Updated: Feb 17
Thyroid is a gland located in the front of the neck under the vocal cord (voice box). It is a butterfly shaped gland and controls various important functions in the body.
The location of the Thyroid gland coincides with the Vishuddhi chakra which is the fifth primary chakra.
In Sanskrit, the thyroid gland is also called Brihaspathi granthi and the diseases Galaganda (enlargement of thyroid gland) and Gandamala (Scrofula) are mentioned in ancient texts.
It actively regulates the metabolic functions and other vital functions in the body.
The thyroid gland has two lobes each attached to the side of the windpipe and joined in the middle by a thin tissue to give the shape of a butterfly.
Thyroid uses iodine in the food to produce two hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). The organ produces both the hormones and stores it in itself, releasing it to the bloodstream when needed.
These hormones help in cellular metabolism (utilizing food to produce energy for the cells), growth and development of the human body.
The quantity of production and release of T3 and T4 does depend on lot of factors (like age, work performed, sex, etc.).
It is therefore monitored by the Pituitary gland. Pituitary gland gives instructions to the thyroid organ when to release and how much to release at any given time. This instruction is sent from the pituitary as a hormone called the Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).
So, the order of the function is- pituitary gland identifies the requirement of T3 and T4 and sends the order (TSH) to produce it at the thyroid organ.
Inability to produce adequate quantities of T3 and T4 by the thyroid is called Hypothyroidism.
Prevalence of Hypothyroidism
In a study, (Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Jul;17(4):647-52. doi: 10.4103/2230-8210.113755.) to understand the prevalence of Hypothyroidism in urban population in India, it was concluded that Hypothyroidism was common in the research population, affecting about one out of every ten persons.
Hypothyroidism was found to be associated with female gender and advanced age. Other typical findings were subclinical hypothyroidism and anti-TPO antibody positivity.
The prevalence of hypothyroidism in the developed world is about 4-5%. The prevalence of subclinical hypothyroidism in the developed world is about 4-15%.
The prevalence of hypothyroidism was the highest in the age-group of 46 to 54 years (13.11%) and the lowest in that of 18 to 35 years (7.53%).
A larger proportion of females than males (15.86% vs. 5.02%; P < 0.0001) were found to be affected by hypothyroidism.