What is the Thyroid Gland and What Does it Do?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple. The thyroid is part of the endocrine system, which is made up of glands that produce and secrete hormones that regulate important functions in your body.
The Thyroid’s Role in the Body
The thyroid produces two key hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). These thyroid hormones regulate the body’s metabolism, which is the process of breaking down food for energy and other uses.
Thyroid Hormones Affect Many Processes
The thyroid hormones affect many different processes and systems in your body, including:
- Respiratory system
- Gut function and digestion
- Brain function and mood
- Muscle strength
- Heart and cardiovascular health
- Brain development in infants
- Metabolism, including energy production
- Reproductive system
There are a number of thyroid diseases and conditions that can cause imbalances in thyroxine and triiodothyronine levels and lead to health issues. Common thyroid diseases include:
Hypothyroidism:an underactive thyroid resulting in an insufficient production of hormones Hyperthyroidism:an overactive thyroid resulting in an excess production of hormones Goiter:an enlargement of the thyroid gland Thyroid cancer:cancer of the thyroid tissue
The thyroid is a small but important part of the endocrine system and is responsible for regulating key body functions. In order for your body to work optimally, it’s important to keep the thyroid healthy by getting regular check-ups and managing any diseases or conditions.