What is the thyroid?
Your thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland found at the base of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple. This gland makes thyroid hormone that travels in your blood to all parts of your body. The thyroid hormone controls your body’s metabolism in many ways, including how fast you burn calories and how fast your heart beats.
The thyroid regulates your metabolism.
The two main thyroid hormones are T3 and T4.
Thyroid disorders are common, and they include goiters, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism.
The thyroid’s main role in the endocrine system is to regulate your metabolism, which is your body’s ability to break down food and convert it to energy. Food essentially fuels our bodies, and our bodies each “burn” that fuel at different rates. This is why you often hear about some people having “fast” metabolism and others having “slow” metabolism.
The thyroid keeps your metabolism under control through the action of thyroid hormone, which it makes by extracting iodine from the blood and incorporating it into thyroid hormones. Thyroid cells are unique in that they are highly specialized to absorb and use iodine. Every other cell depends on the thyroid to manage its metabolism.
The pituitary gland and hypothalamus both control the thyroid. When thyroid hormone levels drop too low, the hypothalamus secretes TSH Releasing Hormone (TRH), which alerts the pituitary to produce thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). The thyroid responds to this chain of events by producing more hormones.
Your thyroid is a small gland at the base of your neck that makes thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone controls many activities in your body, including how fast you burn calories and how fast your heart beats. Diseases of the thyroid cause it to make either too much or too little of the hormone. Depending on how much or how little hormone your thyroid makes, you may often feel restless or tired, or you may lose or gain weight. Women are more likely than men to have thyroid diseases, especially right after pregnancy and after menopause.