The Thyroid gland sits low in your neck. It has two lobes, a right and left lobe as well as a middle section called the isthmus.


The Thyroid gland produces two thyroid hormones:


T3 ( triiodothyronine).




T4 (levothyroxine).


These thyroid hormones are important for the normal functioning of almost every cell in your body. That's how crucial the thyroid gland is for you!


Production of these thyroid hormones in under the direction of the Pituitary gland, a tiny gland situated in your brain.


The Pituitary gland senses the amount of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) in the blood and determines whether this is the right amount of thyroid hormones for your body.


Subsequently, it responds by producing a hormone, called TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) which gets in the blood stream, and informs the thyroid gland of the message from the pituitary gland.


In simple terms, the thyroid and pituitary glands communicate to each other by emailing each other. The Thyroid gland sends an email to the pituitary gland in the form of T3 and T4. The pituitary glands replies to these emails by sending email in the form of TSH.


Many people do not realize that TSH is not a thyroid hormone: In fact, it is a pituitary hormone. It is your body's meter/gauge/regulator for the amount of thyroid hormones.



There is an inverse  relationship between thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) and TSH: if T4 and T3 are high, TSH goes down; if T3 and T4 are low, TSH goes up.



When patients see their TSH being low, they think that their thyroid hormones are low. In fact, the opposite is true. A low TSH really indicates that you have too much thyroid hormones.




Disorders of the Thyroid Gland



Disorders of the thyroid gland can be due to the abnormality in the function or structure of the thyroid or it can be a combination of the two.


Here is a list of disorders of the thyroid gland:



1. Disorders of the function of Thyroid:


A. Underactive thyroid (Hypothyroidism)


B. Overactive thyroid (Hyperthyroidism)


C. Hashimoto's Thyroiditis


D. Graves' Disease


E. Subacute Thyroiditis


F. Postpartum Thyroiditis


G. Painless Thyroiditis




2. Disorders of the structure of Thyroid:


A. Thyroid Nodule


B. Thyroid Cancer


C. Goiter





This article was written by Sarfraz Zaidi, MD, FACE. Dr. Zaidi specializes in Diabetes, photoEndocrinology and Metabolism.



Dr. Zaidi is a former assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA and Director of the Jamila Diabetes and Endocrine Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, California.



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