All About Your Thyroid Gland

Thyroid is a small gland that has the power to make or break you. Read essential information about it here.

Thyroid is a small gland that has the power to make or break you. Fortunately, it functions fine in most people and we go about life enjoying the fruit's of its labor without even realizing that each one of us has something known as a thyroid.

Location of the Thyroid Gland: There are several glands in the body that produce hormones and send them directly into the blood. These glands are called endocrine glands, and the system is called the endocrine system. Thyroid is one of them, and by size is one the larger endocrine glands. It is a butterfly-shaped organ situated in the neck, just below what is commonly called the Adam's apple. Sitting there it manufactures and secretes several important hormones. It is covered with sheaths of muscles and fibres. Excess iodine, on the other hand, can also be harmful and there is much concern if fortified salt can result in such excess.

Activities of the Thyroid Gland:  Chemicals secreted by the thyroid gland control how fast the body uses energy, the way body manufactures proteins, and also regulates the way the body uses numerous other hormones secreted by other hormone-producing glands. Though a number of chemicals are secreted, the prominent ones are thyroxine  and triiodothyronine. Interestingly, the thyroid itself is controlled and regulated by the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland.

A deficiency of thyroid hormones results in what is called hypothyroidism. This can result in goiter, poor muscle tone, excess fatigue, muscle cramps, join pain and even depression. These eventually lead to numerous other symptoms. An excess of thyroid hormones on the other hand is called hyperthyroidism.This can result in weight loss, hair loss, fatigue, hyperactivity, and intolerance to heat. Thus unless the thyroid functions in proper manner, the person can suffer from numerous types of symptoms which can some times even defy easy diagnosis of the real cause. Fortunately, effective treatment is available for most cases of hypo and hyper thyroidism.

Iodine and Thyroid Gland: Trace amounts of Iodine is essential for the normal functioning of thyroid. Normal food is often sufficient to provide the amount needed, but in places where iodine is deficient in nature people often develop iodine deficiency. This in turn creates serious problems in the population there. Children born to mothers in such places are born with severe growth problems. Salt fortified with iodine can help most people in such places and is a very cheap medical solution compared to managing the medical problems created in the absence of iodine. Thus many countries have legally made it mandatory to fortify common salt with iodine.

Eating a healthy and balanced diet is sufficient to take care of most of the iodine and other needs of the thyroid gland.

Shastri's Medical Information Factoidz:

Picture Credit:

Chemical From Thyroid, Thyroid Gland (Public Domain)

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