Thyroid gland and Parathyroid gland
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that is found on the front of the neck. Parathyroid glands are small, pea-sized glands, located in the neck just behind the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland and two parathyroid glands lie behind each 'wing' of the thyroid gland.
Both thyroid and parathyroid are endocrine glands responsible of secreting essential hormones that controls body metabolic rate, heartbeat, regulates body temperature and controls the level of essential minerals in blood.
Hormones produced by thyroid gland are T3, T4 and Calcitonin.
Triiodothyronine (T3 – Three atoms of iodine) and Thyroxin (T4- Four atoms of iodine) are produced by thyroid gland with the help of iodine. These two hormones control metabolic rate, heartbeat and body temperature. T3 is the more active hormone that influences all activities in the body and most of the T4 will be converted to T3 at the cell level whenever required.
Calcitonin: This hormone helps to control level of calcium and phosphorous in the blood.
Parathyroid hormones: These hormones help to control levels of three essential minerals – calcium, magnesium and phosphorous in the body.
How does they work?
- The hypothalamus located on the undersurface of the brain receives input from the body about the state of many different bodily functions. When the hypothalamus senses that levels of T3 and T4 are low, or that the body's metabolic rate is low, it releases a hormone called thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH). TRH travels to the pituitary gland via the connecting blood vessels. TRH stimulates the pituitary gland to release (secrete) thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
- TSH stimulates cells with the thyroid gland to secrete more T3 and T4. Both the hormone then released to the bloodstream increase metabolic activity. Once the T3 hormone level is high hypothalamus senses it and stops the secretion of TRH. Thus, the pituitary gland stops the production of TSH.
- Blood calcium level is regulated by thyroid hormones called calcitonin and parathyroid hormones. Cells called osteoclasts in the bone releases calcium from bone to blood. Whenever calcium level is low in the bloodstream, parathyroid hormone release is triggered and calcium from osteoclasts cells of bone is released to blood. Similarly, whenever the blood calcium level is high parathyroid hormone release is suppressed and the thyroid gland releases a hormone called calcitonin that slows down the activity of osteoclasts.
- So regulating blood calcium levels has a direct influence on thyroid hormone production and it is very important for normal functionalities of thyroid gland.
Thyroid disorder conditions
- Hyperthyroidism: It is a condition of an overactive thyroid. Where the thyroid gland produces too many thyroid hormones. In these scenarios level of TSH will be low or in control but T3 & T4 levels will be high. If the hyperthyroidism is due to an autoimmune condition, then it is called Graves’ disease.
- Hypothyroidism: It is a condition of underactive thyroid. Where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone. In these scenarios level of TSH will be high or in control but T3 & T4 levels will be below. If the hypothyroidism is due to an autoimmune condition, then it is called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
- Goiter: It is a condition of enlargement of the thyroid gland due to hypothyroidism and Iodine deficiency.
- Thyroiditis: Inflammation of the thyroid due to viral infection or autoimmune condition.
- Thyroid Cancer: When abnormal cells mutate and form a tumor in the thyroid gland.
- Thyroid Nodule: A small abnormal mass or lump in the thyroid gland due to hyperthyroidism.
- Thyroid Storm: Rare of the thyroid due to hyperthyroidism causing extreme illness.
- Hyperparathyroidism: It is a condition of overactive parathyroid. Where too much parathyroid hormone is produced by the parathyroid gland resulting in a high level of calcium in the blood.
- Hypoparathyroidism: It is a condition of underactive parathyroid. Where very little parathyroid hormone is produced by the parathyroid gland resulting in a low level of calcium in the blood.
Causes for thyroid disorder
- Calcium deficiency and less exposure to sunrays
Calcium is properly digested and absorbed by the body through the hormone called 1,25D3. This hormone is formed from Vitamin D. Sunrays being the important source of Vitamin D, less exposure to sunrays results in Vitamin D deficiency.
Thus, Vitamin D deficiency leads to improper digestion of calcium or calcium deficiency. As calcium has a direct influence on the production of thyroid hormone it leads to a thyroid disorder.
- Autoimmune disease
The human body's immune system guards against viruses and bacteria. In autoimmune conditions, the autoantibodies released by the immune system mistakes part of our body considering it to be foreign and attacks the healthy cells. If it targets and attacks the thyroid gland.
Though there is no proven cause identified for an autoimmune condition, various studies show that high intake of Junk/westernized food, GMO crop foods, A1 milk from genetically modified cows and frequent anti-biotic consumption is the cause for the autoimmune disease.
- Relation of calcium and thyroid disorder
The parathyroid gland and calcitonin hormone from the thyroid gland regulate the calcium level in the blood. Cells called osteoclasts in the bone release calcium from bone to blood. Whenever calcium level is low in the bloodstream, parathyroid hormone release is triggered and calcium from osteoclasts cells of bone is released to blood. Similarly, whenever the blood calcium level is high parathyroid hormone release is suppressed and the thyroid gland releases a hormone called calcitonin that slows down the activity of osteoclasts.
So, in the conditions of calcium deficiency and improper functioning of thyroid glands release of calcium from osteoclasts cells from bone to blood is not controlled resulting in degeneration.
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