When Should I Call My Doctor
Some symptoms can point to a serious health condition, such as diabetes. Call your provider if you have:
- The urge to urinate a lot.
- Extreme thirst, even after youve had plenty of water.
- Nausea or stomach pain that doesnt go away.
- Sudden weight loss or unexplained weight gain.
- Severe exhaustion or weakness.
- Problems with sweating too much.
- Sudden episodes of rapid heart hearts or elevated blood pressure
- Developmental or growth delays.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Goitre
It is common to have small nodules within the thyroid gland, which cannot be felt, but may be picked up by chance when scans or examinations are conducted for other reasons. In these cases, there have usually been no symptoms to indicate the presence of goitre. Larger goitres simply present as a lump in the neck. Occasionally, a large goitre will press on nearby structures, for instance making it difficult to swallow or to breathe.
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The thyroid gland belongs to the endocrine system. The endocrine system also includes the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, parathyroid glands, adrenal…
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What is the function of hormones? What does endocrine mean? Learn about the characteristics and importance of hormones, and the role of hormones in the endocrine system.
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How Does The Thyroid Gland Work
The thyroid gland is a vital hormone gland: It plays a major role in the metabolism, growth and development of the human body. It helps to regulate many body functions by constantly releasing a steady amount of thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. If the body needs more energy in certain situations for instance, if it is growing or cold, or during pregnancy the thyroid gland produces more hormones.
This organ is found at the front of the neck, under the voice box. It is butterfly-shaped: The two side lobes lie against and around the windpipe , and are connected at the front by a narrow strip of tissue.
The thyroid weighs between 20 and 60 grams on average. It is surrounded by two fibrous capsules. The outer capsule is connected to the voice box muscles and many important vessels and nerves. There is loose connective tissue between the inner and the outer capsule, so the thyroid can move and change its position when we swallow.
The thyroid tissue itself consists of a lot of small individual lobules that are enclosed in thin layers of connective tissue. These lobules contain a great number of small vesicles called follicles which store thyroid hormones in the form of little droplets.
Thyroid gland cells
The thyroid gland produces three hormones:
- Triiodothyronine, also known as T3
- Tetraiodothyronine, also called thyroxine or T4
Cortisol Stress And Health
In the process described above, the HPA axis ultimately produces cortisol. Studies on people show that the HPA axis is activated in different ways during chronic stressdepending on the type of stressor, the persons response to the stressor, and other factors. Stressors that are uncontrollable, threaten physical integrity, or involve trauma tend to have a high, flat profile of cortisol release resulting in a high overall level of daily cortisol release. On the other hand, controllable stressors tend to produce higher-than-normal morning cortisol. Stress hormone release tends to decline gradually after a stressor occurs. In post-traumatic stress disorder there appears to be lower-than-normal cortisol release, and it is thought that a blunted hormonal response to stress may predispose a person to develop PTSD.
There is growing evidence that prenatal stress can affect HPA regulation in humans. Children who were stressed prenatally may show altered cortisol rhythms. For example, several studies have found an association between maternal depression during pregnancy and childhood cortisol levels. Prenatal stress has also been implicated in a tendency toward depression and short attention span in childhood. However, there is no clear indication that HPA disregulation caused by prenatal stress can alter adult behavior.
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What Hormones Does The Thyroid Produce
- The thyroxine and tri-iodothyronine hormones regulate your body’s metabolic functions such as heat generation, and the utilization of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. In children, thyroid hormones are responsible for growth and development.
- Regulatory hormones from different parts of the brain control the thyroid’s production of T4 and T3. In the pituitary gland, thyrotropin-stimulating hormone is released when more thyroid hormone is needed and travels via the bloodstream to the thyroid gland. TSH then stimulates the thyroid to produce T4 and T3.
- The pituitary gland acts like a thermostat. When there is too much thyroid hormone in the bloodstream, the pituitary releases less TSH to signal the thyroid to produce less thyroid hormone. When there is too little thyroid hormone in the bloodstream, the pituitary releases more TSH to signal the thyroid to increase thyroid hormone production. Through this “feedback” system, the production of thyroid hormone is tightly controlled.
Location and picture of the thyroid gland. Note two lobes of the thyroid, similar to butterfly wings.
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Treatment For Thyroid Gland Disorders
Problems with thyroid hormone levels can be diagnosed with a simple blood test. The presence of antibodies in the blood will confirm Graves or Hashimotos disease. Underactivity is treated by taking thyroxine tablets – a form of hormone replacement. Overactivity is treated with drugs that slow the activity of the thyroid gland. If these do not work, part or all of the thyroid can be removed surgically, or some or all of the active thyroid cells can be killed with radioactive iodine.Nodules and cancers are diagnosed with a variety of different tests, including ultrasound, special x-rays and fine needle biopsies. Hot nodules will generally be removed surgically or destroyed with radioactive iodine. Cold nodules are frequently left alone and simply kept under observation. Cancer is treated by surgically removing the thyroid gland, followed by treatment with radioactive iodine to destroy any cells which may have spread.Taking iodine supplements can be dangerous for patients with Graves disease or hot nodules.
Blood Lymph And Nerve Supply
The thyroid is supplied with arterial blood from the superior thyroid artery, a branch of the external carotid artery, and the inferior thyroid artery, a branch of the thyrocervical trunk, and sometimes by an anatomical variant the thyroid ima artery, which has a variable origin. The superior thyroid artery splits into anterior and posterior branches supplying the thyroid, and the inferior thyroid artery splits into superior and inferior branches. The superior and inferior thyroid arteries join together behind the outer part of the thyroid lobes. The venous blood is drained via superior and middle thyroid veins, which drain to the internal jugular vein, and via the inferior thyroid veins. The inferior thyroid veins originate in a network of veins and drain into the left and right brachiocephalic veins. Both arteries and veins form a plexus between the two layers of the capsule of the thyroid gland.
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Thyroid Follicles And Thyroid Function
The thyroid is highly vascular, meaning that it has a wealth of blood vessels. It is composed of follicles that absorb iodine, which is needed to produce thyroid hormones. These follicles store iodine and other substances necessary for thyroid hormone production. Surrounding the follicles are folliclar cells. These cells produce and secrete thyroid hormones into circulation via blood vessels. The thyroid also contains cells known as parafollicular cells. These cells are responsible for the production and secretion of the hormone calcitonin.
What Is Endocrine Cancer
Cancer is the result of abnormal cell growth.
When the cells of an endocrine gland begin to change and grow out of control, tumors both benign and malignant can form.
Because endocrine tumors come from cells that make hormones, the tumors themselves can begin to make hormones. This upsets the delicate hormonal balance that keeps the body working properly.
Both benign and malignant tumors can be functioning or non-functioning.
- Functioning tumors are tumors that begin making hormones on their own.
- Non-functioning tumors are those that do not produce hormones.
Neuroendocrine tumors are endocrine tumors that also affect the nervous system.
The neuroendocrine system includes cells that have properties of both endocrine cells and nerve cells.
These cells exist in organs like the lungs and in the gastrointestinal tract. They perform many functions specific to the organ or structure in which they exist.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hyperthyroidism
In more than 75% of cases symptoms of hyperthyroidism include: nervousness, irritability, the inability to relax, feeling warm, heat intolerance, increased sweating, palpitations, fatigue, increased frequency of bowel movements, increased appetite and weight loss.
In around 2030% of cases difficulties in sleeping and irregular periods can occur.
Graves disease can be linked to symptoms in parts of the body other than the thyroid. These include:
- thyroid eye disease redness and inflammation of the eyes. Sometimes the eyeballs are pushed forward resulting in eye bulging. It is essential that smokers who develop this complication give up smoking immediately
- pretibialmyxoedema a skin condition that usually affects the shins also seen in some people with hypothyroidism.
In about 25% of cases of Graves’ disease, there are signs of thyroid eye disease and more rarely pretibial myxoedema. Typically there is also an enlargement of the thyroid gland, which is known as a goitre.
Location Of Thyroid Gland
Thyroid gland lies in the anterior part of our neck, immediately below the larynx and overlying the trachea . A normal thyroid gland weighs between 25 and 40 gm. This butterfly shaped gland is highly vascular so it receives one of the highest rates of blood flow per gram of tissue. Thyroid gland moves with the larynx in swallowing and speaking – this feature helps a healthcare professional to differentiate swellings in the glands from those in the adjacent structures.
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Iodine For Hormone Production
The thyroid gland produces two primary hormones – thyroxine and tri-iodothyronine . The numbers 3 and 4 refer to the number of atoms of iodine in the hormones. Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones and humans need about 150 mcg each day. Iodine is found in most foods, especially seafood. The soils in Tasmania and along the Great Dividing Range are low in iodine, so the food from these areas can contain insufficient iodine. Iodised salt is the best way to supplement dietary iodine, but taking too much iodine can also be a problem.Of the two hormones produced, T3 is more active than T4, but is produced in much smaller quantities. T4 has a lesser effect, but most is converted to T3 by enzymes that remove one iodine atom. The greater the amount of T3 and T4 circulating in the blood, the faster the metabolism. Lower amounts of T3 and T4 result in a reduced metabolism.
The Endocrine System And Hormones
The endocrine system is a group of glands and cells in the body that make hormones and release them into the blood. Hormones are natural substances that act like chemical messengers between different parts of the body. They control many functions including growth, reproduction, sexual function, sleep, hunger, mood and metabolism . Certain cells in the body have proteins called receptors that react to a hormone. How the cell responds depends on which hormone it is reacting to.
There are many organs and glands that make up the endocrine system.
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Keeping The Body Working Right
Thyroid hormones help keep all the cells in the body working right. It does this by controlling the metabolism. This is the rate at which every part of the body functions. The right amount of thyroid hormones keep the metabolism at a healthy pace. This helps the brain, heart, muscles, and other organs work well. A balanced metabolism also helps ensure a healthy temperature, heart rate, energy level, and growth rate.
Anatomy Of The Endocrine System
The endocrine system is a complex network of glands and organs. It uses hormones to control and coordinate your body’s metabolism, energy level, reproduction, growth and development, and response to injury, stress, and mood. The following are integral parts of the endocrine system:
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What Are The Longer
The long-term implications of hyperthyroidism depend on the treatment option used. Patients taking carbimazole tablets will likely need to take them daily for life. Blood tests should be carried out regularly to monitor thyroid hormone levels and to adjust the dose of carbimazole accordingly. The majority of patients are able to find a medication regime that works for them and go on to live full, active lives.
If untreated, besides feeling poorly and unwell, the patient is also at risk of heart dysfunction or failure due to the increased heart rate and raised metabolic state. This irregular heart rate can result in strokes and dizziness. An overactive thyroid can also affect the patients bones and cause osteoporosis, which results in weak bones that are more likely to fracture.
Which Hormones Does My Thyroid Gland Produce
The thyroid gland produces thyroxine , which is a relatively inactive prohormone. The highly active hormone is triiodothyronine . Collectively, thyroxine and triiodothyronine are referred to as the thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland produces just 20% of the high active T3, but it produces 80% of the prohormone T4. Once secreted by the thyroid, specific enzymes in other tissues like the liver or kidneys may transform T4 in to the active hormone T3.
In addition, there are other hormone-producing cells within the thyroid gland called C-cells. These cells produce calcitonin. Calcitonin plays a role in regulating calcium and phosphate levels in the blood, which is important for your bone health and maintenance.
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Where Are Endocrine Glands Located In The Human Body
Hypothalamus – The hypothalamus links our endocrine and nervous systems together. The hypothalamus drives the endocrine system.
Pituitary gland – The pituitary gland receives signals from the hypothalamus. This gland has two lobes, the posterior and anterior lobes. The posterior lobe secretes hormones that are made by the hypothalamus. The anterior lobe produces its own hormones, several of which act on other endocrine glands.
Thyroid gland – The thyroid gland is critical to the healthy development and maturation of vertebrates and regulates metabolism.
Adrenal glands – The adrenal gland is made up of two glands: the cortex and medulla. These glands produce hormones in response to stress and regulate blood pressure, glucose metabolism, and the body’s salt and water balance.
Pancreas – The pancreas is responsible for producing glucagon and insulin. Both hormones help regulate the concentration of glucose in the blood.
Gonads – The male reproductive gonads, or testes, and female reproductive gonads, or ovaries, produce steroids that affect growth and development and also regulate reproductive cycles and behaviors. The major categories of gonadal steroids are androgens, estrogens, and progestins, all of which are found in both males and females but at different levels.
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