The thyroid gland is a small gland in the neck that produces endocrine hormones called thyroid hormones. A number of diseases can affect the thyroid include hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid) such as Graves’ Disease, and thyroid cancer. A swollen thyroid gland causes a swelling in the neck called a goiter. A deficiency of iodine in the diet can cause iodine deficiency that may affect the thyroid, although this is uncommon in the developed world. The thyroid gland is also related to the parathyroid glands.
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The thyroid is a small but powerful butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of your neck. It controls many of your body’s most important functions. The thyroid gland makes hormones that affect your breathing, heart rate, digestion, and body temperature. These systems speed up as thyroid hormone levels rise. But problems occur if the thyroid makes too much hormone or not enough.
Source: NIH News in Health (NIH)1
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You can’t see it, you can’t feel it and most people have no idea what it does. In fact, most people don’t know about their thyroid unless they’ve been affected by the often-elusive symptoms of thyroid disease.
The thyroid is a 2-inch-long, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck weighing less than an ounce. It’s one of the glands that make up your endocrine system. These glands produce, store and release hormones that travel through the bloodstream and direct the activity of the body’s cells.
Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism—the way the body uses energy—and affect nearly every organ in the body. They influence brain development, breathing, heart and nervous system functions, body temperature, muscle strength, skin dryness, menstrual cycles, weight and cholesterol levels.
Source: NIH News in Health (NIH)2
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Thyroid Gland: A highly vascularized endocrine gland consisting of two lobes joined by a thin band of tissue with one lobe on each side of the Trachea. It secretes Thyroid Hormones from the follicular cells and Calcitonin from the parafollicular cells thereby regulating Metabolism and Calcium level in blood, respectively.3
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Thyroid Gland Capsule: The fibrous lining that surrounds the left and right lobes of the thyroid gland.4
Anatomical Information about Thyroid Gland
The thyroid is a 2-inch-long, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck below the larynx, or voice box. The thyroid makes two thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). T3 is made from T4 and is the more active hormone, directly affecting the tissues. Thyroid hormones circulate throughout the body in the bloodstream and act on virtually every tissue and cell in the body.
Source: NIDDK (NIH)5
Categories for Thyroid Gland
Category of Thyroid Gland Capsule:
Read about these related anatomy topics:
- Parathyroid gland
- Heart Rate
- Endocrine system
- Muscle strength
Read about these related symptoms:
- Enlarged Thyroid: An enlarged thyroid gland causes a local swelling in the neck region. A goiter is a particular type of thyroid enlargement. An enlarged thyroid may indicate either too little thyroid
... More on Enlarged Thyroid »
- Swelling: Swelling is the body’s response to various types of attacks. Localized swelling may appear in any particular body region, especially if there is an injury or inflammation of that
... More on Swelling »
- Dry skin: Dry skin refers to skin that is not fully moisturized naturally, including simple dry skin, scaly skin, cracked skin, or flaking skin. There are various causes of dry skin ranging
... More on Dry skin »
- Weight symptoms: Weight symptoms refer to gain or loss of body weight. Weight loss has various causes ranging from harmless (e.g. recent changes in activity or eating habits) to serious (e
... More on Weight symptoms »
Disease and Condition Articles
Read about these related conditions and diseases:
- Hypothyroidism: Hyperthyroidism is production of too little hormone by the thyroid gland located in the neck. It is also called under-active thyroid disease. The most common type of hypothyroidism is
... More on Hypothyroidism »
- Under-Active Thyroid Disease: Under-Active Thyroid Disease refers to a disorder of the thyroid gland where it produces too little thyroid hormone (i.e. it is “under-active”). This is more precisely called
... More on Under-Active Thyroid Disease »
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is a form of inflammation of the thyroid gland (thyroiditis) leading to the under-production of thyroid hormone. It is a chronic form of hypothyroidism, also known
... More on Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis »
- Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism is production of too much thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland in the neck. It is also called over-active thyroid disease. The most common type of hyperthyroidism is
... More on Hyperthyroidism »
- Over-Active Thyroid Disease: Over-Active Thyroid Disease refers to a disease of the thyroid gland where it produces too much thyroid hormone. It is more precisely called Hyperthyroidism. One of the more common
... More on Over-Active Thyroid Disease »
Related Symptom Topics
Read more about these related symptoms:More »
Related Disease and Condition Topics
Read about these diseases and medical conditions related to Thyroid Gland:More »
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- Source: NIH News in Health (NIH): newsinhealth.nih.gov/ issue/ sep2015/ feature2
- Source: NIH News in Health (NIH): newsinhealth.nih.gov/ 2009/ February/ feature2.htm
- Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
- Source: NCI Thesaurus
- Source: NIDDK (NIH): niddk.nih.gov/ health-information/ endocrine-diseases/ graves-disease
- Source: NCI Thesaurus
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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.