Clinical Presentation

Disease affecting the thyroid gland can present as enlargement (called goitre) that may be diffuse or nodular or as a consequence of hormonal imbalance; rarely there may be pain. Hypothyroidism is characterised by lethargy, mental slowness or depression, intolerance of cold or weight gain

Grade Thyroid Gland
Figure 17.1. Thyroid gland and parathyroid glands. a. View of thyroid gland from anterior aspect to show relation to larynx and regional lymph nodes. b. View of thyroid gland from posterior aspect to show location of parathyroid glands.

while thyrotoxicosis manifests as intolerance of heat, excessive sweating, weight loss in spite of increased appetite, anxiety, tiredness and occasionally cardiac arrhythmias.

Tumours of the thyroid gland usually present with a solitary nodule with normal thyroid function although some tumours can secrete hormones. Occasionally metastasis to cervical lymph nodes or bone may represent the initial symptom of differentiated thyroid cancer. High-grade cancers can present with hoarseness, dysphagia or difficulty breathing.

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