WHAT IS THE THYROID?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland usually located in the lower front of the neck below the larynx. The thyroid’s job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted into our blood stream and then carried to all the tissue in the body. Thyroid hormone helps the body utilize the energy, stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscles, and all other organs working as they should. The main hormone made by the thyroid is thyroxin, also called T4 because it contains four iodine molecules in its structure. Small amounts of another and more potent thyroid hormone containing three iodine molecules, triiodothyronine (T3) are also made by the thyroid gland, along with T4. However, most of the T3 in the blood is made from T4 in other tissues of our body. Thyroid hormones control the way all tissues in your body uses energy. They are essential to help each cell in your body’s tissue and organs work right. For example, thyroid hormone controls the body’s temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and the rate at which food is turned into energy (metabolism).