Health Glossary - For Everyone

Thyroid gland
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What is the thyroid gland?

The thyroid gland is an endocrine (or homone-producing) gland that is located at the base of the throat, just below where the Adam's apple is located on the trachea.

The thyroid is shaped like a butterfly, consisting of two main areas on the left and right (called lobes) of the trachea and which are joined in the middle at the trachea.

The thyroid can be easily felt upon examnation by a doctor.

The thyroid is controlled by the hypothalamus, which produces thyrotropic releasing hormone (TRH), that stimulates the anterior pituitary gland to produce the thyrotrophic stimulating hormone (TSH).

The TSH stimulates the thyroid to produce two hormones:

The thyroid gland has special follicles (called para-follicular cells) that control the level of calcium in the blood (the parathyroid hormones also control this).

The thyroid gland secretes calcitonin when it samples the high levels of calcium in the blood passing through it. This has the effect of making the bones retain more of their calcium, decreaing the bone tissue breakdown and decreasing levels of calcium in the blood to normal levels.


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Important thyroid gland facts

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Why the thyroid gland is important

The thyroid is really important to ensure the healthy working of many basic processes in the body, such as:

The thyroid gland can stop working properly, due to various factors and the following conditions can occur:


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Last reviewed: 30 September 2007 || Last updated: 14 March 2010


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More information

To learn more, go to the the following web sites:


NOTE: Mega doses of any type of vitamin, mineral, amino acid or herbal supplement cannot cure illnesses and in fact can be very dangerous and produce toxic side effects and interfere with medicine you are taking. Always ensure you consult your doctor before taking any type of complementary supplements.
Disclaimer: This guide is not intended to be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. For any treatment or diagnosis of illness, please see your doctor.


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