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Ever wondered what thyroids are and how it works? Worried you have a thyroid problem? Have you been diagnosed with a thyroid condition and looking for answers? In today’s article, we’ll help answer some common thyroid questions.

What is the thyroid?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, and is a type of endocrine gland. The endocrine system is a collection of glands and organs in the body that create hormones to be released across the body.

Why is the thyroid important?

The endocrine system helps to regulate lots of bodily functions, including growth, development and metabolism. Your thyroid plays a key role in this by making two hormones that help cells do their jobs around the body and regulates their speed. The hormones are called thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).

What problems can you have with thyroids?

By speeding up or slowing your cells down (hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism respectively), you can affect the speed at which your body runs. Too much of the hormones, and your body runs faster than usual, leading to problems like increased heart rate and diarrhoea. Too little, and your body runs more slowly, so you may feel sluggish, tired and with a slower heart rate. It’s more common to have hypothyroidism of the two.

How do I know if I have a thyroid problem?

You might experience problems with your heart rate, weight, concentration, stress and depression, and feeling hot or cold. But, a diagnosis – chiefly a blood test – will help determine whether you have the condition.

Who is susceptible to thyroid problems?

Around 1 in 20 people have a thyroid disorder, and they’re usually more common in women. Despite this, anybody can be affected.

What thyroid treatments are available?

For hypothyroidism or under-active thyroid, you’ll need to take medication to raise your levels of thyroxine. In most cases, you’ll need treatment for life, though it’s easy to control and manage.

For hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid, medication can be an option, as can radiotherapy and thyroid surgery (which help it to stop producing hormones). Many people with an overactive thyroid have nodules or lumps on the thyroid too, which can also be removed with surgery.

Get in touch with Jon Hughes

Our specialist ENT in Harley Street can offer advice and treatment for thyroid concerns. To find out how we can help, get in touch with our team today.