Goiter is a condition caused by swelling of the thyroid gland. The swelling is often visible and can be felt in the neck of the patient. Goiter can occur due to a variety of reasons. It is often associated with disorders that affect the normal functioning of the thyroid. The level of thyroid hormones in patients suffering from goiter can be normal, high or low.
Causative factors of goiter:
• Deficiency of Iodine– The risk of Goiter is high in people living in parts of the world where there is not much iodine. It can also occur in those countries in which people do not have access to iodine supplements.
• Gender – Goiters are more common in females than in males.
• Age – The risk of goiter increases after the age of 60 years.
• Autoimmune disorders – patients suffering from autoimmune disorders face a high risk of developing goiter.
• Medicines – some drugs such as antiretrovirals, lithium, amiodarone and immunosuppressants are known to increase the risk of this condition.
• Radiation –People involved in nuclear tests are regularly exposed to radiation making them highly prone to developing goiter.
• Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism – overactivity as well as under-activity of the thyroid gland can lead to goiter.
• Smoking – some studies have suggested that the risk of goiter is high in people who smoke.
• Goitrogenic foods: Excessive consumption of goitrogenic foods like peanuts, soybeans, spinach and tofu can increase the risk of goiter.
What are the indications of goiter?
The symptoms of goiter depend upon the cause of the enlargement of the thyroid. Goiter does not cause any pain in most patients. However, as the enlargement of the gland increases, it may exert pressure on the pharynx or the esophagus resulting in difficulty in swallowing. The swelling may also exert pressure on the larynx, causing hoarseness of voice; or on the trachea, causing a cough.
How can goiter be diagnosed?
• A hormone test: levels of TSH, T3 and T4 in the blood can help in detecting goiter and also helps in diagnosing its causes, like hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
• Ultrasound of the neck region
• Antibody tests
• A radioactive iodine scan or a thyroid scan
Management of Goiter:
Levothroid is an effective drug used for the management of Goiter. Levothroid can help in reducing the symptoms of goiter by regulating the level of thyroid hormones in the body. Use of Levothroid is also beneficial for treating other thyroid disorders like thyroid nodules, thyrotoxicosis and hypothyroidism.
Dosage of Levothroid:
Patients can use Levothroid in a daily dosage of 12.5 to 125 mcg. This dose is enough for reducing the symptoms of goiter. However, patients are advised to consult a physician for checking any dose adjustments required for them.
If goiter is not treated properly, it can cause severe life threatening complications like cancer of the thyroid. Use of efficient drugs such as Generic Levothroid can help in managing goiter in an effective and safe manner and also helps to prevent its complications.