Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thyroid Thursday- The Thyroid

I have talked a lot about thyroid disease
in my last few thyroid posts. I decided today
to get back in the saddle with a post that
is just about the thyroid and what it does
and why it is so important to the entire
functioning of our bodies.

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland that
sits on the front of the lower part of our
neck. It is usually flat and you should
not be able feel it on your neck.

The thyroid regulates almost every cell in our bodies!!
How crazy is that? It is responsible for metabolism, 
temperature regulation, weight regulation,heart rate regulation
and energy consumption. So if it controls all of that, you
can see why it is so important for it to work well!

Now we get to the confusing part. There are several hormones
involved in the function of the thyroid and another gland
that helps. First, the hormones involved are TSH, T3 and T4.
The other gland is the Pituitary which is in our brain. 
The Pituitary secretes the TSH(Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)
to stimulate the Thyroid to secrete T3 and T4. T3 and T4 are
different but T4 can convert into T3. And T3 and T4 are
the hormones that assist with metabolism. Clear as mud?

There are several ways this system can be interrupted. First,
the Pituitary may not supply enough TSH and the causes 
Hypothyroidism. Or it may supply too much and that is 
Hyperthyroidism. The Thyroid gland itself may not secrete
enough T3 and/or T4 and that can cause Hypothyroidism and
on the reverse it can secrete too much and cause Hyperthyroidism.

Ready for more confusion? If the Thyroid is not producing 
enough T3 and T4 the Pituitary will secrete more TSH. SO
if you have a TSH test done and it is High that means your
thyroid function is LOW. And vice versa if your Thyroid is 
secreting too much T3 and T4 then the Pituitary will secrete 
less TSH and if your TSH test is low that means your thyroid 
function is High. 

Hopefully this helps if you have had a Thyroid test done
and wondered about the hormones and what it all means. 
Please ask any questions if you need clarification.

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