Questions and answers
Thyroid nodules occur relatively commonly. The diagnosis is a cause for concern only in the rarest cases.
What are hot and cold nodules?
The cells found in a “hot nodule” produce hormones in an uncontrolled fashion, take up large quantities of iodine and can lead to excessive function. Hot nodules are the rarest and benign in nature.
We refer to a “cold nodule” as this area is dead, in a manner of speaking. Cold nodules are inactive. They do not produce any hormones and take up little or no iodine. A cold nodule can, in rare cases, indicate thyroid cancer and should always be investigated. However, only a minimal number of cold nodules are actually malignant. Cysts are also considered to be “cold nodules”, since they have no function.
Can nodules become dangerous?
Must a thyroid nodule be treated?
But, don’t panic: Most thyroid nodules are small and harmless. If your thyroid test values are normal, the nodule is benign and you have no symptoms, no further treatment is necessary. However, it is important that the nodule is regularly followed up.
What does the thyroid do?
Why do nodules form in the thyroid?
Only approximately 5% of the nodules are malignant, i.e. thyroid cancer.
Most thyroid nodules occur through iodine deficiency. If the thyroid receives too little iodine, it grows and enlarges its tissues. As a consequence, the thyroid cells enlarge and tissue nodules are formed.
Genetic changes can also cause thyroid nodules. An error in the genetic make-up manipulates the receptors for thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), the hormone formed in the thyroid, so that the cells produce increasing amounts of thyroid hormone Nodules may form because of the constant stimulation of the cells.
How common are thyroid nodules?
How are thyroid nodules discovered?
If the nodules are enlarged, there could be problems in swallowing, hoarseness, neck pains or an unpleasant sensation of pressure in the neck region. Moreover, large nodules could also present cosmetic problems. Always consult your doctor if you discover a nodule or have symptoms.
How does the doctor make a definite diagnosis?
How can thyroid nodules be prevented?
How do I cover my daily iodine requirements?
According to the WHO, adults have an iodine requirement of approximately 200 micrograms (µg) per day, while children and elderly people require approximately 150 to 200 µg per day.
In order to provide the body with sufficient iodine, you should deliberately make sure that you consume foods that contain iodine:
milk and milk products daily,
sea fish or seafood once or twice a week,
always use iodized salt at home,
preferably buy foods that have been produced with iodized salt.