Thyroid, pituitary, parathyroid, adrenal, and pancreas are all endocrine glands. Endocrine glands are the glands that secrete inside the body. The thyroid works with the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain, and the hypothalamus, which is located in the brain. Triiodothyronine is classified as T3. Thyroxine is classified at T4. The numbers 3 and 4 indicate the number of molecules in each hormone. A healthy thyroid is a combination of 20% T3 and 80% T4. The conversion of the T3 and T4 hormones takes place in the thyroid and the hypothalamus.
1. The hypothalamus (located in the brain) monitors the pace of the body’s function, stress, and other factors such as outside temperature. The hypothalamus releases thyrotropin-releasing hormone, classified as TRH.
2. The TRH goes to the pituitary gland (located at the base of the brain) that releases thyroid-stimulating hormone,classified as TSH.
3. The TSH goes to the thyroid (located in the throat) releases triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).
4. The T3 and T4 go into the blood stream carried by a plasma protein known as thyroxine-binding globulin, classified as TBG.
You cannot live without the hormones produced by the thyroid. They regulate the body’s use of energy and control the body’s metabolism, which is how oxygen and calories are converted into energy. Despite its importance, most thyroids weigh only one ounce. Hyper and hypo thyroids are malfunctioning glands.
Hyperthyroidism is when a body under stress produces too much thyroid hormone causing the balancing system (listed above) to become out of balance creating increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and burning more calories more quickly. Graves Disease is a hyperthyroid autoimmune disease. Autoimmune disease is when the body declares war upon itself. Graves is when the thyroid goes into uncontrolled overproduction. Anti-thyroid drugs or radioactive iodine therapy usually treat Graves. However, sometimes an
additional surgical removal of the thyroid is required.
Hypothyroidism is a condition where there is insufficient thyroid hormone in the body because of a malfunctioning or partially removed thyroid. The body moves more slowly with a lower heart rate, blood pressure,and body temperature. Fewer calories are burned more slowly. Hasimoto’s, Thyroiditis, and the treatment for Graves Disease can all create hypothyroidism.
Risk factors for thyroid disease include
Family history – 50% of all first degree relatives of people with thyroid disease have the antibodies marker that may develop in their lives
Women are 5 to 8 times more likely than men to get thyroid disease (1-8 women ages 35 –65; 1-5 women over 65)
X-rays to head and neck
Whiplash trauma to neck from car accident
Pituitary tumors or disease
Other autoimmune diseases
- Chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Addison’s disease
- Type 1 diabetes
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Epstein Barr syndrome
Cite: M. Shomon (2000) LIVING WELL WITH HYPOTHYROIDISM: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You That You Need to Know. Harper Resource, New York.
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