Goiter refers to an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland, which is a butterfly-shaped gland found at the base of the neck, explains Mayo Clinic. It is often painless although a large goiter causes coughing and makes it hard for a person to breathe or swallow.
Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of goiter around the world, according to Mayo Clinic. In the United States, iodine deficiency isn't the cause of most goiters because Americans have a sufficient intake of iodine through the consumption of iodized salt. Most Americans with goiter suffer from too much or insufficient production of the thyroid hormones that develop in the gland.
The gland needs enough iodine to produce adequate thyroid hormones, says the American Thyroid Association. When the body lacks iodine and the thyroid hormone level is too low, the brain sends a signal to the thyroid, which stimulates the thyroid to produce thyroid hormones and increase in size. This abnormal growth in size becomes a goiter. Other causes of goiter include Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves’ disease and multinodular goiters.
The American Thyroid Association notes that when a person has a goiter, it does not necessarily mean that his thyroid gland is malfunctioning. It indicates the presence of a condition that causes the thyroid to grow abnormally. Hyperthyroidism means the gland produces too much hormone, while hypothyroidism means the gland produces too little hormone. Euthyroidism is a condition wherein there is a correct amount of hormone.Learn More
Thyroid cancer is cancer that occurs in the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland located just below the Adam's apple at the base of the neck, according to Mayo Clinic. The most common types of thyroid cancer, according to the American Cancer Society, include papillary carcinoma, follicular carcinoma and Hurthle cell carcinoma. Medullary thyroid carcinoma, anaplastic carcinoma, thyroid lymphoma and thyroid sarcoma are rare forms of the disease.Full Answer >
A pinched nerve in the neck is caused by compression on the nerve from other tissues in the neck such as bones, tendons, cartilage or muscles, according to Mayo Clinic. The compression or "pinching" of the nerve interferes with its ability to function.Full Answer >
A non-toxic uninodular goiter is a type of simple goiter that does not involve the production of the thyroid hormone. This condition can be characterized by the development of nodules, which need to be assessed by a doctor. It may also cause the whole thyroid gland to enlarge, as stated by NYU Langone Medical Center.Full Answer >
The thyroid gland is located in the neck. It is wrapped around the front of the windpipe, just below the Adam's apple. It is often described as butterfly-shaped because it is made up of two wing-like lobes and a small connective band called the isthmus.Full Answer >