Thyroid Health

The thyroid gland is a small gland that controls your metabolism. It’s located in the front of the neck, twisted around the windpipe (trachea). It’s formed like a smaller butterfly in the middle, with two wide wings extending around the side of your throat. Your thyroid makes hormones that help manage numerous vital functions of your body.

When the thyroid produces an excess of or insufficent amount of these hormones, it triggers the gland to work inefficiently, leading to common thyroid conditions such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Other thyroid-related conditions include goiter, thyroiditis, thyroid nodules, and thyroid cancer.

When your thyroid does not work properly, it can affect your entire body. If your body has too much thyroid hormone, you can establish hyperthyroidism. If your body makes insufficient thyroid hormone, it’s called hypothyroidism. Both conditions are major and must be dealt with by your healthcare provider.

Frequently asked questions

Your thyroid has an essential job within your body- producing and managing thyroid hormones that manage metabolic processes. This energy is used throughout your whole body for proper functioning of your body’s systems.

The thyroid controls your metabolic process with a few specific hormones- T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine). The thyroid produces these two hormones, informing the body’s cells how much energy to use. When your thyroid works correctly, it will keep the correct amount of hormones to keep your metabolic process working at the right rate. As the hormones are used, the thyroid produces replacements.

When the pituitary gland detects insufficient level of thyroid hormones or an excess of hormones in your body, it will adjust the quantities with its hormone. The TSH will be sent out to the thyroid, telling the thyroid what the requirements are to get the body back to normal.

Thyroid disease is a common medical condition that keeps your thyroid from making the correct amount of hormones. Your thyroid normally makes hormones that keep your body operating normally. Your body utilizes energy too quickly when the thyroid makes too much thyroid hormone, called hyperthyroidism. Utilizing energy too quickly will do more than make you tired- it can trigger you to lose weight without trying, make your heart beat faster, and even make you feel nervous. On the flip side, your thyroid can make insufficent thyroid hormone, called hypothyroidism. When you have insufficient thyroid hormone in your body, you may put on weight, it can make you feel exhausted.

Some symptoms of thyroid problems in women are:

– Fatigue.
– Dry skin.
Weight gain.
– Increased sensitivity to cold.
– Constipation.
– Puffy face.
– Hoarseness.
– Muscle weakness.

Thyroid disease can affect anyone – men, women, infants, teenagers, and the elderly. It can be present at birth (generally hypothyroidism) and can develop as you age (often after menopause in women).
Thyroid disease is common, especially in women, who are 5 to 8 times more likely to be identified with a thyroid condition than men. Higher risk of establishing a thyroid disease is associated with:
– Have a family history of thyroid disease.
– Are older than 60, specifically women.
– Past treatment for a thyroid condition or cancer.
– Have a medical condition.
– Take a medication that’s high in iodine.

Certain autoimmune thyroid diseases, such as Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s disease, can be hereditary.

Key Terms

Hormones are chemicals messengers produced in the body impact different processes and systems in the body. The thyroid gland produces the triiodothyronine hormone (T3) and thyroxine hormone (T4). When these hormone levels are too high (hyperthyroidism) or too low (hypothyroidism), the pituitary gland sends more or less thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) to the thyroid to help balance the levels.

TSH or thyroid-stimulating hormone is produced in the pituitary gland and manages the balance of thyroid hormones-- including T4 and T3-- in the bloodstream. This is normally the first test your expert will do for checking thyroid hormone imbalance. Thyroid hormone deficiency (hypothyroidism) is related to a raised TSH level, while thyroid hormone excess (hyperthyroidism) is connected with a low TSH level.

Hypothyroidism is a condition arising from an underactive thyroid and, therefore, unable to produce adequate levels of thyroid hormone. In some cases, hypothyroidism is brought on by treatments used to address other thyroid conditions. If you are hypothyroid, your physician will recommend a thyroid replacement medication.

The Latest in Thyroid Health

Explore Thyroid Disease

Causes & Risk Factors
Reproductive Health
Weight Loss
Related Conditions
Living With

Have a Question?