The thyroid gland is an integral part of our body, but it always feels like there is not much known about just how essential it is for our bodies. Our thyroid is responsible for a great deal, and understanding its various functions can help you better understand what it does for your body.
The thyroid is found at the front of the lower neck and resembles the shape of a butterfly. It consists of two lobes that lie against and around the windpipe. A strip of tissue connects the two lobes at the front called the isthmus.1
What is the thyroid gland?
Let’s start with what the thyroid is responsible for. The thyroid gland produces vital hormones that are needed for metabolism, growth, and development. The thyroid’s primary responsibility is to regulate many body functions by releasing thyroid hormones into the bloodstream.1
These hormones include:
- Triiodothyronine, also known as T3
- Tetraiodothyronine also called thyroxine or T4
While the thyroid is supposed to maintain a consistent level of hormone release according to your body needs, an overactive or underactive thyroid may cause many to experience hyperthyroidism, where the thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone or hypothyroidism, where the thyroid gland may not make enough of the thyroid hormone.1
What does the thyroid gland do for my body?
Thyroid hormones are produced as needed and they are created from iodine extracted from your food intake. To make sure the thyroid produces the exact right amount of hormones as your body needs, it takes orders from the pituitary gland which “tells” it when to release more or less hormones into the bloodstream.
The thyroid gland may look small, it has a lot of responsibilities through its hormone production! Calcitonin is involved in calcium and bone metabolism while T3 and T4 can make all the cells in your body work harder by increasing the basal metabolic rate. The proper release of your thyroid hormones in turn regulates your metabolism, growth, body temperature, energy levels, heart rate, blood sugar levels, and much, much more.4
This is also why after undergoing a partial or total thyroidectomy, patients have a high chance of needing lifelong thyroid hormone replacement therapy as the smaller thyroid gland might no longer be capable of making enough hormone to sustain essential bodily functions. The therapy comes in the form of man-made thyroid hormones in a pill form, this will help ensure the essential life functions that the thyroid gland would normally provide will continue even after the procedure.5
If you experience hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, it can cause an impact on your body since the thyroid has so many functions. If it is underproducing or overproducing thyroid hormones, you will need to work with your healthcare provider to understand why this is happening.6
Some symptoms of hyperthyroidism might include feeling anxious, irritable, or nervous. You may have trouble sleeping, experience muscle weakness or tremors, and feel an increased sensitivity to heat.6
Some symptoms of hypothyroidism may include feeling fatigued, weight gain, experiencing bodily changes such as dry and coarse hair, and an inability to handle cold temperature.6
If you believe you are experiencing symptoms related to your thyroid, it is crucial to address your concerns with a healthcare provider. Blood tests can reveal whether you are experiencing hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, and your healthcare provider will guide you on the best course of action.6
It is vital to protect your thyroid and its functions for your body. Discover a new option to save your thyroid today!