Understanding Thyroid Function and Thyroid Problems
The thyroid is described by the Mayo Clinic as "a small, butterfly-shaped gland situated at the base of the front of your neck, just below your Adam's apple." The thyroid produces hormones - triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) - that influence metabolism, heart rate, and body temperature. When functioning properly, the thyroid helps us use up energy to work our bodies and our brains. It helps us maintain the balance between how many calories, fats, and carbohydrates we consume and how our body uses them. Unfortunately, not everyone has a properly functioning thyroid gland, which can lead to various thyroid conditions. The symptoms of these thyroid conditions depend on whether the gland is overactive or underactive. Let's take a look: Hyperthyroidism - This condition occurs when the thyroid gland is too active and produces too much thyroxine. Those with hyperthyroidism can experience symptoms such as unintentional weight loss, rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), nervousness, anxiety, irritability, tremors, sweating, increased sensitivity to heat, changes in bowel patterns, an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), fatigue, muscle weakness, difficulty sleeping, skin thinning, and brittle hair.