Imagine trying to get anywhere in your car without one crucial element: the engine. That’s what it would be like for your body to function without the small, butterfly-shaped thyroid gland that sits just below your Adam’s apple. Just like an engine regulates the energy needed for your car to function, your thyroid produces hormones that help your cells function at the appropriate rate.
January is Thyroid Awareness Month link opens in a new window and the perfect time to focus on this tiny powerhouse responsible for the body’s metabolism, growth and maturation. Here’s more on how your thyroid works, what happens when something goes wrong and what to do should you experience symptoms.
Just like engines need gas, your thyroid needs iodine. The iodine needed typically comes from a traditional diet that includes items like iodized table salt, bread, milk and seafood. Your smart thyroid knows just how to get the iodine it needs from your blood and then uses it to produce two important hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Together T4 and T3 increase the body’s metabolic rate and in turn, promote growth and maturation. But sometimes, a malfunction occurs. Common thyroid conditions include:1
If you or someone you love experiences any of the symptoms listed above, make it a priority to discuss your concerns with your doctor. More than half of the 30 million Americans with thyroid disease aren’t diagnosed, but could likely respond very well to treatment. 5
Even if you’re not experiencing symptoms, a periodic thyroid neck check is great way to stay proactive and ensure the likelihood of early detection, should problems arise. Follow these step-by-step instructions from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.
Remember, the thyroid gland controls proper function of nearly every cell, organ and tissue in the body. Taking good care of yours helps ensure you live your most healthy life through 2016 and beyond.