Nutrients from food after digestion are converted to body essentials such as blood, flesh, bones, etc. after digestion. The thyroid helps our metabolic system to convert the parts of the food’s nutrients into energy. This energy enables us to perform actions for our daily routine. Thus, the thyroid is the most important organ without which we are nothing but useless body mass.
LOCATION AND FUNCTIONS OF THYROID GLAND: The thyroid gland is located near the vocal card on the surface of the trachea. The gland has two lobes in the shape of a butterfly. Iodine from the food, we take, is taken by the thyroid gland and converted into thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland takes iodine from the food, which we take and convert into thyroid hormones. There are two hormones:
i. thyroxine generally called T4 as four molecules of iodine are there
ii. triiodothyronine T3 has 3 molecules of iodine. Both these hormones should be released in a balanced way in proper quantity in order to ensure body growth and basal metabolic rate.
The total system for regulating functions of the thyroid gland: The hypothalamus in the brain plays a major role in regulating functions of the thyroid gland by directing the pituitary gland to release TSH to stimulate the thyroid gland for releasing hormones T4 and T3. There is a negative feedback system to control the release of the hormones at the optimum level. It means, if T4 is in excess release of TSH from the pituitary gland will be reduced, and if T4 is less, the release of TSH will increase. In this way, the pituitary gland instructs the thyroid gland to decrease or increase rate of metabolism.
Since the hypothalamus, through the pituitary gland, also directs the adrenaline gland to release cortisol hormones at the time of stress, the functioning of thyroid glands may be affected and there can be thyroid disorder.
Thyroid disorder: There shall be metabolic problems if hormones T4 and T3 are not released in a balanced manner and inappropriate amount. If fewer thyroid hormones are released, less amount of energy will be created from the food nutrients and more formation of body essentials thus there will be sudden weight gain. Since there will not be enough energy to meet the requirement of the additional body essentials, one will feel cold and exhausted. This disease is termed as ‘Hypo-thyroid’. This is the more common disease found in people especially in women.
If thyroid hormones are released in excess amount, more food nutrients will be converted to energy and less to body essentials, thus sudden weight loss. More energy will be in the body, creating problems in the body like high palpitations, heartbeats, heat intolerance, etc. This disease is termed hyper-thyroid.
SYMPTOMS FOR THYROID DISORDER: When the thyroid gland is not in order, thyroid hormones will not be balanced to the optimum level. So, the energy produced by the metabolic system will not match the requirement. It will not be at an optimum level, i.e. either insufficient or in excess as compared to the requirement for the body. So, one will always feel exhausted or tired when the energy is not matching with the body’s requirements.
The heat generated in the body will be insufficient or in excess quantity. So, one will feel either cold or hot depending upon the case. Similarly, if the metabolic rate is not proper, either there will be sudden weight gain or sudden weight loss depending upon the quantum of thyroid hormones released.
Treatment of thyroid problems: Normal treatment is to get the blood tested for T4 and T3 and provide supplements if less amount of hormones are found in the blood which is the case of hypo-thyroid. In the case of hyper-thyroid, different types of treatment methods are adopted depending upon the severity of the case.
Care and precautions to be taken to get rid of thyroid problems: One should lead a stress-free life as far as possible to have a normal metabolic system. It is always better to follow a disciplined lifestyle and practice exercise and yoga pranayama regularly. Ayurvedic herb ‘Ashwagandha’, if taken properly, keeps the thyroid gland in order.
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About thyroid gland and its problems experienced due to disorder of the same, have been explained in more detail in various ‘Youtube channels’ in the name of ‘BHAGWATI PRASAD GUPTA ’.