The Thyroid gland

The thyroid is a gland in the neck that lies right in front of the windpipe (trachea) and just beneath your Adam's apple.

Under the influence of the pituitary gland (part of the brain), the thyroid gland secretes hormones (called T3 and T4) that regulate the body's metabolism. The thyroid hormones can affect many systems including:

  • Heart and lungs
  • Digestive system
  • Energy levels
  • Mood
  • Heat/Cold tolerance
  • Reproductive system

For example, a person suffering from hyperthyroidism (gland is overactive) could have some of the following symptoms:

  • Shaking
  • Sweating a lot/feeling hot all the time
  • Diarrhea/ Increased bowel movements
  • Palpitations (racing heart)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Nervousness/ Anxiety
  • Menstrual irregularities

On the other hand, a person suffering from hypothyroidism (gland is underactive) could have some of the following symptoms:

  • Feeling cold all the time/ Decreased perspiration
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue/ Loss of energy
  • Emotional changes
  • Forgetfulness
  • Menstrual disturbance/ Impaired fertility
  • Hair loss
  • Dry skin

It is important to note that most patients with thyroid lumps/masses have normal thyroid hormone levels and therefore have none of the symptoms mentioned above.