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What is a thyroid?

Forum: Thyroid Disorders


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July 24th, 2006, 03:32 PM
dkmommy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Missouri
Posts: 13,443
It is a small bowtie or butterfly-shaped gland, located in your neck, wrapped around the windpipe. It is located below the Adam's Apple area. The thyroid produces hormones, two of which are key: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). The thyroid has cells that are the only ones capable of absorbing iodine. It takes in the iodine, obtained through food, iodized salt, or supplements, and combines that iodine with the amino acid tyrosine. The thyroid then converts the iodine/tyrosine combination into the hormones T3 and T4. The "3" and the "4" refer to the number of iodine molecules in each thyroid hormone molecule.

What causes thyroid problems? Too much or too little iodine, exposure to radiation such as Chernobyl, or most commonly a genetic predisposition.

Endocrine glands - Glands that secrete hormonal and metabolic substances inside the body.

Armour - Produced from ground pigs pancreas, I am not making this up. The problem with this treatment is that because the source is not controlled there are often variations in T3 and T4 from one batch to the next.

Autoimmune - When the immune system reacts against your own tissues or organs

Cushing's Syndrome - Cushing's syndrome is a hormonal disorder caused by prolonged exposure to high levels of the hormone cortisol. Also known a "hypercortisolism," it is relatively rare and most commonly affects adults aged 20 to 50.

Euthyroid - The thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test values are in the normal range, and the thyroid is neither hyperthyroid nor hypothyroid and considered “normal.”

Goiter - An enlargement of the thyroid. A goiter can be either diffuse or it can be nodular.

Graves Disease - Named after Dr. Robert Graves, it is an autoimmune (see above) disease that causes hyperthyroidism.

Hashimoto's disease - or Thyroiditis, an autoimmune (see above) inflammation of the thyroid gland, named for Dr. Hashimoto. Can result in a goiter (see above), and often causes hypothyroidism (see below).

Hyperthyroid - Excess production of thyroid hormone, due to abnormal thyroid gland function, nodules, or excessive thyroid hormone replacement. Over Active thyroid

Hypothalamus - A part of the brain that conducts thyroid hormone conversion.

Hypothyroid - Insufficient production of thyroid hormone, due to abnormal thyroid gland function, absence of all or part of the thyroid gland, or insufficient thyroid hormone replacement. Low Thyroid or Under Active.

Parathyroid glands - Calcium-controlling glands (four) located next to the thyroid at the base of the neck.

Pituitary gland - A small gland located behind the eyes at the base of the brain that releases hormones. These hormones, including thyroid stimulating hormone, control other endocrine glands.

Radioactive iodine (RAI) - A radioactive form of iodine that is used as a way to treat a thyroid problem. The only part of the body that absorbs iodine, is the Thyroid. The amount of radiation is very low. You may have heard it called other things, radioiodine, Iodine-131.

Thyroiditis - An inflammation of the thyroid gland.

Thyroidectomy - The surgical removal of all or part of the thyroid gland. You may have heard it called a Lobectomy or thyroid removal surgery. I know a wonderful surgeon in Orlando who leaves only a very small scar. I have seen some very long scars on my patients. This surgeon leaves a tiny scar.
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