According to Health In Aging, about 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease and older adults are particularly at risk. Here’s a look at some basic facts and information about the thyroid.
What is the thyroid gland and what are thyroid disorders?
Your thyroid gland is a small structure in your neck that plays a huge role in your health. This important gland produces hormones that are essential to the proper functioning of vital organs such as your brain, heart, kidneys, and liver. Among other things, these hormones play key roles in metabolism—the process that allows you to get energy from food. The three hormones your thyroid gland produces are triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4), and calcitonin.
As you get older, you’re more likely to develop thyroid disorders. In addition to being more common with age, thyroid problems are more common in women than men. They also tend to run in families. If a close family member (such as your mother or sister) had or has thyroid disease, you may be at a higher risk of developing it as well.