Did you know that some of the most crucial hormones in your body are produced and controlled by a tiny, butterfly-shaped gland in your throat? The thyroid is a powerful gland that, despite being relatively small in size, has a significant impact on our endocrine (hormone) system.
Numerous additional hormones interact with the thyroid hormones that the thyroid gland generates (like insulin, cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone). Even while we still have a lot to understand about the endocrine system’s functioning, given how closely all hormones interact with one another, it makes sense that a thyroid that isn’t functioning properly would cause so many symptoms and disorders.
Thyroxine, or T4, is an inactive version of nearly all the hormones the thyroid generates. Triiodothyronine (or T3), the active form of thyroid hormone, is primarily produced by the body’s many organs, including the liver, intestines, brain, and muscles, which also convert T4 to T3.
The “active” T3 can then control various bodily processes, such as metabolism and energy production. The proper levels of T4 and T3 are created when the body’s systems operate optimally. However, if the thyroid or other organ systems are adversely affected, this hormone balance is upset, and we begin to experience several symptoms.
Nutritional imbalances, pollutants, allergies, infections, and stress are some of the things that affect a healthy, functioning thyroid. These factors may interfere with the thyroid’s regular operation, causing the gland to malfunction and perhaps spreading systemic illness.
The body cannot create or convert the proper levels of thyroid hormones when the thyroid is damaged. As a result, we can experience some conditions, including thyroid cancer, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism. In reality, over 12% of Americans will develop a thyroid issue during their lifetime, and an estimated 20 million Americans and 1 in 10 Canadians are expected to have some thyroid illness. Up to 60% of persons with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition because thyroid disorders are linked to many different symptoms. Women are 5-8 times more likely to be impacted than males. According to estimates, thyroid problems will affect an eighth of women at some point in their lives.
There are many medical conditions that, on the surface, may not be linked to thyroid dysfunction, but they do have a connection. These conditions may include the following:
Since the thyroid is connected to practically every biological function, there are many different types of thyroid problems, which makes it more challenging to pinpoint the thyroid as the underlying cause of the disorders. As a result, many patients receive incorrect diagnoses and treatment for other ailments before considering the thyroid.
Numerous signs and symptoms frequently indicate hypothyroidism, which is caused by an underactive thyroid:
Hypothyroidism is the overworking of the thyroid gland, which produces excess hormone production. These excess hormones often cause the following symptoms:
Given how crucially important the thyroid is to overall health, regardless of whether you have evident thyroid dysfunction, it is crucial to understand how the thyroid functions so that you can maintain a healthy endocrine system and body.
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