Approximately one in 20 people will experience a problem with their thyroid at some point during their life. Furthermore, women are ten times more likely to be affected by a thyroid disorder than men. Could you be living with a thyroid condition, and not even know about it?
Don’t go undiagnosed.
It’s extremely important to stay on top of your thyroid health, as problems with your thyroid can be very demanding on your organs. Not to mention, the symptoms can significantly impact your quality of life.
The symptoms of thyroid disease vary from person to person. Some symptoms hit suddenly while others can come on slowly.
This can make it difficult to detect a thyroid condition. However, with the correct education and more awareness around this disease, you can get on top of your thyroid health.
- 1 What is a thyroid?
- 2 What types of thyroid problems are there?
- 3 10 signs something could be wrong with your thyroid
- 4 1. Weight loss or weight gain
- 5 2. Toilet troubles
- 6 3. Exhaustion and interrupted sleep
- 7 4. Mental health problems
- 8 5. Brain fog
- 9 6. Feeling cold or hot
- 10 7. Damaged hair, nails and skin
- 11 8. Infertility in women
- 12 9. Muscle aches and cramps
- 13 10. Abnormal heart rate
What is a thyroid?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland found in the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. This gland produces thyroid hormones, which travel through your bloodstream and into your body.
It’s no surprise the thyroid is extremely important for many bodily functions. It produces the hormone that controls your metabolism, energy levels, digestive function, mood and more. Interestingly, these hormones also determine height in children.
What types of thyroid problems are there?
The three main types of problems associated with the thyroid include hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism and thyroid cancer.
Hyperthyroidism happens when the thyroid produces too much of the thyroid hormone. On the other hand, hypothyroidism happens when the thyroid produces too little of the hormone.
Thyroid cancer happens when some of the thyroid cells become cancerous. It can usually be treated successfully if caught in the early phases of development.
10 signs something could be wrong with your thyroid
Thyroid problems can be serious. If you are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms of a thyroid condition, consult your doctor. Thyroid problems can be treated in a number of ways, including hormone replacement therapy. A medical professional will be able to assess your symptoms and prescribe a course of treatment.
Here are ten symptoms that could suggest something is wrong with your thyroid.
1. Weight loss or weight gain
If you’ve experienced a dramatic change in your weight without altering your diet or fitness regime, your thyroid could be to blame.
An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) slows down all your bodily functions, including metabolism.
When your metabolism slows down, it uses fewer calories for daily activities, causing the body to store more calories as fat. This combination ultimately results in weight gain.
On the other hand, an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) speeds everything up, resulting in weight loss. Unfortunately, women often see weight loss as a good thing and don’t consider treatment. However, an overactive thyroid is hazardous for the body as it can increase heart rate, cause heart palpitations, and more.
Whether you have an overactive or underactive thyroid, both can be harmful for your body. Be sure to consult your doctor.
2. Toilet troubles
The gut is another system affected by the thyroid. If your gut slows down due to an underactive thyroid, you may become constipated.
Alternatively, if an overactive thyroid speeds up your gut, you might feel the need to visit the toilet more often.
3. Exhaustion and interrupted sleep
Is your daily routine wearing you out?
Feeling exhausted after everyday activities when you didn’t feel that way beforemay be a sign of both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
When the thyroid is in overdrive, the body is also working overtime. Even if you are sitting most of the day, your body is working hard inside and you may even feel the jitters. This can be very draining on the body and eventually, you may find yourself feeling extremely fatigued.
Hyperthyroidism can also make falling asleep, and staying asleep, very difficult due to a racing heart or feelings of anxiety.
When the thyroid is producing less of the thyroid hormone, it’s slowing everything down—including the body’s’ ability to control energy. Daily activities such as work or cooking dinner can make you feel extremely tired.
4. Mental health problems
With all these hormonal changes going on inside your body, it’s natural that your mood may be affected too.
Hypothyroidism is known to contribute towards feelings of depression. The combination of feeling fatigued, becoming less active, and gaining weight are major factors towards poor mental health.
People with hyperthyroidism can suffer from mental health problems such as anxiety and panic attacks. An overactive thyroid hormone can make people feel like their brain is working overtime, resulting in mental chaos and stress.
5. Brain fog
Hypothyroidism can also lead to cognitive problems. The under-active thyroid hormone can slow down the brain functions, making you feel spaced out, forgetful, unfocused, and confused.
Unfortunately, difficulties thinking clearly can have major impacts on your lifestyle. It can decrease your work performance, reduce your desire to attend social gatherings, and affect your mood.
6. Feeling cold or hot
The thyroid hormone turns up the heat on brown fat. Brown fat helps the body keep warm in cooler climates. So, if your thyroid is producing less of the thyroid hormone, you may feel colder than normal.
When the metabolic rate decreases, the amount of heat the body creates also decreases. On the other hand, when the thyroid produces too much of the thyroid hormone, it revs up the heat, making you feel extra hot and sweaty.
7. Damaged hair, nails and skin
Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can have harsh impacts to hair, skin and nails.
Fine, thinning hair and severe hair loss is associated with hyperthyroidism. An overactive thyroid also increases skin sensitivity and can cause unusual rashes.
If you’ve noticed extremely dry and scaly skin, especially on the elbows, knees, and heels, an underactive thyroid could be to blame. Hypothyroidism can also cause hair to dry out and break easily, as well as nails to become thin and brittle.
8. Infertility in women
Irregular or absent periods are one of the first signs of fertility issues, and hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can both contribute.
Hypothyroidism can cause heavy, painful, and more frequent menstruation, while hyperthyroidism can cause lighter, infrequent periods.
The change to a normal menstrual cycle messes with ovulation, making it difficult for eggs to be fertilised.
9. Muscle aches and cramps
Muscle aches and pains are normal after a hard workout, however if you’re feeling sore for no reason, you could have an underactive thyroid.
When hypothyroidism slows down the metabolism, it also promotes the metabolic system to use muscle for energy. This breakdown of muscle tissue can create an achy feeling throughout the body.
Studies show that 34% of people with hypothyroidism also deal with the added pain of muscle cramps.
10. Abnormal heart rate
The link between the thyroid and heart is alarming for those who have a thyroid problem.
Whether you have an overactive or underactive thyroid, it affects the amount of thyroid hormones your organs receive.
If you have an overactive thyroid producing more hormones, your heart rate may speed up. If you have an underactive thyroid producing less of the hormone, your heart rate will likely be slower than normal.
It’s extremely important to monitor your blood pressure and see your doctor if you have any concerns about your heart rate.