The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located just above the collar bone within the neck. Its primary function is to producehormones.These thyroid hormones are responsible for the control and regulation of the metabolism of the body. It's when the production of the thyroid hormone deviates from normal that the individual starts experiencing adverse side effects.
The thyroid hormones -thyroxine and triiodothyronine, assist the body in converting food to energy, as well as play an integral role in processes involving body temperate and heart rate.Ideally, the body regulates these hormones within the blood, so that the processes in which they play an integral role occur at a stable rate. However, if the thyroid becomes overactive and starts producing an excess amount of these hormones, the body's metabolism will speed up and this can result in sudden weight loss or weight gain, an increased appetite, and hyperactivity.In contrast, an underactive thyroid gland which is not producing enough hormones can result in slowing down of many of the body's functions, potentially resulting in side effects such as tiredness, weight gain and depression.
Even though the effects of an under/overactive thyroid can be unpleasant and uncomfortable, right diagnosis and treatment can suppress the symptoms effectively.
If an underactive thyroid is left untreated for a prolonged period of time, more serious symptoms will develop as the condition advances. The symptoms can include:
- Hoarse or low-pitched voice
- Slow heart rate