What is the thyroid?
The thyroid is a small butterfly shaped gland where hormones are produced and released into the bloodstream. The major hormones the gland makes are called T4 or thyroxine and T3 or triiodothyronine. The production of these hormones are stimulated by another hormone called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). The thyroid hormones are very important as they control the rate at which the body uses and stores energy from the food we eat (the metabolic rate).
The thyroid can be found in the front of your neck just below the Adam’s apple.
What causes thyroid problems?
Thyroid problems can result from either of the following causes:
Overactive thyroid If the thyroid is overactive it produces too much T3 and T4, this condition is known as hyperthyroidism or thyrotoxicosis.
Underactive thyroid If the thyroid is underactive it doesn’t produce enough T3 or T4, this condition is known as hypothyroidism (‘hypo’ means under). An underactive thyroid is the most common thyroid problem and is more common in women and people over the age of 60, though the condition can be present at birth.
Why should I take this Thyroid test?
This test looks for the level of TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) in capillary blood. A raised TSH level is an indication of an underactive thyroid (Hypothyroidism)