Exactly What Does the Thyroid Do?
Exactly what does the thyroid do?
Are you aware most people know next to nothing about this vital gland?
Yet some form of thyroid disease affects over 20 million Americans!
Don’t be overly concerned if you couldn’t answer our questions, many
medical professionals consider the thyroid gland a mystery too which is unfortunate. So let’s take a few minutes to get educated!
What Does the Thyroid Do?
Primarily, the thyroid’s responsibility is to distribute the correct
amount of metabolism controlling hormones throughout the bloodstream.
Don’t dismiss what might seem an insignificant function because thyroid
hormones have some bearing on important body systems, including your kidneys, liver, heart, brain and skin.
Thyroid hormones regulate our metabolism by managing how the body
breaks down food and determining whether the food is used for energy
straight away or stored for future use.
There are various disorders associated with the thyroid, but the real
issue is a mal-functioning thyroid, which produces too much or too
Often the root cause is related to the thyroid itself. Or there could be a problem with the pituitary gland in the brain.
Sometimes, a structural abnormality occurs, such as an enlarged
thyroid, or a lump may develop. Most nodules or lumps will test benign,
although they can be carcinogenic so if you can feel a lump have it checked out immediately.
The Thyroid and Pituitary Working Together
The pituitary gland, located at the bottom of your brain, acts as the
control center for the thyroid. It communicates amounts of thyroid
hormone that should be distributed to control your metabolism.
The pituitary puts out thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) to signal
the amount of hormone the body requires. When the body is low on
thyroid hormones, the TSH level rises; if the body has adequate amounts
of the hormone, the TSH level declines.
When thyroid dysfunction is not treated, existing heart problems can exacerbate or new problems can develop.
Failure to produce enough thyroid hormone could result in Hypothyroidism, which in turn can weaken the heart muscle in its
relaxation and contraction phase. Therefore, the heart doesn’t pump as
energetically as it should.
High blood pressure, shortness of breath, slow heart rate and
swelling are symptoms brought on by Hypothyroidism.
Too much thyroid hormone can result in Hyperthyroidism, which in turn
forces the heart muscle to increase its intensity of contraction.
Symptoms can be palpitations, increased chest pain, shortness of breath and increased heart rate.
It is common for thyroid imbalance to manifest as behavioral and/or
emotional changes. People with Hypothyroidism frequently have depression
and “brain fog” or inability to concentrate. Anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts are a common
symptom of people with Hyperthyroidism. Unfortunately many people are misdiagnosed with mental conditions which are really symptoms of a underlying thyroid condition.
Your Skin And Hair
Our skin and hair are particularly susceptible to thyroid disorders.
The person with Hypothyroidism commonly experiences coarse, dry, brittle
hair that breaks off and falls out. Skin may get dry, scaly, thicker
and coarse. You may have dry cracked heels as well.
With Hyperthyroidism the skin may get thinner and fragile. Severe hair loss could occur with either condition.
Iodine, which is found in many foods and table salt (in America) is
taken up by the thyroid gland. Then tyrosine, an amino acid and iodine
are converted into hormones. The hormones are delivered to the
bloodstream and transported though the body where they control
Metabolism converts calories and oxygen to energy. So, it’s easy to
see that every cell throughout the body depends upon thyroid hormones to
regulate your metabolism.
Unexpected weight gain or loss can be a symptom of a malfunctioning
thyroid gland. With Hypothyroidism or underactive metabolism you tend to
gain weight. Conversely, with Hyperthyroidism or overactive metabolism,
you would tend to lose weight.
So – What Does the Thyroid Do?
Actually the question should be what doesn’t it do? These hormones are responsible for so much of what happens on our body everyday…..all day. It’s truly a shame there are so many undiagnosed patients in the world suffering needlessly. The thyroid is often referred to as the master of metabolism, making thyroid health of utmost importance even though it appears it is grossly under treated.