyroid gland (hypothyroidism).
Multinodular goiter. Goiter is any enlargement of the thyroid which can be caused by iodine deficiency or thyroid disease. Multinodular goiter contains several different nodules in the goiter, but its cause is less obvious.
Thyroid cancer. A person is at higher risk if he has a family history of thyroid cancer or other diseases of the endocrine system, the age of 30 years or older than 60 years, or have a place in the history of radiation exposure, particularly, head and neck. Bundle if it that big and hard or causes pain or discomfort is more alarming in terms of malignancy.
Complications associated with thyroid nodules include as follows: difficulties in swallowing or breathing. Large nodules or multinodular goiter – an enlarged thyroid gland containing several different knots – can interfere with swallowing or breathing.
Hyperthyroidism. Problems can arise when a node or goiter produces thyroid hormone, resulting in hyperthyroidism. The disease can cause weight loss, muscle weakness, intolerance to heat, emotion, or irritability. Possible complications of hyperthyroidism include irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation); weak bones (osteoporosis); thyrotoxic crisis – a sudden and potentially life-threatening, the intensification of the signs and symptoms that require immediate medical attention.
Problems associated with thyroid cancer. If the thyroid nodule is cancerous surgery is usually required. As a rule, removed most of all thyroid gland or part of it, then it will be necessary to accept hormone replacement therapy for life. Most thyroid cancers are detected at an early stage and have a good prognosis.
Often thyroid nodules detected during a routine examination by a doctor. Sometimes thyroid nodules detected by ultrasound, CT or MRI.
After the thyroid nodule was detected you must consult an endocrinologist – a doctor who specializes in endocrine disorders.
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