Thyroid: What it is, Functions, and Problems

Aulia Hafisa
illustration of thyroid (Shutterstock)
illustration of thyroid (Shutterstock) - The thyroid is an important endocrine gland that makes and releases certain hormones. The thyroid functions to control your metabolism like how your body uses energy. 

What is the thyroid?

The thyroid has a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of your neck under your skin. It's a part of your endocrine system and controls many of your body's important functions by producing and releasing (secreting) certain hormones. The thyroid's main job is to control the speed of how your metabolism, which is the process of how your body transforms the food you consume into energy. All of your body needs the energy to function. 

When the thyroid does not perform properly, it can impact your entire body. 

Where are the parts of the thyroid?

The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck, straddling the windpipe (trachea). It’s shaped like a butterfly — smaller in the middle with two wide wings that extend around the side of your throat. 

A healthy thyroid gland is not usually visible from the outside (there's no appearance of a lump on your neck), and you can't feel it when you press your finger to the front of your neck.

What Conditions and disorders affect the thyroid?

Thyroid illustration (Shutterstock)
Thyroid illustration (Shutterstock)

There are several different types of thyroid disease. Thyroid disease is very common, quoting, an estimated of 20 million people in the United States have some type of thyroid disorder

Thyroid diseases are split into two types: primary and secondary.

In primary thyroid disease, the disease originates in your thyroid gland. In secondary thyroid disease, the disease originates in your pituitary gland.

As an example, if you have a nodule on your thyroid that’s releasing excess amounts of thyroid hormones, it would be called primary hyperthyroidism. 

If a tumor in your pituitary gland is releasing excess amounts of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which then stimulates your thyroid to produce excess thyroid hormones, it would be called secondary hyperthyroidism.

The four main conditions that affect your thyroid are:

  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid).
  • Goiter (enlarged thyroid).
  • Thyroid cancer.

Tag # thyroid # what is thyroid # thyroid functions # thyroid disorder # where are thyroid # thyroid cancer # health # thyroid problems

Latest explore

Top Headlines