CNRI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CNRI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Goitre. Gross specimen of a thyroid gland affected by goitre, showing the asymmetrical swelling of the gland. Goitre is often due to a deficiency of the essential mineral iodine. The thyroid uses iodine to make hormones that regulate the metabolism. In goitre, the follicles in which this occurs become bloated with colloid, a fluid also necessary for the production of the hormones. If goitre is due to iodine deficiency alone, increasing dietary iodine can reverse the swelling. If it is due to cancer or an autoimmune disorder, the gland may be removed.
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