The thyroid is positioned in the lower part on the front of the neck. The gland sits along the front of the windpipe just below the Adam’s apple. Shaped like a butterfly, the two sides are linked by a bridge in the middle called the isthmus.
The thyroid gland contains many blood vessels and is brownish-red in color. Nerves within the gland, which is located near the larynx or voice box, help with the quality of the voice. The thyroid plays an important role in secreting hormones throughout the body that assist with brain development for infants and children. Hormones from the thyroid also help with growth, continued development, metabolism, and body temperature.
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In the womb, the thyroid gland develops in the back of the tongue, although it eventually moves to the front of the neck by the time of birth. There are rare cases, according to EndocrineWeb, when it doesn’t move enough or moves too far.
The thyroid manages the metabolism of all cells in the body, working with the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus, which alert the thyroid when to secrete more hormones if those levels are low.
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A major function of the thyroid gland it to keep metabolism under control, which assists the body in breaking down foods for energy. Proper hormonal secretion from the thyroid is necessary to avoid slow or fast metabolism, which can affect health conditions. Too much hormonal secretion might affect the appetite, energy, or even bone and mental development.
The word thyroid comes from the Greek word, “shield.” Injury, illness, or dietary deficiency can cause problems traced to the thyroid when it loses its protective factors and can’t secrete hormones properly. Abnormal thyroid growth or damage to the thyroid can cause a variety of health issues due to overstimulation or inflamed tissues that disrupt the body’s metabolism.
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