The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ situated at the base of the neck. It produces and releases hormones which keep metabolism in check and regulate various body functions. Among them are:

  • Skin integrity
  • Breathing
  • Heart rate
  • Body weight
  • Body temperature
  • Muscle strength
  • Central and peripheral nervous system
  • Cholesterol level
  • Menstrual cycle

How the Thyroid Gland Works

The thyroid is part of the endocrine system, a system that consists of glands that produce, store, and release hormones in the blood, allowing them to reach body`s cells. This small gland utilizes iodine from food sources to produce Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4).

The hypothalamus is the one that produces TSH, a hormone which signals the pituitary to tell the thyroid to produce less or more of T3 and T4. In other words, it promotes communication between the two to maintain T3 and T4 balance. Hence, when T3 and T4 levels are low in the blood, the pituitary gland produces more THS to stimulate the production of more thyroid hormones. On the other hand, if these levels are high, the pituitary gland releases less TSH to the thyroid, slowing down the production of thyroid hormones.

Hypothyroidism is the most common thyroid condition, which results from too little T3 and T4 in the body.  The most common symptoms of this condition include:

  • Depression
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Sensitivity to cold temperature
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Frequent, heavy periods

Hyperthyroidism is yet another common and dangerous condition, which results from an overactive thyroid. Common symptoms include :

  • Anxiety
  • Hair loss
  • Hand trembling
  • Irritability or moodiness
  • Sweating or sensitivity to high temperatures
  • Missed or light menstrual periods
  • Nervousness, hyperactivity

Medications, oral radioactive iodine, and surgery are the most common treatments for hyperthyroidism.  It is very difficult to target these treatments to the thyroid, increasing the risk of secreting improper amounts of some hormones and reducing thyroid function.

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The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ situated at the base of the neck. It produces and releases hormones which keep metabolism in check and regulate various body functions. Among them are: Skin integrity Breathing Heart rate Body weight Body temperature Muscle strength Central and peripheral nervous system Cholesterol...