What Does The Endocrine System Do
The endocrine system is responsible for regulating a range of bodily functions through the release of hormones.
Hormones are secreted by the glands of the endocrine system, traveling through the bloodstream to various organs and tissues in the body. The hormones then tell these organs and tissues what to do or how to function.
Some examples of bodily functions that are controlled by the endocrine system include:
- body temperature
Thyroid And Migration In Birds
Migratory birds possess active thyroid glands as compared to nonmigrating or postmigrating individuals of the same species, suggesting some role in the migratory process. Although some of the older literature indicates that thyroid hormones may directly influence migratory behavior, the nature of this influence has not been confirmed. Thyroid hormones may alter metabolic patterns associated with energy requirements during migration and/or tune the nervous system to increase its sensitivity to environmental or endocrine cues. In the Canada goose , thyroid histology indicates activation and plasma T4 levels are increased in association with spring premigratory restlessness or Zugunruhe, but the plasma T3/T4 ratio decreases dramatically . However, in relation to the fall migration, there is a marked increase in T3 in postmigrants, increasing the T3/T4 ratio. This latter observation may reflect differences in thermal conditions and/or the role of thyroid hormones in thermogenesis during the cooler fall.
Table 7.9. Plasma levels of T3 and T4 in migrating and postmigrating Canadian goose, Branta canadensis interior.
A. Osterc, … P. Raspor, in, 2011
Location Of The Thyroid Gland
In the front of our neck is the thyroid gland. It is located just in front of our trachea, or windpipe. The thyroid glands structure displays a reddish-brown colour when examined more carefully. The thyroid gland is very well innervated, and the superior and inferior thyroid arteries, as well as the external carotid artery, supply it with blood. The isthmus, which runs across the centre of the two lobes, will connect the two structures.
The thyroid gland is simple to locate since it is a part of the body that is frequently examined during doctor appointments. Of course, the gland will not be seen at its regular size and will only become visible when it is enlarged. However, the position of the thyroid differs before birth. It will be in the back of the developing tongue, which means it will move to the front of the neck before birth. The distance it moves is also important, since thyroids that migrate too little or too far from the appropriate spot can cause problems. The condition lingual thyroid, which occurs when the thyroid does not travel and instead remains in the back of the tongue, is an extreme case.
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Regulates The Release Of Hormones
Besides creating and releasing hormones, your endocrine system also regulates and controls how much of each hormone gets released. Numerous factors can impact your hormone levels, including how many are already in your blood, infections, stress, certain minerals in your blood, and more. The endocrine system will work to maintain the right balance. When something goes wrong with the endocrine system, it can lead to an endocrine disorder or other issues that affect your weight, mood, development, and more. This is why its so important to keep our systems, organs and glands as healthy as we can. Too little or too much of any hormone can be detrimental. Some ways you can support your endocrine system include:
- Eating a whole foods-based, nutrient-dense diet
- Getting enough exercise · Managing emotional stress
- Being mindful of any endocrine-related problems that run in your family
- Getting regular checkups
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Iodine For Hormone Production
The thyroid gland produces two primary hormones – thyroxine and tri-iodothyronine . The numbers 3 and 4 refer to the number of atoms of iodine in the hormones. Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones and humans need about 150 mcg each day. Iodine is found in most foods, especially seafood. The soils in Tasmania and along the Great Dividing Range are low in iodine, so the food from these areas can contain insufficient iodine. Iodised salt is the best way to supplement dietary iodine, but taking too much iodine can also be a problem.Of the two hormones produced, T3 is more active than T4, but is produced in much smaller quantities. T4 has a lesser effect, but most is converted to T3 by enzymes that remove one iodine atom. The greater the amount of T3 and T4 circulating in the blood, the faster the metabolism. Lower amounts of T3 and T4 result in a reduced metabolism.
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When It Doesnt Work Right
Sometimes, the thyroid gland develops a problem. It might start producing too much or too little hormone. It might become enlarged, or it could grow lumps of extra tissue.
More than 12% of people will have some sort of problem with their thyroid during their lifetime. Women are far more likely to have this happen than men.
Common thyroid problems include:
Hypothyroidism. This occurs when your thyroid doesnât make enough hormones. That slows your metabolism. It can make you gain weight and feel sluggish or depressed. Sometimes thatâs caused by a condition called Hashimotoâs disease. This happens when your bodyâs disease-fighting immune system attacks the thyroid.
Hyperthyroidism. If youâre feeling irritable, losing weight, your heart races, and youâre feeling weak, your thyroid might be producing too much hormone. This is often the result of another immune system problem, known as Gravesâ disease, but can be caused by other conditions as well.
Goiters. A goiter happens when your thyroid gland swells up. Sometimes, it makes a noticeable bulge in your neck other times, it can make you cough or make your voice sound hoarse. A goiter can be caused by other thyroid conditions or by a lack of iodine, an element your thyroid needs to work properly. Most Americans get plenty of iodine because itâs now added to table salt in the United States.
What Could Go Wrong With The Thyroid Gland
Normally the thyroid gland produces the exact number of hormones needed to keep your bodys metabolism running and in balance. As described earlier, hormones secreted by the pituitary gland stay constant in your blood circulation, but their levels may increase or decrease when T4 levels in the blood are changing. This hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid feedback loop keeps the levels of T4 in your blood stable and reacts to small changes immediately.
However, there are several disorders associated with the thyroid gland with most problems concerning the production of thyroid hormones. Either the thyroid gland produces too much hormone or your thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormone , resulting in your body using energy faster or slower than it should.
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What Are The Parts Of The Endocrine System
The endocrine system is made up of organs called glands. Glands produce and release different hormones that target specific things in the body. You have glands all over your body, including in your neck, brain and reproductive organs. Some glands are tiny, about the size of a grain of rice or a pea. The largest gland is the pancreas, which is about 6 inches long.
The main glands that produce hormones include:
Which Hormones Does My Thyroid Gland Produce
The thyroid gland produces thyroxine , which is a relatively inactive prohormone. The highly active hormone is triiodothyronine . Collectively, thyroxine and triiodothyronine are referred to as the thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland produces just 20% of the high active T3, but it produces 80% of the prohormone T4. Once secreted by the thyroid, specific enzymes in other tissues like the liver or kidneys may transform T4 in to the active hormone T3.
In addition, there are other hormone-producing cells within the thyroid gland called C-cells. These cells produce calcitonin. Calcitonin plays a role in regulating calcium and phosphate levels in the blood, which is important for your bone health and maintenance.
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What Happens In Your Body
Thyroid hormones have an impact on every cell and every organ. Specifically, T3 directly controls the production of various proteins made by your bodys cells. T3 does this by binding to a cells DNA.
Free T4 and free T3 circulating in your blood are available to immediately enter your bodys cells whenever they’re needed for instance, when you’re cold or when your body is digesting food. Some of the intracellular T4 is converted to T3, and some of the T3 binds to specific T3-receptors in the nucleus of the cell. This bound T3 causes nuclear DNA to stimulate the production of specific proteins.
Among these proteins are various enzymes that, in turn, control the behavior of many important bodily functions mentioned above, such as how quickly your food is digested, your heart rate, body temperature, and how fast calories are burned.
Though thyroid hormones regulate DNA in this way in all cases, different cells in your body have different kinds of T3-nuclear receptors and in different concentrations. As such, the effect of T3 on a cell is quite variable from tissue to tissue and under various circumstances.
The Parathyroid Glands And Their Hormones
The parathyroid glands are four pea-sized bodies located behind the thyroid gland that produce PTH. This hormone increases calcium levels in the blood, helping to maintain bone quality and an adequate supply of calcium, which is needed for numerous functions throughout the body . Specifically, PTH causes reabsorption of calcium from and excretion of phosphate in the urine. PTH also promotes the release of stored calcium from the bones as well as bone resorption, both of which increase calcium levels in the blood. Finally, PTH stimulates the absorption of calcium from the food in the gastrointestinal tract. Consistent with PTHs central role in calcium metabolism, the release of this hormone is not controlled by pituitary hormones but by the calcium levels in the blood. Thus, low calcium levels stimulate PTH release, whereas high calcium levels suppress it.
Many of the functions of PTH require or are facilitated by a substance called 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol, a derivative of vitamin D. In addition, numerous other hormones are involved in regulating the bodys calcium levels and bone metabolism, including estrogens, glucocorticoids, and growth hormone.
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How The Body Adjusts Thyroid Hormones
The body has a complex mechanism for adjusting the level of thyroid hormones. First, the hypothalamus, located just above the pituitary gland in the brain, secretes thyrotropin-releasing hormone, which causes the pituitary gland to produce thyroid-stimulating hormone . Just as the name suggests, TSH stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones. The pituitary gland slows or speeds the release of TSH, depending on whether the levels of thyroid hormones circulating in the blood are getting too high or too low.
How Big Is The Thyroid
Your thyroid is about 2 inches long. A healthy thyroid usually does not stick out from your throat and you cant see it by looking at your neck.
However, certain conditions can cause your thyroid to become enlarged. This is known as goiter. If you have a goiter, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Swelling in the front of your neck, just below the Adam’s apple.
- A feeling of tightness in your throat area.
- A change in your voice, such as hoarseness .
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Where Is The Thyroid Located
Your thyroid gland is located in the front of your neck, straddling your windpipe . Its shaped like a butterfly smaller in the middle with two wide wings that extend around the side of your throat. A healthy thyroid gland is not usually visible from the outside , and you cant feel it when you press your finger to the front of your neck.
The Endocrine System 10 Amazing Glands
We all need an up to date Will, but its one of those jobs many of us put off. Having a Will is the only way to make sure the people and causes you care about are looked after when youre gone.
Wills should be updated every few years especially after life events such as getting married, moving house and having children or grandchildren.
If youre thinking of leaving a gift to Thyroid UK, thank you so much. Thyroid UK is here to help people put the pieces of their thyroid health puzzle together. We want to empower people with the knowledge and confidence to work with their doctor, and to be participants in their own care.
Your donation could help us empower more people as well as fund things such as:
- surveys to show how thyroid patients are dealing with various issues
- a new telephone helpline
- research studies looking at why some patients need T3 or natural desiccated thyroid Natural Desiccated Thyroid ” A thyroid medication containing both T4 and T3 prepared from the desiccated thyroid tissue of pigs”
- patient information leaflets on topics such as benefits, leaflets for employers and families
- awareness campaigns
Thyroid UK has partnered with Bequeathed to offer their supporters a free online Will for Good. Just visit their website at a time that suits you and follow the simple steps to create your draft Will. You can get started straight away by completing an online interview which takes just 20 minutes.
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What Tests Measure Thyroid Levels
Several blood tests can measure your thyroid levels and assess how well your thyroid is working. These tests are often called thyroid function tests and include:
Your provider may order additional tests to assess your thyroid function, including:
- Thyroid antibodies: These tests help identify different types of autoimmune thyroid conditions.
- Thyroglobulin: This test is used to diagnose thyroiditis and to monitor the treatment of thyroid cancer.
Diseases And Disorders Of The Thyroid
There are many diseases and disorders associated with the thyroid. They can develop at any age and can result from a variety of causesinjury, disease, or dietary deficiency, for instance. But in most cases, they can be traced to the following problems:
Too much or too little thyroid hormone .
Abnormal thyroid growth
Nodules or lumps within the thyroid
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Other Thyroid Gland Disorders
Other disorders of the thyroid gland include:
- Nodules – lumps in the thyroid. Some are groups of uncontrollably overactive thyroid cells. These are called hot nodules and cause hyperthyroidism. Other nodules are cold. These are generally harmless, but about 20 per cent will be cancerous.
- Cancer – thyroid cancer is uncommon and is readily treatable, especially if detected early.
What Does My Thyroid Do
As an endocrine gland, your thyroid makes and secretes hormones. Your thyroid produces and releases the following hormones:
- Thyroxine : This is the primary hormone your thyroid makes and releases. Although your thyroid makes the most of this hormone, it doesnt have much of an effect on your metabolism. Once your thyroid releases T4 into your bloodstream, it can convert to T3 through a process called deiodination.
- Triiodothyronine : Your thyroid produces lesser amounts of T3 than T4, but it has a much greater effect on your metabolism than T4.
- Reverse triiodothyronine : Your thyroid makes very small amounts of RT3, which reverses the effects of T3.
- Calcitonin: This hormone helps regulate the amount of calcium in your blood.
In order to make thyroid hormones, your thyroid gland needs iodine, an element found in food and water. Your thyroid gland traps iodine and transforms it into thyroid hormones. If you have too little or too much iodine in your body, it can affect the level of hormones your thyroid makes and releases.
Your thyroid hormones affect the following bodily functions:
- How your body uses energy .
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Spotlight On Aging: Thyroid Gland Changes In Older People
Aging itself has only minor effects on the thyroid gland and thyroid hormones. As people get older, the thyroid gland shrinks and shifts lower in the neck. The level of the thyroid hormone triiodothyronine may fall slightly, but the speed of vital functions changes very little. However, thyroid disorders become more common with aging.
and hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is underactivity of the thyroid gland that leads to inadequate production of thyroid hormones and a slowing of vital body functions. Facial expressions become dull, the voice… read more , can be thought of as great masqueraders in older people. These disorders often cause symptoms that are easily mistaken for symptoms of other conditions or even as signs of getting old.
Increased or decreased thyroid function can dramatically worsen the way an older person feels and can greatly diminish the ability to carry out daily activities. For these reasons, the great masqueraders must be unmasked and recognized for what they are so that they can be effectively treated.
Some experts recommend measuring the level of thyroid-stimulating hormone in the blood in people over 70 years old every year or every few years, although a number of medical bodies that have examined this question recommend against screening truly asymptomatic adults in order to avoid over-treating people with minor laboratory abnormalities.
When Should I See My Doctor About My Thyroid Hormone Levels
Abnormal thyroid hormone levels usually cause noticeable symptoms. Since thyroid hormone is responsible for controlling the speed of your metabolism, too much thyroid hormone can make it faster than normal and too little thyroid hormone can slow it down. These imbalances cause certain symptoms, including:
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss.
- Slow or fast heart rate.
- Intolerance to cold or heat.
- Dry or moist skin.
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