Hypothyroidism occurs when your body doesn?t produce enough thyroid hormones. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that sits at the front of your neck. It releases hormones to help your body regulate and use energy.
Your thyroid is responsible for providing energy to nearly every organ in your body. It controls functions like how your heart beats and how your digestive system works. Without the right amount of thyroid hormones, your body?s natural functions begin to slow down.
Also called underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism affects women more frequently than men. It commonly affects people over the age of 60, but can begin at any age. It may be discovered through a routine blood test or after symptoms begin.
If you?ve recently been diagnosed with the condition, it?s important to know that treatment is considered simple, safe, and effective. Most treatments rely on supplementing your low hormone levels with artificial varieties. These hormones will replace what your body isn?t producing on its own and help return your body?s functions to normal.
The pituitary is a small gland (about the size of a kidney bean) located at the base of the brain, just beneath the optic (eye) nerve in a bony area called the sella turcica. It is made up of the anterior (adenohypophysis) and posterior (neurohypophysis) pituitary gland. It is often called the ?master gland? because it produces a number of hormones that regulate other hormone glands in the body. The pituitary is, in turn, regulated by the hypothalamus; a portion of the brain that responds to a variety of nerve and hormonal signals from the environment and the rest of the body.
Anterior pituitary hormones include TSH (thyroid gland), ACTH (adrenal gland), GH (growth hormone), LH and FSH (reproduction) and prolactin (lactation for breast feeding). Posterior pituitary hormones include AHD (water and salt balance) and oxytocin (childbirth).
Pituitary disorders can be due to either too much, or too little pituitary hormone secretion. These disorders can result in a wide variety of different clinical conditions, depending on which hormone signal(s) are disrupted. See below for specific information about different pituitary disorders.