The thyroid gland is a large gland located in the front of the neck. Most of us know it for being the gland that controls the metabolism which simply means the amount of energy that the body produces. Since energy is produced by breaking down food, we know that a person with a high thyroid activity will be thinner and a person with low thyroid activity will have more fat. However, the thyroid gland and the hormones it secretes has a wide range of effects beyond just weight gain or loss. Any disturbance in thyroid activity can even be life threatening.
What are thyroid problems?
Thyroid problems is a broad term for any number of disorders of the thyroid gland or its hormones. It does not specifically indicate the type of problem with thyroid function yet many people commonly use the word ‘thyroid problems’ for various thyroid diseases. Simply, thyroid problems can mean that the thyroid activity is low or high. This may also mean that the thyroid gland is underactive or overative.
Yet the problem is not always with the thyroid gland itself. Sometimes it involves the thyroid hormones of which there is two – triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). Understanding the differences between low and high thyroid activity is important as the symptoms can vary and is often opposite to each other.