How Does the Thyroid Affect the Body?

Reviewed on 8/16/2021

The thyroid is a gland that produces hormones that are important to the body's metabolism, reproduction, and organ function. It helps the body use energy, maintain body temperature, and keep the heart, brain, muscles, and other organs functioning properly.
The thyroid is a gland that produces hormones that are important to the body's metabolism, reproduction, body temperature regulation, and function of the heart, brain, muscles, and other organs.

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland located below the Adam's apple in the lower part of the neck that wraps around the windpipe (trachea).

It produces hormones that help the body use energy, maintain body temperature, and keep the heart, brain, muscles, and other organs functioning properly.

The thyroid gland releases triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). 

Thyroxine (T4) is a hormone that contains iodine. It is a derivative of the amino acid tyrosine. T4 has a number of effects in the body including on:

  • Metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, electrolytes, and water
  • Metabolic rate (oxygen consumption)
  • Growth and development
  • Resistance to infection
  • Vitamin requirements
  • Reproduction

Triiodothyronine (T3) is a second thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid gland, but also in other tissues through deiodination (enzymatic conversion) of T4. The effects of T3 on the body include: 

  • Playing a role in metabolic rate 
  • Maintaining bone health
  • Maintaining muscle control
  • Preserving brain function and development
  • Maintaining heart and digestive functions

What Are Common Thyroid Disorders?

Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) occurs when a person produces insufficient amounts of thyroid hormone. 

Autoimmune thyroid disease (called Hashimoto’s disease or Hashimoto's thyroiditis) is a form of hypothyroidism. Myxedema coma is a severe form of hypothyroidism.

Common symptoms of hypothyroidism may include:

The opposite of hypothyroidism is hyperthyroidism (also called overactive thyroid), a condition in which the body produces too much thyroid hormone and increases the body’s metabolism. 

Some people with hyperthyroidism may have no symptoms. When symptoms of hyperthyroidism occur, they may include:

SLIDESHOW

Hyperthyroidism Symptoms and Treatment See Slideshow

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Reviewed on 8/16/2021
References
https://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones/glands-and-hormones-a-to-z/hormones/thyroid-hormones

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/hypothyroidism-underactive-thyroid-the-basics?search=Hypothyroidism&source=search_result&selectedTitle=1~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=1

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/hyperthyroidism-overactive-thyroid-beyond-the-basics?search=Hyperthyroidism&topicRef=15437&source=see_link