The thyroid gland is a small gland placed at the base of the front of the neck, underneath the Adam’s apple. Its function is to produce hormones that regulate heart and digestive functions, body’s metabolic system, brain development, muscle control and bone maintenance.
The thyroid gland’s healthy functioning depends on a good supply of iodine. This gland is extremely important for the health and controls the rate at which the body uses carbohydrates and fats, and helps the production of proteins.
The thyroid gland produces triiodothyronine and thyroxine– hormones affecting all aspects of the metabolism.
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Sometimes the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones and the chemical balance in the body can be affected and upset. This condition is known as hypothyroidism. The causes of this disorder can be different; autoimmune disease, certain medications, congenital diseases or iodine deficiency.
The symptoms of thyroid gland dysfunction at first usually are hard to notice, but when your metabolism begins to slow down, the signs and symptoms become more obvious and include:
- Poor concentration
- Weight gain
- Impaired memory
- Sensitivity to cold
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Muscle weakness
- Dry skin
- Increased cholesterol levels
- Swollen face
Hyperthyroidism is a disorder when the thyroid gland produces excessive amounts of triiodothyronine and thyroxine hormones, which can speed up your metabolism. The overactive thyroid gland can lead to rapid heartbeat, nervousness, hand tremor, anxiety, sleep problems and many others.
The diagnosis of hyperthyroidism is based on symptoms, blood test, and physical exam, and sometimes even an ultrasound scan can provide insight whether the gland is inflamed or overactive.
Other symptoms include:
- Increased or decreased appetite
- Heat intolerance
- Shortness of breath
- Mental disturbances
- Fertility problems
- Heart palpitations
Please note that none of the symptoms is a categorically certain indicator for thyroid gland disorder. Many of them can be caused by normal state or different health conditions.
If you have your doubts, it is best to see a healthcare professional in order to evaluate the state of your thyroid gland function.