What Is the Thyroid Gland?


When your thyroid produces too much or too little hormone, it can cause big health problems—but testing for thyroid disorders is simple.

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It’s 2 inches long, it’s shaped like a butterfly, it weighs less than an ounce, and it’s in your neck. Do you know what it is?

Hi, I’m Dr. Griffin Rodgers, with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at NIH. I’m talking about your thyroid, a gland that produces hormones.

The thyroid is small but powerful. It affects your weight and nearly every organ in your body—your brain, your heart, lungs, and even your skin. When your thyroid produces too much or too little hormone, it can cause big health problems.

Thyroid problems affect mostly women. Your doctor can use simple tests to diagnose these disorders.

In the coming weeks, I’ll discuss common types of thyroid disorders, other risk factors, and treatment options.

Follow us @NIDDKgov. This is Dr. Griffin Rodgers with the NIH.

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