One of the most important parts of our bodies is also one of the smallest ones. The thyroid, butterfly-shaped gland on the front of the neck below the Adam’s apple, releases hormones that have a huge impact on metabolism and weight control, among other processes.
Thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), together referred to as thyroid hormones, play an important role in the functioning of almost all tissues and systems in the body.
About 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, according to American Thyroid Association estimates. More than 12 percent of people in the U.S. will develop a thyroid condition, and around 60 percent don’t know they have a problem.
A common cause is an autoimmune disease – when the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy cells – but a lot of other factors can contribute.
Problem with weight – usually gaining extra pounds and having trouble losing them – is among the most common signs of a thyroid not working right. The connection between the two is very complex and it involves other hormones and organs.