Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Thyroid nodules

Thyroid nodules are lumps which commonly arise within an otherwise normal thyroid gland.

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck, just below your Adam's apple - about where you'd put a bow tie. Although it weighs less than an ounce, the thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate every aspect of your metabolism, from your heart rate to how quickly you burn calories.

Sometimes normal thyroid tissue begins to grow, causing one or more nodules to develop within the gland. The great majority of these solid or fluid-filled lumps are noncancerous (benign) and don't cause any symptoms. In fact, you often won't know you have a nodule until your doctor discovers it during a routine medical exam.

Some nodules, however, may become large enough to press on your windpipe (trachea) or your esophagus, making it uncomfortable or difficult to swallow. A few may begin producing excess amounts of thyroid hormone, leading to hyperthyroidism, a condition marked by unintended weight loss, sleep problems and irritability. And about 5 percent of nodules may be cancerous (malignant). Read more...

Heart health

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