Essay On Thyroid Hormones

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Meet your thyroid
The thyroid gland controls how hard other parts of your body work by producing hormones (chemical messengers) that increase the energy burnt off by almost every tissue and organ.⁶ Hormones produced by the thyroid ensure that your heart pumps properly, that you can breathe and move, and that your liver and kidneys get rid of toxic waste. Thyroid hormones are essential for reproduction and to make sure your baby is healthy. Thyroid hormones help keep you looking well and attrac- tive – low levels can leave you with dry, brittle and thin hair, and dry, coarse and puffy skin. Thyroid hormones even ensure your weight remains stable. Tight rings and clothes can be one of the first signs that your thyroid is not working properly.
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During the twentieth century, gov- ernments started adding iodine to salt in areas where more than 1 in 20 school- children had enlarged thyroids.² Tragically, however, around a third of the world’s population – some 2 billion people – still do not get enough iodine, including some of those living in mountainous regions of South East Asia, Latin America and Cen- tral Africa.⁸,⁹ Despite our detailed understanding of the thyroid’s importance, these people remain at risk of serious and usually preventable health problems.
Even in the UK some of us do not get enough iodine. One recent paper noted that unlike almost every other developed country, no national surveys have monitored iodine status in the UK since the 1940s.¹⁰ Despite this lack of evidence, many doc- tors believe that people in the UK receive enough iodine in their diet. New research now challenges this complacency. For example, two-thirds of women in the UK seem to be iodine deficient during pregnancy.¹⁰ Tragically, even mild iodine defi- ciency can leave a baby with a low IQ or can undermine school performance.¹⁰,¹¹
This may imply that many other people may also be deficient in this essential
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