Hormones, Thyroid
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What is Thyroid?


Thyroid Gland and The Messengers

What is the thyroid gland?

Thyroid is a small butterfly shaped sponge that is inside your neck. It manufactures a special component called thyroid hormone. 

The brain sends a messenger to the thyroid gland called TSH or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone. TSH tells the thyroid gland to make 2 more messengers called Thyroid hormones. 

There are two kinds of hormones/ messengers which deliver messages to other parts and organs of the body to function properly for a healthy body. These 2 messengers made by the gland are called- T4 (Thyroxine) and T3 Triiodo thyroxine. 

How important is the thyroid gland and hormones?

The hormones made by the thyroid gland swim through the blood all the way from the thyroid gland to many parts of the body.  

Thyroid hormone makes sure your muscles, brain, heart and bones are healthy, it helps control the temperature of your body, helps manage weight and also makes sure you get your periods every month. 

Isn’t it evident from the above para that the Thyroid hormone is of vital importance to the body?

The three hormones should be manufactured in the right quantity for the organs in your body to stay healthy and function properly. It should not produce too much or too little of the hormone.  


What happens when the thyroid gland does not function normally?

Two things can happen.

  1. Hypothyroidism

The gland produces less quantity of thyroid hormones in your body. Or it is not meeting your body’s need for the hormone. 

How do you know if your body is not making the right quantity of the hormone?

One may experience all or a combination of few symptoms below:

  • Excessive weight gain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dry skin and coarse hair
  • Constipation
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Infertility issues
  • Getting and feeling cold too easily
  • Feeling tired easily and often
  • Forgetfulness
  • Feeling very lethargic
  • Constipation

2. Hyperthyroidism

When the thyroid gland starts making too much of the thyroid hormone.

One may experience all or a combination of few symptoms below:

  • Nervousness
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Bulging of eyes
  • Get hungry too often
  • Frequent Bowel Movements
  • Intolerance to heat
  • Having a hard time sleeping

Some people may not exhibit any of these symptoms and still have a thyroid condition. 

How will I know if my thyroid gland is making more or less of the hormones?

The best way to confirm it is to go to a diagnostic center and get a blood draw for a Thyroid test. The diagnostic lab will measure how much T3, T4 and TSH are in your blood. The report will also contain number ranges which tell you if these three hormones are present in the healthy range or not.  

In adults the blood T3 amount in your blood should be between 0.80 to 2 ng/ml of blood

  • T4 – 5.1 to 14.1 ug/dL of blood
  • TSH – 0.27 to 4.2 Uiu/ml

If you see a T3, T4 or TSH numbers above or below the ranges mentioned, you should consult your doctor as soon as possible. 


How does one end up with a Thyroid disease like Hypothyroidism?

This happens when the thyroid gland does not respond to the messages from the brain. Every time, TSH travels to the gland to pass on a message/ instruction to the thyroid gland it doesn’t respond to it much or often. 

This makes the thyroid gland to produce less of T3 and T4. Less T3 and T4 can make other functions in the body go awry. The TSH made by the brain accumulates / floats in your blood in high amounts.  

The cause of it can be genetic or passed on from your parents. 

Your food and lifestyle choices can also cause it. If you do not consume enough Iodine needed by the body, the thyroid gland will be unable to produce thyroid hormones. 

How does one end up with a Thyroid disease like Hypothyroidism?

When your thyroid gland becomes overly active and makes large quantities of Thyroid hormones. This can also be caused if you consume too much Iodine.  This can also be genetically inherited

A person can have a thyroid disease from or before birth also. It is also seen in women with PCOS , diabetes and  hormonal imbalance problems.


Is there a cure for thyroid disorders? Will one have to live with it forever?

Thyroid diseases are lifelong. Untreated thyroid diseases have to be treated properly to prevent heart diseases, infertility problems, osteoporosis. 

How can one treat it and manage it properly?

  • By getting enough sleep
  • Exercising properly to manage weight. 
  • Diet – Consuming the right foods and avoiding foods that can lead to a thyroid disorder.  (Including Iodine in the diet in case of Hypothyroidism and limiting Iodine rich foods in case of Hyperthyroidism)
  • Check to see if your thyroid gland is producing enough of the hormone – Getting T3, T4 and TSH levels checked at least 2 times a year. 

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