Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Thyroid Gland
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that lies in front of the
windpipe, also known as the trachea, and just below the voice box, also called
the larynx. This gland makes hormones that regulate the way the body uses
The thyroid gland uses iodine from food to make two thyroid
hormones: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). The thyroid gland stores
these hormones and releases them into the bloodstream as they are
If the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones, it is
called hypothyroidism. If the gland produces too many hormones, it is called
hyperthyroidism. Problems with the thyroid gland can affect many body systems.
Changes in weight, heartbeat, body temperature, digestion, and muscle function
are common. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can be treated, usually
with medicine and sometimes with surgery.
Current as of:
November 14, 2014
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Matthew I. Kim, MD - Endocrinology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.