Your thyroid, a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in your lower neck, has enormous responsibility for your body’s metabolic processes. Specifically, your thyroid releases two primary hormones -- triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) -- that control metabolism.
When working properly, the T3 and T4 hormones travel through your bloodstream and help cells get energy from the food you eat. Thyroid hormones are also responsible for helping to regulate your body temperature and blood calcium levels, helping with growth and development and, during infancy, brain development.
For an estimated 27 million Americans, however, the thyroid produces either too much or too little hormone, which causes an array of health symptoms, some severe. But because thyroid disease is often misdiagnosed or simply overlooked, it’s estimated that more than half of affected Americans don’t know they have a problem.