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What is a thyroid and what are the effects of a thyroid gone awry?

Location of the thyroid in our bodies
Location of the thyroid in our bodies

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland in our neck that regulates our hormones, bodily functions and mental stability. The thyroid produces two major hormones, triiodothyonine and thyroxine (tests for these hormones are called T3 and T4 and TSH, for overall thyroid function). The thyroid is the only part of our body that absorbs iodine.

When our thyroids aren’t working properly and, or being treated improperly, and, or left untreated, they can have a catastrophic impact on our minds and bodies—they can also kill us. The myriad of symptoms are different for hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, thyroid psychosis, thyrotoxicosis and thyroid cancers.

The affects from the fallout of these diseases has a common through-line; anger, sadness, confusion, fear and forgetfulness, as well as extreme weight gain and weight loss. Ideally, this is what brings thyroid patients together. However, because thyroid diseases and thyroid cancers can radically change our appearance and mental state, many of us retreat into seclusion. Often, we’re too ashamed of what we’ve become, though it’s completely beyond our control. Moreover, if we can’t explain or understand what’s happened to us, how can we possibly explain it to others?!

Due to a lack of education and awareness, though 50MM people have some type of thyroid disorder because few people talk about it and because more doctors mistreat us versus treat us well, it exacerbates the isolation and seclusion.

Find out if you have a thyroid disorder by clicking the links above. See an endocrinologist. If that doctor isn’t making us feel better, we have to find another one. The task might be daunting, especially when we feel like we’re dying. We’re worth fighting for. Speak up and out about your thyroid disorder by connecting with other patients.

Remember this, we aren’t alone!

For more information about what a thyroid is and what it does, please review these articles: Thyroid Disease 101: Basic Information on Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, Nodules, Cancer (Mary Shomon), The Function of the Thyroid Gland (LearningInfo), Iodine Deficiency (American Thyroid Association), Iodine Deficiency this article includes psychiatric manifestations (eMedicine)