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Thyroid Disorders

The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland inside the neck, located in front of the trachea and below the larynx. It produces two thyroid hormones - tri-iodothyronine (T3) and thyroxin (T4). These hormones travel though the blood to all tissues of the body just as the other hormones.

Thyroid hormones regulate how the body breaks down food and either uses that energy immediately or stores it for the future. In other words, our thyroid hormones regulate our body's metabolism. Thyroid hormones influence every organ system in the body. They control the metabolic rate of the organs, and regulate the consumption of oxygen and the production of heat.

Too much thyroid hormone from an overactive thyroid gland is referred to as hyperthyroidism. This hormone imbalance occurs in about 1 percent of all women, who get hyperthyroidism more often than men. One of the most common forms of hyperthyroidism is Graves' disease. This autoimmune disorder tends to run in families, although the exact nature of the genetic abnormality is unknown. Because the thyroid gland is producing too much hormone in hyperthyroidism, the body develops an increased metabolic state, which results in everything from weight loss to heart palpitations and anxiety.

Too little thyroid hormone from an underactive thyroid gland is called hypothyroidism. In hypothyroidism, the body's metabolism is slowed. Several causes for this condition exist, most of which affect the thyroid gland directly, impairing its ability to make enough hormone. More rarely, there may be a pituitary gland tumor, which blocks the pituitary from producing TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). As a consequence, the thyroid is not being adequately stimulated and fails to produce sufficient hormones to maintain good health.

Whether the problem is caused by a thyroid condition or pituitary gland dysfunction, the result is that the thyroid is under producing hormones causing many physical and mental processes to become sluggish. As a result the body consumes less oxygen and produces less body heat.

Many people experience hormone abnormalities, a thorough exam by your healthcare provider can evaluate your thyroid for possible imbalance.


Dr. Jill Waggoner
Charlton Medical Group
3450 West Wheatland Road
Physician Offices II, Suite 340
Dallas, Texas  75237

T 972.217.3007

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PO Box 2118

Desoto, Tx 75213


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