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Thyroid Diseases Overview

The thyroid is a gland located in the front of the neck just above the breast bone. Normally it is small and cannot be seen when someone looks at the neck.

The thyroid gland makes a hormone called “thyroid hormone” that travels through the blood stream to all of the body’s cells. There are actually two thyroid hormones in the blood stream:

  • T4 – thyroxine
  • T3 – tri-iodothyronine

Thyroid hormone determines how active the body’s cells are.  The thyroid gland knows how to make thyroid hormone but it doesn’t know how much hormone to make. Instead it relies for this information on a signal from another gland at the base of the brain called the “pituitary gland.”

One of the jobs of the pituitary gland is to constantly test the blood stream to see if there is enough thyroid hormone present. If not, then the pituitary sends out its own hormone called “thyroid stimulating hormone” or “TSH”, which stimulates the thyroid gland to make more thyroid hormone.

This topic will cover conditions that are a result of the thyroid not functioning properly. Please use these links to learn more about:

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    This article is a NetWellness exclusive.

    Last Reviewed: Mar 25, 2013

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    Associate Professor of Medicine

    School of Medicine

    Case Western Reserve University