Thyroid gland

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1. Overview

The thyroid gland is the largest gland located in the neck. It is located in front of the neck under the skin and muscle layers.

The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly with two wings, being represented by left and right thyroid lobes which cover the trachea. The only function of the thyroid gland is to produce thyroid hormones.

These hormones have an important role in many body tissues, stimulating cellular activity. Thyroid function is to regulate the body’s metabolism.


1. Overview
2. Commonly found thyroid disorders

2. Commonly found thyroid disorders

The thyroid gland is prone to several disorders, some of which are quite common. They can be classified into:
- Disorders related to hormone production (too much or too little);
- Problems caused by excessive enlargement of the thyroid gland that causes neck structures compression (or simply appears as a mass localized in the neck);
- Problems caused by the presence of thyroid nodules that could cause thyroid cancer;
- Problems caused by the existence of cancerous masses in the thyroid gland.


Thyroid goiter is the excessive enlargement of the thyroid gland. Goiter is often surgically removed for cosmetic reasons or because it could compress vital structures in the neck (trachea and esophagus) causing shortness of breath and swallowing. When the goiter will expand to chest, there are other types of problems.

Thyroid cancer

It is a fairly common malignancy, but with excellent possibilities for long-term patient survival after appropriate therapy.

Solitary thyroid nodules

Most people have solitary nodules that are benign, but occasionally they may have characteristics of malignant tumors. In these cases it may be necessary needle biopsy or surgical excision.


Hyperthyroidism refers to the overproduction of thyroid hormones. Current methods used to treat patients with hyperthyroidism involve the use of radioactive iodine, antithyroid drugs or surgery. Each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages and is individually selected according to a number of characteristics of each patient.

Often are recommended all three methods, but other circumstances may dictate a single treatment option. In general, surgery is the most common treatment for hyperthyroidism.


Hypothyroidism involves insufficient production of thyroid hormones. This disease may be present for many years before being diagnosed and treated. Including hypothyroidism often is associated with pregnancy. Initial treatment involves the use of hormone replacement drugs.


Thyroiditis is an inflammation of the thyroid gland that may be accompanied by a range of symptoms such as fever and pain, but also subtle manifestations specific for hypo or hyperthyroidism.



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