The Thyroid Gland's Role in Health and Illness

Dr. Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM, FRCPC, Endocrinologist, discusses the thyroid glands role in health and in illness.

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Dr. Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM, FRCPC, Endocrinologist, discusses the thyroid glands role in health and in illness.
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Featuring Dr. Richard Bebb, MD, ABIM, FRCPC, Endocrinologist

Duration: 2 minutes, 19 seconds

Video Title; The Thyroid Gland's Role in Health and Illness

The thyroid is a gland in the neck.

It's just under this bow tie, if you want to know where it is anatomically. It's a very important gland. It is the cause of a lot of problems, with people's health because having thyroid disease is not uncommon.

The thyroid's function is to produce thyroid hormone, which then has both effects on your ability to metabolize glucose and other metabolites, but also ends up affecting a whole bunch of other hormone systems by modulating them. It's called a permissive type hormone.

Because of that, thyroid disease can present in a myriad of ways. It can be very sneaky in its development. It tends to cause trouble in one of three ways, however.

Firstly, its amount of hormone can decrease, hypothyroidism. Secondly, overproduction of hormone or hyperthyroidism. The third way is to produce nodules or lumps.

Hypothyroidism is quite common. By the age of 60, more than 10 percent of the population has some degree of thyroid dysfunction, which is a surprising statistic. Some of those patients had previous overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism and were treated and ended up being hypothyroid.

Some of them have had surgery, to remove thyroid cancersĀ or thyroid nodules. The majority of them are due to just gradual decrease in function of the thyroid. Many people with thyroid dysfunction have had personal experience with their parents or relatives, because it is quite often hereditary.

Fortunately for them, they are more attuned to the possibility of development and it gets diagnosed earlier. The symptoms of thyroid deficiency are very slow in onset for many patients. Because of that, it can be confusing. Patients think that they are a little tired or working too hard.

If you have further questions or think you may have thyroid disease, then do discuss it with your primary health care practitioner.

Presenter: Dr. Richard Bebb, Endocrinologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Endocrinologist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.