What is Thyroid Gland, Functions, Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism

What is Thyroid?

The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck just below the Adams apple. Thyroid is one of the most important gland of your body, releases hormones that control metabolism, growth and maturation of the human body. Therefore, any malfunctioning of thyroid may create a big problem for your health.

How Thyroid Works?

The thyroid is part of the endocrine system, which is made up of glands that produce, store, and release hormones into the bloodstream so the hormones can reach the body’s cells. The thyroid gland make use of iodine from the foods you eat to make two hormones called Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4).

It is important these two hormones T3 and T4 levels are neither too high nor too low. Two glands in the brain—the hypothalamus and the pituitary communicate to maintain T3 and T4 balance nad releases thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Other works of Thyroid hormones are

Control the rate at which calories are burned. This affects weight loss or weight gain.
Can slow down or speed up the heartbeat.
Can raise or lower body temperature
Affect how fast food moves through the digestive tract.
Control the way muscles contract.


If the thyroid does not produce enough hormones, it is called underactive thyroid, low thyroid or hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism can cause many symptoms, important of them are:

• Feel tired, weak, or depressed.
• Dry skin and brittle nails.
• Feeling excessively cold
• Be constipated.
• Have memory problems or have trouble thinking clearly.
• Have heavy or irregular menstrual periods.


If the gland produces too many hormones, it is called hyperthyroidism. It is also called graves disease. People with this condition may develop swelling around the base of the throat, called a goiter. Hyperthyroidism can make a lot of things in your body speed up. You may

• Lose weight quickly.
• Have a fast heartbeat.
• increase in the frequency of bowel movements
• Sweat a lot.
• Feel nervousness, moody and irritability.

If your thyroid problem is not severe, you may not find any symptoms. While your doctor is doing a test for another reason, (or when you go for Your first pregnancy checkup) he or she may recognize that you have a mild thyroid problem. Most commonly, women come to know about their abnormal thyroid levels, very much at a later stage when they start noticing symptoms like excessive hair loss, irregular periods, abnormal weight gain or weight loss etc.

How are Thyroid Problems Treated?

Thyroid can be treated and completely controlled in most cases. If you have too little thyroid hormone (your TSH will go up), you can take thyroid replacement medicine. Once you start the treatment, you will have regular visits with your doctor to make sure you have the right dose of medicine. If you have too much thyroid hormone (your TSH will go down), you may take antithyroid medicine to lower your hormone level or radioactive iodine to destroy the thyroid gland. During and after treatment, do regular blood tests to check your thyroid hormones to see if the treatment is working. In very rare cases, surgery may be done.

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