Revised edition by Dr. Keith Roach!
Of all the glands in the body, the thyroid is perhaps the best known to most of us. It is one of the endocrine glands, which means it secretes its hormones directly into the bloodstream rather than through ducts, as do other glands (the exocrines, like the pancreas). Because the thyroid gland acts as a sort of regulator of many bodily activities, any malfunction results in a variety of symptoms. For this reason, the word "thyroid" appears frequently in letters I receive every day. Many of these letters betray an oversimplified understanding of the gland, what it is, what it does, and how to treat it. Many reflect confusion, and some puzzlement about the apparently contradictory symptoms associated with "thyroid trouble," with many listing opposing symptoms, such as listlessness and nervousness, underweight and overweight, hairiness or lack of body hair, etc. It is my hope that this information will clear up some of the confusion for you.
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