Thyroid Gland and Its Disorders
What Is Thyroid Disease?
Thyroid disorder is abnormal functioning of the thyroid gland. Sometimes the body produces too much or too little thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, that is, the way the body uses energy. So it affects nearly every organ in the body.
If the body secretes too much thyroid hormone, it is called Hyperthyroidism. This result in speeding up of many of the body’s functions. On the other hand, if too little thyroid hormone is secreted it is called Hypothyroidism. This results is slowing down of many of the body’s functions.
About the Thyroid Gland
The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland weighing less than 1 ounce. It is located in the front of the neck below the voice box. It has two lobes, one on either side of the windpipe. It is an endocrine gland, that is, it produces, stores and releases hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones then travel through blood and affect the activity of the body’s cells.
The thyroid gland makes two thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). They affect:
- Brain development
- Heart and nervous system functions
- Body temperature
- Muscle strength
- Skin dryness
- Menstrual cycles
- Weight and cholesterol levels
Thyroid hormone production is regulated by thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which is made by the pituitary gland in the brain. When thyroid hormone levels in the blood are low, the pituitary releases more TSH asking the thyroid to produce more of this hormone. When thyroid hormone levels are high, the pituitary responds by decreasing TSH production.