What is the Thyroid Gland and How Does It Affect Your Body?

Thyroid gland disorders affect the production of hormones that regulate a number of metabolic processes in your body. The thyroid can be affected by various issues such as autoimmune thyroiditis, post-thyroidectomy, or from an underlying disease such as Grave’s disease. If you experience symptoms such as fatigue, constipation, depression, dry skin and hair, brittle nails, weight gain and more then it might be time for you to see a doctor. In this article we will give you a rundown on what the thyroid gland is and what it does to your body.

What is the Thyroid Gland?

The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. The thyroid gland has two major functions: it produces hormones thryonines and triiodothyronine, and it controls how quickly your body uses energy. The hormones that the thyroid produces are activated by the pituitary gland.

How does it affect your body?

While it is true that the thyroid gland only affects the body’s metabolism, it does so in a lot of ways. The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate your body’s metabolic rate and that regulate how other organs work, such as your heart and intestines. So when your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones or when other problems occur, it can have a major impact on your whole body. It can affect everything from how well you eat to how quickly you heal from injuries.

Symptoms of a Thyroid Disorder

You may have a thyroid disorder if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Brittle nails
  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • High cholesterol levels

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it might be time for you to get checked out. It is important to get your thyroid levels checked from time to time so that you can maintain optimum health. This includes checking your TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone. The TSH will tell you how well your thyroid gland is functioning and if anything needs to be adjusted in order for your body to function properly. If you notice that your TSH is significantly fluctuating, this could be a sign of an underlying condition such as Grave’s disease. Normally, the TSH level should stay fairly constant and change at a regular pace.

Diagnosing a Thyroid Disorder

Unfortunately it can be difficult for some people to diagnose thyroid problems, as they often manifest themselves in other ways. It’s important to remember that any time you experience unusual symptoms or mood swings, it’s always best to speak with your doctor. Even if your thyroid doesn’t appear to be the cause of your problems, he or she will know how to help you.

Treatment for a Thyroid Disorder

The thyroid gland is your body’s main regulator of how quickly it uses energy, makes proteins and controls the way every cell in your body uses oxygen. This is why thyroid disorders can affect so many different processes in the body. If you experience symptoms like fatigue, depression, dry skin, brittle nails or weight gain then you might be suffering from a thyroid disorder.

There are three types of treatment for a thyroid problem: medications, radioactive iodine or surgery. It all depends on the reason for the disorder. 

Medications are often used to help regulate hormone levels in people with hypothyroidism. 

Radioactive iodine is also given to people with hypothyroidism when they have an under-active thyroid gland that can’t produce enough hormone on its own. Radioactive iodine treatment is different than taking medication because it actually destroys the cells in your thyroid that are producing too much hormone.

This type of treatment usually restores adequate production of hormones in most people who have low levels of hormones due to their thyroid gland being unable to produce them at normal levels on its own. Surgery is typically reserved for people with hyperthyroidism when their overactivity is caused by an abnormal growth of tissue in their thyroid gland which makes too much hormone.

A surgeon will remove this tissue by removing your whole thyroid gland or cutting off parts of it until the activity slows down and becomes more manageable without doing too much damage.

Medical treatments for thyroid disorders

Medical treatments for thyroid disorders come in the form of medications. Your doctor will give you a prescription to treat your symptoms. There are a few different types of medication that can be used to treat thyroid disorders including Levothyroxine, Lithium, and Propranolol.

Each treatment option has a different purpose and should be taken accordingly to relieve your symptoms.

Treatments for a low functioning thyroid

There are a number of treatments for a low functioning thyroid, including hormone replacement therapy and medication. However, the best treatment would be to simply monitor your thyroid levels from time to time. That way you can see if there is a change in your levels over time, which may indicate something like pregnancy or Graves’ disease.

Treatments for Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism, also known as an overactive thyroid gland, is when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. The symptoms of hyperthyroidism are similar to hypothyroidism, but they are typically more severe and include weight loss, fast heart rate, anxiety, insomnia and heat intolerance.

The treatment for hyperthyroidism is usually antithyroid medication which blocks the production of thyroxine by the thyroid. This can be in tablet form or in liquid form that patients mix with water. The medication will then build up in your system and work its way into your bloodstream to bind with your thyroid cells. Some people may need to take antithyroid medicine for the rest of their lives because a cure for this type of disorder does not exist yet.

Your doctor might also prescribe beta blockers or beta-blocker drugs to help calm your heart rate down if it’s too fast while you’re taking antithyroid medication. Beta blockers are a type of blood pressure medication that relaxes blood vessels and reduces the workload on the heart.

Hypothyroidism occurs when there is not enough thyroxine or triiodothyronine in the body which causes a decrease in metabolism and affects different systems throughout your body. Early symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, fatigue, dry skin and hair, depression and more.

If you experience these symptoms visit a doctor who will perform a physical examination followed by a blood test to measure your thyroid


When your thyroid gland is functioning properly, it helps regulate your metabolism, body temperature, muscle strength, and heart rate. But when something is wrong, it can affect your weight, mood, and even your thoughts. The good news is that there are treatments for thyroid disorders. If you think you might have one, it’s important to see a doctor right away.

Most people with thyroid disorders start treatment with medications. Your doctor may also recommend that you go on a diet that includes less high-fiber foods and more calories from carbohydrates. If those treatments don’t work, they may suggest surgery.

In rare cases, doctors may prescribe radiation therapy as a last resort.


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