Thyroid Gland Location
The thyroid gland is located in the anterior neck between C5 and T1 vertebrae. It consists of two lobes and parathyroid glands are present on their posterior surfaces. It is a butterfly-shaped gland located low on the front of the neck. Your thyroid lies below your Adam’s apple, along the front of the windpipe. The thyroid has two side lobes, connected by a bridge (isthmus) in the middle. When the thyroid is its normal size, you can’t feel it.
The primary function of the thyroid gland is to secrete two hormones, namely, Triiodothyronine (T3) hormone and the Thyroxine hormone (T4). Both T3 and T4 hormones play a very important role and affect almost every tissue in the body. Without a functioning thyroid, the body would not be able to break down proteins and it would not be able to process carbohydrates and vitamins. For this reason, problems with this gland can lead to uncontrollable weight gain. For many people, these irregularities can be controlled through medications, as well as a modification of their diet.
Common symptoms of the thyroid are:
- Poor concentration and knowledge retention
- Change in the menstrual cycle
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle aches
- Weight gain
- High level of cholesterol
Thyroid disorders include hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroid inflammation, thyroid enlargement, thyroid nodules, and thyroid cancer.
- Hyperthyroidism is characterized by excessive secretion of thyroid hormones: the most common cause is the autoimmune disorder Graves’ disease.
- Hypothyroidism is characterized by deficient secretion of thyroid hormones: the most common cause is iodine deficiency. In iodine-deficient regions, hypothyroidism secondary to iodine deficiency is the leading cause of preventable intellectual disability in children.
The presence of the thyroid and its various diseases have been noted and treated for centuries, although the gland itself has only been described and named since the Renaissance. Knowledge of the thyroid, its biochemistry, and its disorders developed throughout the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Many modern treatments and investigative modalities evolved throughout the mid-twentieth century, including refinement of surgical techniques for thyroid removal for the treatment of goiter; the use of radioactive iodine, and thiouracil for the treatment of Graves’ disease; and fine-needle aspiration for diagnosis of thyroid nodules.