What is Thyroid?
Thyroid is a small butterfly in shape gland located at the front of our neck. It sits right below the Adam’s apple alongside the windpipe(trachea). Thyroid is made up of two halves commonly known as ‘lobes’. These lobes are attached with a band of thyroid tissue called ‘isthmus’.
What does the Thyroid do?
The main role of thyroid is to regulate the metabolism in our body. It supports the break down of food in order to convert it into energy, which is further used by our body to perform daily activities.
You might have sometimes heard your doctor say that metabolism in different people varies and can either be slow or fast. This is because, food fuels the body and with each body, the amount of food fuels at different rates, therefore deciding whether the body is slow in metabolism or fast.
Fact: Thyroid is firstly located at the back of the tongue. During the development of the foetus till the time of birth, thyroid migrates from the back of the tongue to the front of the neck. There could also be instances when the thyroid remains at the back of the tongue even after birth and that is when it is termed ‘lingual thyroid’.
How Thyroid affects your Metabolism?
The thyroid gland keeps metabolism of our system under control with the help of thyroid hormones. These hormones released from the thyroid, extract iodine from the blood, only to incorporate them into thyroid hormones. This is why thyroid cells are recognised to be unique in specialising to absorb and use iodine. All the cells in the body are reliable on thyroid to perform metabolism.
Hypothalamus along with the pituitary gland help in controlling thyroid. When hormone levels of thyroid drop too low, the hypothalamus takes up the responsibility to secrete TSH Releasing Hormones. This results in alerting the pituitary gland to produce thyroid stimulating hormones.
Thyroid has 2 main hormones termed, T3 and T4, namely, triiodothyronine and thyroxine. Thyroid in general produces 80% of T4 and 20% of T3.
Again, thyroid not just helps with metabolism but also produces calcitonin that helps in controlling the blood calcium levels. Many of our body cells have thyroid hormone receptors which make it easier to influence metabolism.
Taking an example of fat metabolism, thyroid hormones help to burn body fat. This results in proving the body with more energy. Further, this effect on the metabolism of fat results in bumping up the BMR – Basal Metabolic Rate. This indicates that you will burn off fat even while you are not physically active.
Carbohydrate Metabolism is also one thing that the thyroid hormones promote. This means that thyroid hormones also stimulate the production of glucose.
Fact: The brain of the human system drains energy from glucose. So, without thyroid hormones, your brain would fail to function.
How to know if thyroid is not functioning properly?
Well, there are some molecules called the ‘thyroid peroxidase antibodies’, also known as, TPOab, that help in analysing whether the thyroid gland is functioning normally or not. The level of presence of this molecule indicates the possibility of autoimmune disorder, meaning, thyroid dis-functioning.
Is there any way to get healthy thyroid hormone levels?
The only thing you need to take care of is that you add the right amount of iodine in your diet. This is only if the thyroid hormone levels in your body aren’t within the normal range.
Some common Thyroid Disorders include:
- Solitary Thyroid Nodules
- Thyroid Cancer
To stay safe and protected from suffering any of the above mention thyroid disorders, you need to make sure to get the following tests done:
- TSH Test
- T3 and T4 level testing using the ECCIA method
- Thyroid Antibodies Test
- TRH Test (thyroid releasing hormone)
- Thyroid Ultrasound
- Thyroid Scan (radioactive iodine uptake test)
Conclusion: The thyroid gland plays a vital role in metabolism. Hormones released by the thyroid gland regulate the daily functioning of the body. But, any imbalance in the level of the thyroid hormones can cause downfalls in health and wellness.
You can get in touch with our health experts at Lifeline Laboratory for any queries relating to thyroid, its symptoms, affects, and its role in metabolism of the body. Our experts will be able to provide you the right knowledge with their best insights. You can also find out more about Thyroid, it’s diagnosis and treatment along with its possible complications.