Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that controls many of your organs’ important functions. However, it rarely gets the attention it deserves, and many people don’t know what it does or how it works. This small gland affects many bodily processes, so it’s vital to know how it can affect your health.
What Does the Thyroid Do?
The thyroid is an essential part of the endocrine system that works to store, create, and send hormones into your bloodstream. The thyroid regulates the rate at which many processes in your body occur. For example, the hormones your thyroid releases can speed up or slow down the rate at which your food digests and your heart beats. An unhealthy thyroid can result in abnormal levels of these hormones, which can lead to symptoms such as weight gain, depression, anxiety, hot flashes, and trouble sleeping.
How Does the Thyroid Work?
To make this a little easier to understand, let’s build an analogy. Let’s say your body is a grocery store, your hypothalamus is a stocker at the store, your pituitary gland is a manager at the store, your thyroid is a farmer, and your hormones are different types of produce.
In your brain, your hypothalamus determines whether you have adequate levels of specific hormones in your system.