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Review article| Volume 24, ISSUE 1, P19-28, March 2004

Thyroid disease: pathophysiology and diagnosis

      The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that is located in the front of the neck just above the trachea; it weighs approximately 15 to 20 g in the adult human. The thyroid produces and releases into the circulation at least two potent hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), that influence basal metabolic processes or enhance oxygen consumption in nearly all body tissues. Thyroid hormones also influence linear growth; brain function, including intelligence and memory; neural development; dentition; and bone development [
      • Larsen P.R
      • Davies T.F
      • Schlumberger M.J
      • Hay I.D
      The thyroid gland.
      ,
      • Hollowell J.G
      • Staehling N.W
      • Flander W.D
      • Hannon W.H
      • Gunter E.W
      • Spencer C.A
      • et al.
      Serum TSH, T4 and thyroid antibodies in the United States population (1988 to 1994): National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III).
      ,
      • Demers L.M
      • Spencer C.A
      Laboratory support for the diagnosis and monitoring of thyroid disease. Laboratory Medicine Practice Guidelines. National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry.
      ].
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      References

        • Larsen P.R
        • Davies T.F
        • Schlumberger M.J
        • Hay I.D
        The thyroid gland.
        in: Larsen P.R Kronenberg H.M Melmed S Polonsky K.S Williams' textbook of endocrinology. 10th edition. WB Saunders Company, Philadelphia2003: 331-374
        • Hollowell J.G
        • Staehling N.W
        • Flander W.D
        • Hannon W.H
        • Gunter E.W
        • Spencer C.A
        • et al.
        Serum TSH, T4 and thyroid antibodies in the United States population (1988 to 1994): National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III).
        J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002; 87: 489-499
        • Demers L.M
        • Spencer C.A
        Laboratory support for the diagnosis and monitoring of thyroid disease. Laboratory Medicine Practice Guidelines. National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry.
        Thyroid. 2003; 13: 1-126