There are 14 major glands in the human body, and the thyroid is one of them. Every gland you have does a very important job, sometimes several jobs, and is essential for your existence.
These important body parts perform biological processes and functions without which you simply could not survive. Although it is easily one of the smallest glands, the thyroid is arguably one of the most important for human health.
All of your glands can be broken down into two major types, the exocrine and the endocrine glands. Exocrine glands have ducts that are attached to the surface, or exterior, of your body. They release the important chemicals and enzymes they produce through their ducts.
This is how you sweat and your eyes water, and how you make saliva. “Exo” is a prefix which means exterior. “Endo” is a prefix used in medicine and physiology which usually means interior. Accordingly, your endocrine glands are not attached to the surface of your body. They release the chemicals, enzymes and hormones they produce straight into your bloodstream.
Critical Thyroid Gland
The thyroid is an endocrine gland, and since it releases hormones into your bloodstream, it has a direct effect on every part of your body that your bloodstream reaches.
This is why it is so powerfully influential. Healthy, oxygenated blood is required by your glands, physical processes and body parts. If your thyroid is working too hard or not hard enough, your blood is influenced by this over or under-productive gland.
The ancient Greek root or prefix “hypo” means defective, inadequate or under. As you can see, a hypoactive thyroid, causes the condition termed hypothyroidism, means that this gland is under-performing.
Not Enough Thyroid Hormone
The tiny little thyroid gland, shaped like a butterfly and usually weighing about an ounce or two, has a lot of work to do. It helps control your metabolism and how the human body matures and grows.
All of these things rely on a steady amount of thyroid hormones. Located in the front, lower part of your neck below your voice box, the thyroid produces 3 different hormones:
1. Triiodothyronine or T3
2. Tetraiodothyronine, also called Thyroxine, or T4
The T3 and T4 chemicals are known as “proper thyroid hormones”. Hormones are molecular messengers that help dictate how various tissues in your body perform. The body’s unconscious functioning is totally reliant on hormones to perform the operations that allow you to live.
They travel through the bloodstream to organs and tissues throughout your body. When the T3 and T4 production of your thyroid drops to an unhealthy level, this is hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
The important hormones your thyroid produces are needed for proper growth and brain development. Hypothyroidism can cause unexplained weight gain, a sore throat, high cholesterol and dry skin.
You may feel fatigued for no reason at all, constipated, and have an increased sensitivity to cold temperatures. Weakness in your muscles, thinning hair or irregular menstrual periods, swelling in your joints, depression and a lower than normal heart rate are also signs of hypothyroidism.
As you can see, many important body processes and functions rely on a healthy thyroid. When it does not produce enough of the hormones your body relies on, multiple health problems, both mental and physical, are the result.