A goiter is caused by the swelling of the thyroid. While normally harmless, a goiter can lead to your thyroid producing an incorrect amount of hormones. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of goiters worldwide. In the US, the most common cause of a goiteris an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This condition causes your own immune system to slowly destroy your thyroid, resulting in a decrease in hormone production. The pituitary gland senses this decrease and causes the thyroid to grow in order to compensate. A blood test and a physical exam are usually all that is necessary to diagnose a goiter.
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