Gaining greater knowledge and appreciation of the thyroid requires that you first know the basics. Thyroid knowledge begins with learning how it interacts with the body, the ways it orchestrates proper hormone balance and metabolism and the other systems associated with its function.
The small gland known as the thyroid is one of the most influential elements in the body. Even though this butterfly-shaped gland is only about the size of a walnut, weighing between 20-60 grams, it wields incredible power. The thyroid’s influence is far reaching and impacts the metabolism of virtually every cell in the body. It is so highly integrated that even minor malfunctions can cause widespread dysfunction throughout the entire body.
Thyroid Function and Influence
The thyroid produces various hormones that have control over multiple bodily processes, primarily affecting metabolic function. Thyroid hormones influence every cell in the body by regulating the individual metabolic function of each cell. Every cell, gland and organ in the body relies on thyroid hormones to function normally.
Some have likened the thyroid to be the gas pedal that controls the body’s overall speed and functionality. While working correctly, the body maintains a healthy cruising speed that facilitates wellness. When the thyroid is not active enough, however the throttle is decreased. This causes everything to slow down and the body begins feeling sluggish, tired and mentally fogged. Alternatively, if the thyroid is overproducing the throttle is pressed to the floor causing every system in the body to begin accelerating and moving at an erratic and potentially dangerous rate, resulting in jitteriness, irregular heart function, anxiety, insomnia and attention disorders.
Perhaps the worst scenario is when the thyroid is functioning inconsistently, which can cause jarring shifts back and forth between sluggishness and hyperactivity. Suffering from such a condition can cause you to alternate between all the symptoms associated with both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Learn more about the thyroid gland and the conditions that can plague it, along with testing and treatment options, in our FREE Thyroid 101 e-book.