Thyroid hormone plays an important role in the growth and normal functioning of the body. So, here we shall start first with what is thyroid gland and what is thyroid hormone?
What is Thyroid Gland?
“A butterfly shaped gland present in the neck of the human body, which secretes certain vital hormones which help in body functioning is known as the Thyroid Gland.”
The gland has got two lobes on the either side of wind pipe, and the connection by the tissue is known as isthmus. “Adam’s Apple” is another term for thyroid glands.
What is Thyroid Hormone?
The thyroid gland secretes the hormones which is known as Thyroid Hormone. The main two types of hormone are –
- T3, i.e., triiodothyronine, and
- T4, i.e., thyroxine
It circulates through the bloodstream to the vital organs of the body to stimulate its normal functioning.
The imbalance of thyroid hormone secretion leads to some serious diseases in the body of the person. Mostly women face the thyroid problem, because of the low or high secretion of the TH in their body. Here, we will next see how the body processes the complete synthesis of thyroid hormone.
Thyroid Hormone Synthesis -How Thyroid Hormone is synthesized?
Iodine is the most essential mineral that the glands require for thyroid hormone synthesis.
- The first step in TH synthesis is the organification of Iodine. The consumed Iodide is first converted into Iodine, which attaches with tyrosine which is in turn linked with the protein Thyroglobulin. This reaction leads to the formation of mono-iodinated tyrosine or di-iodinated tyrosine being incorporated into thyroglobulin, known as Iodothyroglobulin.
- Next is the synthetic reaction, it is a coupling reaction. Here the iodotyrosine molecules couple together. The two di-iodotyrosine reaction produces Thyroxin-T4 and single di-iodotyrosine and mono-tyrosine react and form Tri-iodothyronine-T3.
- T3 is more active than T4, and the reaction of T3 takes place out of the thyroid gland.
4. The thyroid hormone release into the blood where it combines with the TH-binding proteins and become functional. The thyroid hormone binding protein is thyroxin binding globulin (TBG) which is more used in the process.
A normal level of hormone secretion is necessary, for that adequate amount of iodine should be consumed by everyone on a daily basis. Consumption of 150 micrograms of Iodine on a daily basis is essential for all to avoid any thyroid problem. Iodine less than 50 micrograms may lead to the Goiter disease.
The thyroid hormone synthesis was very important to clear your concept, if you want to study the main functions that thyroid hormone perform.
What are the Functions of the Thyroid Hormone?
Thyroid hormone has a vital role in our body. The metabolism of the body flows smoothly if thyroid hormone is in its optimum level. As discussed earlier, thyroid hormone is secreted from the butterfly shaped thyroid glands located in the base of the neck.
Thyroid Hormone Functions
Following are the functions that thyroid hormone performs:
- Breathing – thyroid hormone controls the breathing rate. If it is low in concentration; it can lead trouble breathing.
- Heart rate – it control heart rate to circulate the blood in the body too.
- Central and peripheral Nervous system – thyroid hormone also regulate the proper functioning of the nervous system.
- Body weight – the weight of our body is highly connected with the proper body metabolism. So as the thyroid hormone imbalances it may increase or decrease the weight of a person tremendously.
- Menstruation – the menstrual cycle of a female also works properly due to this vital hormone.
- Muscle strength – the strength of the muscles requires thyroid hormone to be stable.
- Body temperature – thyroid hormone has the main role in controlling and maintaining the temperature of the body.
- Cholesterol levels – It controls the cholesterol level of the body.
- Body Growth and metabolism – thyroid hormone influences the growth of the body and metabolism.
These are the most vital functions that run our body in a normal mode. Even the lagging of anyone of them may lead to serious issues of the body. The working of thyroid gland may tell you how it works and how the thyroid hormone is stored and secreted by the glands.
Thyroid Hormone Synthesis-How does the Thyroid Gland Works
The thyroid gland being a part of the endocrine system, produces, stores and releases thyroid hormones. It releases thyroid hormone which plays the main role in the metabolism of the body, the adequacy of the hormone leads to serious diseases to the person.
Therefore, next the need of the hormone is signalled from the target organs to the hypothalamus. Which in turn sends signals by TRH to the pituitary glands. These glands stimulate the thyroid glands by releasing TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), thus production and release of thyroid hormone takes place.
The excess of T3 and T4 from the target tissue sends negative signal to the pituitary glands, which stimulates the hypothalamus to stop the stimulation for the production of T3 and T4.
The gland uses Iodine to form thyroid hormone. So there should be no deficiency of thyroid in your body. Taking proper amount of Iodine daily can help in avoiding any thyroid problems.
We have discussed thyroid hormone synthesis above. After the production, the thyroid hormone is stored in the lobes of the glands. Then as per usage the hormone is released into the blood capillaries surrounding the glands.
Thus blood helps in circulation of the thyroid hormone to the vital organs of the body. There the hormone enters into the organs to perform its main functions.
Thyroid Hormone Levels
Thyroid hormone levels play an important role in the basic functioning of human body. It has multiple roles during various metabolic process in both males and females. To avoid the consequence and other thyroid problems we must always maintain thyroid hormone at normal levels.
What should be the normal thyroid hormone level in the human body?
Normal thyroid hormone level
In adults, the range should be 0.4 to 4.0 mIU/L(Milli International Units per Liter); levels lower or higher than this is risky.
In children, thyroid hormone range should be:
birth to 4 days- 1-39 mIU/L,
in 2 to 20 weeks- 1.7-9.1 mIU/L,
21 weeks to 20 years- 0.7-64 mIU/L.
Thyroid Hormone in Pregnancy
There are two hormones which are related to pregnancy and can cause an elevation in the level of thyroid hormone in the blood levels of mother. HCG and estrogen are those two pregnancy hormones. If normal level of thyroid hormone is not maintained during pregnancy then you may suffer from thyroid diseases in pregnancy as shown below.
Level during pregnancy:
first trimester- 0.3-4.5 mIU/L,
second trimester- 0.3-4.6 mIU/L,
third trimester- 0.8-5.2 mIU/L
High Thyroid Hormone Level
T3 or T4 level above 4.0 mIU/L shows the excess of thyroid hormone. High hormone level is a sign of under active thyroid gland. This indicates less production of thyroid hormone, which is termed as Hypothyroidism.
This shows many symptoms, which we will discuss shortly.
Low level of Thyroid Hormone
The low-level of secretion indicates the overactive thyroid gland, that means high production of thyroid hormone. Thus, the term is known as Hyperthyroidism.
It can be caused due to high intake of iodine, or goiter.
The normal level of thyroid hormone is essential for our body to function properly. The imbalance of the hormones leads to some or the other malfunctioning of the vital organs. This may cause serious implications in our body.
You would be thinking what are those thyroid disorders? Now we will discuss those diseases caused due to imbalance of thyroid hormone and their treatments.
Thyroid Stimulationg Hormone Levels
The normal thyroid stimulating hormone or TSH level is in the range of 0.4 to 4.0 miu (Milli International Units) per liter. If you have already undergone any kind of thyroid disorder then in this case normal range of thyroid stimulating hormone becomes 0.5 to 3.0 mi units per litre.
If the value of thyroid stimulating hormone bounces beyond the upper limit of normal range then it shows that your thyroid hormone is underactive which is often called hypothyroidism and vice-versa.
Thyroid Hormone diseases
The high or low concentration of thyroid hormone causes disorders in the human body, leading to serious thyroid problems. The disease may lead to the enlargement of the thyroid gland in the neck. Which leads to problem in breathing and swallowing discomfort.
The thyroid diseases are as follows:
Thyroid Hormone and Hypothyroidism
This problem is due to the less amount of thyroid hormone in the body produced by the glands. While it can lead to problems in functionality of thyroid glands, pituitary glands and the hypothalamus. The symptoms to watch are:
- Nausea and fatigue
- Dryness of skin
- Weight gain
- Low concentration
- Feeling weak and cold
- Constipation and poor digestion
- Joint and muscle weakness and pain
- Irregular menstrual cycles or continuous bleeding in women
They may be caused by:
- Thyroid hormone resistance
- Inflammation of thyroid gland
Thyroid Hormone and Hyperthyroidism
It is caused when glands secrete a high amount of thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism is less common than that of hypothyroidism. Also it creates metabolism issues in the body. The symptoms are:
- Fast heart rate
- Low tolerance to heat
- More sweating
- Low concentration
- Weight loss
The causes are:
- Multinodular goiter
- Graves’ disease
- Excess intake of iodine
Goiter and Thyroid Hormones
Goiter shows the enlargement of the gland, though it may be caused due to hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism or some other thyroid issues. Thus, the symptoms are nothing other than the swelling in the neck due to the enlargement of the thyroid glands.
This causes the damage in the functioning of the thyroid glands. Also it is an autoimmune disease-causing chronic inflammation of thyroid glands. This is also known as Chronic Lymphocytic Thyroiditis.
It causes hypothyroidism and is basically genetic disease of thyroid. The symptoms are more similar to hypothyroidism:
- Dry pale skin
- High cholesterol level
- Hoarse voice
- Continuous periods
- Infertility problems
- Sluggish feelings
- Loss of hair or thinning of hair
Thyroid Nodules ( Relation with Thyroid Hormones )
Nodules in the thyroid gland are the lumps or the masses formed abnormally. Nodules are basically due to cysts, benign tumors, or also less often due to thyroid cancer. But, the thyroid nodules can be single or multiple, of different sizes.
Sometimes these nodules may lead to thyroid cancer, so a regular checkup is very important. Thus, the symptoms of thyroid nodules are:
- Goiter, enlarged gland
- Pain in the neck
- Swallowing and breathing difficulties
- Hoarse voice
- Muscle weakness
- Sudden weight gain or weight loss
- Nails breakage
Thyroid Hormone – Relation with Thyroid Cancer
The cancer in the thyroid is more common in women than in women, above the age of 30 to 55. Whereas the lumps or nodules may also convert into the benign tumor or cancer in the thyroid, but thyroid cancer does not show early signs. Though the diagnosis at right time can help in it.
If you have a doubt rush to the doctor, the treatment of thyroid cancer is not that typical thing. It cures easily.
Effects of Thyroid Hormone during Thyroid Cancer
- Lump or nodules in the throat
- Hoarse voice
- Constant cough
- Difficulty in food swallowing and breathing
- Consistent neck pain
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
Let’s go ahead to the treatment regarding thyroid problems and medications.
What is the treatment for Thyroid Diseases?
There are thyroid tablets available in the market to regulate the thyroid hormone level. Though it helps curing hypothyroidism, but helpful in other problems as well.
- Hence, the synthetic form of thyroid hormone is given as pills.
- For hyperthyroidism, doctors prescribe the medicines that alleviate the production and release of thyroid hormone.
- Doctors suggest help and medications to maintain the adverse symptoms of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.
- If the hyperthyroidism doesn’t control with medicines, then radiation therapy can also help in it.
- Next is Ablation as a therapy, which comprises of doses that the doctors give as iodine labelled with radioactivity that kills the abnormal or excess thyroid tissues.
- Still at some points surgery of the thyroid gland is also helpful in case of goiter, thyroid lumps, cancer or thyroid nodules. During surgery, the surgeons remove the enlarged goiter or nodule.
- Though in case of thyroid cancer, surgery becomes a necessity.
Types of Surgery for Thyroid Cancer:
- Lobectomy: this surgery involves the removal of thyroid lobes only, that has cancer infection.
- Subtotal thyroidectomy: In this almost complete thyroid is removed, except for a small thyroid tissue. Therefore, the thyroid function continues.
- Thyroidectomy: In severe case, surgeons remove the complete thyroid gland due to the infection in the whole gland. So, in these cases, synthetic thyroid hormone replaces the original one for rest of the life.
A good medication can cure thyroid disorders, and are not life threatening. The acute problems may be treated by surgery. Most of people with thyroid cancer have a positive prognosis, as it can be treated. But the one spread throughout the body have a poorer prognosis.
The thyroid hormone as discussed is a vital part in the metabolism of the body. It is important to take care of the thyroid hormone and the gland as well. Iodine rich diet in adequate quantity is the best prevention from thyroid problems, rather than running for the cure.
Thyroid Diet for Thyroid Hormone Problems
Some iron rich foods for thyroid problems are:
- Coconut oil
- Sea Weeds
- Fish, and cod liver oil
- Cranberries, strawberries, banana
- Iodized salt
- Green vegetables and fresh fruits
- Boiled Eggs
In this way, including iodine rich food in our diet, we can take care of thyroid disorders. Still some of the thyroid disorders are genetic that naturally occur, whatsoever we do it to prevent them.
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Hope this article will be useful to you. Your comments are always welcome. 🙂
Stay hale and hearty.