One of the best ways we can take charge of our own health is to be informed.Â Thyroid problems are very common and it is important to know the signs and symptoms of what a poor functioning thyroid looks like.Â People live in unecessary discomfort from hypothyroidism everyday.Â I hope that Dr. Rona’s article will reach you and provide you with some in sight of what may be going on with your thyroid or perhaps someone you know.
By Dr. Zoltan P. Rona, M.D., M.Sc.
The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped gland situated in the neck wrapped around the windpipe located just below the Adam’s apple. It controls metabolism and virtually every aspect of health including weight, mood, energy and circulation. Damage to the thyroid can lead to underactivity (hypothyroidism), overactivity (hyperthyroidism), thyroid inflammation (thyroiditis) and thyroid cancer.
The thyroid uses iodine and the amino acid tyrosine to manufacture the thyroid hormones T3 (triiodotyrosine) and T4 (thyroxine). About 80% of the hormones made are T4 while 20% is T3. It is T3 that is the more biologically active form of thyroid hormone. In order to have adequate amounts of T3 there has to be some conversion of T4 into T3. This is something that can occur both inside and outside of the thyroid.
The thyroid is controlled by a rather complex feedback mechanism. When the hypothalamus in the brain senses there is an inadequate amount of thyroid hormones present, it releases a hormone known as TRH (Thyrotropin-releasing hormone) which in turn tells the pituitary gland to release TSH which then stimulates the thyroid gland to synthesize and release more thyroid hormone (T3 and T4) into the circulation. Thus, the level of TSH goes higher in order to help the thyroid manufacture more of the hormones. The reverse occurs when there is an excess of thyroid hormone, a condition referred to as hyperthyroidism.
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