It’s hard to believe that one small gland can play such a significant role in your overall health and wellness, but that’s how things work with your thyroid gland, and it all comes down to hormones.
The thyroid gland is only about 2 inches wide and weighs 20-60 grams. For comparison, a tennis ball measures 2.57-2.70 inches in diameter and weighs about 56-60 grams. Your thyroid gland makes and regulates hormones that touch every cell in your body.
At her private practice in Manhattan, Dr. Vandana Kumra provides compassionate and comprehensive care for all aspects of the ear, nose, throat, head, and neck — including the thyroid gland. She also offers cutting-edge therapies and new approaches of the highest quality in tested, established treatments.
In this blog, learn more about your thyroid’s role in your overall health and how Dr. Kumra addresses thyroid conditions at ENT New York.
It’s all about hormones
The thyroid gland makes and releases hormones into your body, specifically thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). The gland sits at the base of your neck, but once its hormones enter your bloodstream, they touch every cell and organ in your body.
Thyroid hormones regulate numerous functions, such as:
- Heart rate
- Body temperature
- Energy expenditure
- Body weight
- Muscle strength and control
- Bone loss
- Menstrual cycles
Your thyroid cells need to absorb iodine to make the hormones that regulate these processes. They’re the only cells in your body that can absorb this mineral, and they’re the only cells that can make T4 and T3. However, the process doesn’t start in the thyroid gland; it begins deep inside the brain.
How the thyroid gland makes hormones
The thyroid gland is essential to your health and wellness, but it’s only one part of a much larger network known as the endocrine system. This complex system contains glands and organs all over your body that work together, using hormones to coordinate and control:
- Energy level
- Growth and development
- Response to injury and stress
Each part of the endocrine system knows what to do and when because of hormones. However, “mission control” is based in your brain — the pituitary gland.
If you thought the thyroid gland was small, the pituitary gland is downright diminutive. It’s around the size of a pea and sits within a small chamber at the base of the brain. From this location, it monitors all of the hormones circulating in your body and lets other glands in the endocrine system know when they should release more to keep the body running properly.
The pituitary gland releases TSH, or thyroid stimulating hormone to trigger the thyroid gland, to produce T4 and T3. As T3 and T4 enter your bloodstream, the T3 actually slows TSH production in your pituitary gland, keeping the entire process in check.
When your endocrine system functions properly, your hormones remain in perfect balance, and all is right with the world — or at least within your body. However, the complex nature of the endocrine system also offers a lot of opportunities for things to go wrong, especially with the thyroid gland.
Common thyroid problems
Several things can go wrong with the thyroid gland. They vary from minor to serious, but they can all cause uncomfortable and potentially dangerous symptoms.
Common thyroid disorders include:
- Goiter (enlarged thyroid)
- Under or overactive thyroid
- Growths or nodules
Dr. Kumra offers expert diagnostic care and state-of-the-art treatments for thyroid issues, ranging from noninvasive to minimally invasive treatments, including removing some or all of the gland.
Because your thyroid gland plays such an important role in your health and wellness, you may need hormone-replacement medications indefinitely to restore and maintain healthy thyroid levels.
Do you have a problem with your thyroid? Contact ENT New York to book a consultation and learn more about your treatment options by calling 914-867-0399 today.