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If you can see your thyroid slightly enlarged?

If you can see your thyroid move up and down when swallowing, does this mean it is slightly enlarged?

If you can see your thyroid move up and down when swallowing, does this mean it is slightly enlarged?

Your thyroid gland sits in front of your windpipe just underneath an enlargement known as Adam’s apple. It is an organ that is responsible for controlling your body’s metabolism. Normally your thyroid cannot be seen but it can be felt by doctors when they examine your neck.

It may become enlarged in some benign conditions such as Graves Disease, or even in Iodine deficiency. In both these cases, the enlargement is known as a goiter. In some conditions, nodules may form on your thyroid, felt as hard irregular lumps.

The thyroid naturally moves up when you swallow. A normal thyroid can be felt when you swallow. If it is enlarged it can become easier to see when swallowing.

Doctors do not look at one sign, but take all of the signs and symptoms a patient presents with together before confirming a diagnosis. If you believe you may have symptoms of an under or overactive thyroid, or you think you may have an enlarged thyroid, you should speak to a trained endocrinologist.

What are the functions of the thyroid gland? What are the symptoms of thyroid disorder?

The thyroid gland is a small endocrine (hormone-producing) organ in front of your windpipe. It is responsible for controlling your body’s metabolism. This is done through the production of thyroid hormones (T3 and T3). Production of thyroid hormones requires iodine, an essential element most people now receive from the salt they add to their food. Alongside the thyroid gland are four small organs known as the parathyroid hormones. These control your body’s calcium levels.

Disorders of the thyroid gland can result in hypo(low) or hyperthyroid conditions.

Hypothyroid – low metabolism

  • Feeling tired
  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • Sensitive to cold
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Muscle ache

Hyperthyroid – high metabolism

  • Nervousness, anxiety, irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Persistent tiredness and weakness
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • Palpitations in your chest
  • Twitching or tremors
  • Weight loss

How serious are thyroid nodules?

Thyroid nodules are solid lumps or fluid-filled cysts that can be located in your thyroid gland. The majority of nodules are not serious and are unlikely to cause symptoms. Some nodules may produce an excess of thyroid hormones resulting in symptoms of hyperthyroidism (as described above).

In rare cases, the nodule may be due to thyroid cancer. But it is difficult to know this just from your symptoms alone. In these cases, it is best to go see your doctor discuss your symptoms. They will need to perform additional blood tests and also take a needle biopsy from the nodule. This will be looked at under a microscope to see if there are any signs of cancerous cells evident.

Depending on the diagnosis this may need treatment with medication or by surgical excision. Your endocrinologist will discuss this with you.

What would happen if a person with no thyroid stopped taking their thyroid meds?

Your thyroid may have been removed surgically or eradicated by radioiodine treatment, in cases of malignant thyroid disease or severe hypothyroidism. Unfortunately, your body requires thyroid hormone to function and maintain its basal metabolic rate. As a result patients with defunct thyroid glands are given lifelong thyroxine hormone.

If you stop taking this you will end up with symptoms of hypothyroidism. However, in hypothyroid patients there is still a small amount of thyroid hormone present in the body, keeping the metabolic rate functioning albeit at a slow rate. Without any thyroid hormone, the body will slow down and begin functionally shutting down, leading to weakness, stupor, coma, and even death.


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