If you have recently been diagnosed with a thyroid condition, such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, then you may want to learn more about what does the thyroid do and how a poor functioning thyroid can affect your health. The thyroid is a gland that’s located in the front of the neck. The thyroid works to produce hormones that travel through the bloodstream to other parts of the body.
What Does the Thyroid Do: Hormones and Body Processes
What does the thyroid do involves an extensive amount of work in the body. The hormones produced by the thyroid control how the body uses food for energy. These hormones also help to improve the functions of other organs in the body. Thyroid hormones will affect a person’s metabolism and how fast or slow the liver, brain, heart and muscles in the body work. If a person’s body works too slow or fast, this can have a big impact on how well or bad they feel. As an example, if a person has a thyroid that doesn’t produce enough hormones, they may experience poor circulation, weight gain and chronic fatigue. If the thyroid produces too much hormones, they may experience anxiety, weight loss, nervous energy and excessive sweating.
This gland is controlled by the body’s pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain. This gland will monitor the amount of thyroid hormones in the bloodstream and tell the thyroid to make less or more in order to ensure the body is getting just the right amount. The thyroid needs iodine in order to make hormones. Iodine comes from mainly dairy products and seafood, or iodized salt.
What does a thyroid do if it doesn’t produce enough hormones? There are a few things that can go wrong with the thyroid, but usually, these conditions can be well managed with ongoing treatment. If the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones you will be diagnosed with hypothyroidism. To treat this condition your doctor will prescribe synthetic thyroid hormones which will balance out your hormone levels. Most patients with hypothyroidism will need to take this medication for the rest of their life. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include chronic fatigue, weight gain, constipation, slow heart rate and increased sensitivity to cold.
People with an overactive thyroid have a gland that produces too much thyroid hormone. Symptoms of an overactive thyroid include trouble concentrating, nervousness and irritability, trouble sleeping, weight loss, fast heart rate and excessive sweating. Medication will also be prescribed in order to maintain healthy thyroid hormone levels.