The Thyroid Gland

The Thyroid Gland

The thyroid is a small butterfly shaped gland in the front of the neck, below the larynx.  It weighs only about 20 g, is about 2 inches in size, and consists of 2 lobes-one on each side of the windpipe.

The thyroid regulates the body’s metabolism and calcium balance.  Levels of hormones secreted by the thyroid are controlled by the pituitary glands thyroid stimulating hormone will, which in turn is controlled by the hypothalamus.


Symptoms of Thyroid Disease


  • Weak, slow heart beat;
  • Muscular weakness and constant fatigue;
  • Sensitivity to cold;
  • Thick puffy skin and/or dry skin;
  • Lol slowed mental processes and poor memory;
  • Constipation; and
  • Goitre (increased size of the thyroid)


  • Rapid, forceful heart beat;
  • Tremor;
  • Muscular weakness;
  • Weight loss in spite of increased appetite;
  • Restlessness, anxiety and sleeplessness;
  • Profuse sweating and heat intolerance;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Eye changes; and
  • Goitre (increased size of the thyroid)

Thyroid illness differs from person to person.  You should consult a Physician if you suspect that you have a thyroid problem.


The Emotional Aspects of Thyroid Illnesses

Thyroid disease can affect your mood; the more severe the thyroid disease, the more severe the mood changes.

If you have an over active thyroid (hyperthyroidism), you may experience unusual nervousness, restlessness, anxiety, and irritability.  If you have an under active thyroid (hypothyroidism), you may experience mild to severe fatigue and depression.

Some thyroid disorders developed very gradually and it can take a while before they disappear-even with a treatment.  Symptoms may not be easily recognized at first as there may only be very subtle reactions in emotions or behavior.

However it is unlikely that emotional symptoms would be the only evidence of thyroid disease.  It is usually associated with weight gain or loss, sensitivity to hot or cold, bowel movement changes and menstrual irregularities.

Appropriate treatment-such as medication that blocks your body’s ability to produce new thyroid hormone or replace is missing thyroid hormone-usually improves both emotional and physical symptoms caused by thyroid disease.


Resources: Thyroid foundation of Canada