Thyroid Basics
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Basic Information About Thyroid


Thyroid gland

Thyroid gland


What is thyroid?

Thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland situated in front of your neck. It produces thyroid hormones which are essential for various functions of your body.





What is the role of thyroid gland in my body?

Thyroid produces two hormones called thyroxine (T4) and thyronine (T3).


What is the function of these hormones T3 and T4 ?

Thyroid hormones regulate Metabolism – so that your Cells function properly. Thus it has a role to play on each and every cell in your body. In brief thyroid hormones affect many organs and general health.


What are the diseases of the thyroid gland?

  • Goiter: Thyroid gland can enlarge in size, this is known as goiter.


  • Hypothyroidism: It may underproduce thyroid hormones, and this condition is called hypothyroidism.


  • Hyperthyroidism: It may overproduce thyroid hormones and the excessive level of hormones can cause various symptoms, known as hyperthyroidism.
  • Thyroiditis: There may be inflammation of the gland causing pain and symptoms to leakage of the stored thyroid hormones into the blood – called thyroiditis.
  • Tumors of the thyroid gland: These may be simple tumors or rarely cancers.


How common are thyroid diseases?

Hypothyroidism is the second commonest endocrine disease, next only to diabetes mellitus. It has been estimated that about 42 million people in India suffer from thyroid diseases. Among ten women one may be suffering from subclinical hypothyroidism (mild thyroid failure)

How do I get diagnosed if I have a thyroid problem?

You need to get evaluated by your doctor. You may be asked to blood tests for thyroid hormones. Also the structure of the gland may be assessed by a scan. Special tests may be ordered depending upon the underlying problem.

Where can I read more?

You can visit the following sections for more details:

Hypothyroidism - Too less thyroid hormone

Hyperthyroidism - Excessive thyroid hormone

Thyroiditis - Inflammation of the thyroid gland

Thyroid Associated Eye Disease (Graves's Ophthalmopathy)