The thyroid gland is an organ that releases hormones that control most of our bodies functions. Breathing, heart rate, body weight, cholesterol levels and more. This organ job is to maintain a perfect balance of hormone production. Under production or overproduction can be the cause of many symptoms including anxiety, temperature sensitivity to temperatures, hair loss, trembling, difficulty sleeping, tiredness or fatigue. The thyroid is located at the bottom of your neck, just below the larynx. The two lobes are located on either side of the trachea. These are connected to each other by means of a narrow particle that runs over the trachea. Normally you cannot feel or see the thyroid from the outside.
What is the function of the thyroid gland?
The gland produces thyroid hormones. These have an important influence on all kinds of processes in the body. They regulate, among other, the metabolism in almost all body tissues. Moreover, the thyroid hormones ensure a normal growth in children. The thyroid is a small, but very important organ!
Which are thyroid problems there?
Sometimes the thyroid is not functioning properly. This can cause many physical symptoms. The most common thyroid problems are:
- An underactive (hypothyroidism). This slows the metabolism. You notice this by experiencing symptoms such as feeling cold, weight gain, fatigue and constipation.
- An overactive gland (hyperthyroidism). This speeds up the metabolism. This causes symptoms such as sweating, palpitations and weight loss.
- This condition causes an increase and thus it becomes visible in the neck as a large swelling. In this case, the thyroid may have a normal function, but it can also slow down or speed up.
- Thyroid inflammation (thryreoïditis). Symptoms of an acute thyroid gland inflammation are the pain in the neck extending to the ears and jaw, fever and fatigue.
Are there risk factors for developing problems?
As with other disorders, certain factors may play a role in the occurrence of diseases. These include:
- Being a smoker or not;
- Too little or too much iodine in your diet. Iodine is needed for a proper thyroid function, but if you have too much (for example, by the use of nutritional supplements) or too little, your thyroid function may change;
- Use of certain medication;
- Genetic load. In some families, thyroid problems are more common.
In addition, your gender and age are also a risk factor: women are six to eight times more likely to develop thyroid problems. Even people who are over fifty are more prone to thyroid problems.
What to do in case of thyroid problems?
Do you suffer from symptoms that indicate a thyroid problem? Then please consult a doctor. A thyroid problem can be determined by blood tests. If you indeed suffer from a thyroid disorder, it can in many cases be treated with medication. Symptoms are usually treated with thyroid inhibitors or other drugs. There are also supplements available that can support thyroid function.
Do you want to know more? Watch this movie about the thyroid.