a special program of the National Emergency Medicine Association (NEMA) 

Week: 617.1

Guest: Dr. Jack Baskin, President,  American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, Orlando, Florida

Topic: Thyroid function

Host/Producer: Steve Girard

NEMA: You know you have a thyroid gland, but what does it do? Dr. Jack Baskin of Orlando, Florida says it has a very important role...

BASKIN: Its function is to take iodine from foods we eat and convert that to thyroid hormone, and then put that hormone back into the bloodstream, where it circulates through literally every cell of the body.

Thyroid hormone then controls the metabolism of each cell. It tells each cell how much calories and oxygen to use up to produce energy. And different cells respond differently. Fingernails will grow faster if they get more thyroid. Hair will grow faster or slower, depending upon how much thyroid there is. The heart will beat faster if it's given extra thyroid, so each cell in the body responds differently, depending on what each cell does, to thyroid hormone.

NEMA: Too much thyroid hormone can lead to heart problems, too little can leave you listless and depressed. I'm Steve Girard at The Heart of the Matter.