The thyroid, is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, which produces hormones that are important for metabolism and brain activity. Signs and symptoms of a thyroid problem are often vague, but if you notice any of the following signs persisting, or have more than one of the symptoms, endocrinologists recommend consulting a doctor. This is to request a simple blood test to determine your hormone levels.
When your thyroid is dysfunctional, it can cause vast array of health issues. That is why it is important to determine if you have any of the following common symptoms that might indicate a thyroid issue.
1. Changes in Bowel Movement
Frequent constipation could be a sign of an underactive thyroid. Thyroid hormones participate in keeping your digestive track running. If you produce too little, things get backed up.
While an overactive thyroid can create the opposite effect. You will experience a regular bowel movement, this is not diarrhea, but the need to go more frequently, because everything is sped up.
2. Changes in Menstrual Cycle
Both overactive and underactive thyroids can disrupt a women’s menstrual cycles. The nature of the changes depend on whether an individual is suffering from hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
Women with underactive thyroids may experience a lighter than normal periods, and they may also miss periods altogether. While an overactive thyroid can cause heavier than normal periods, or periods which usually last several days longer than normal. The menstrual cycle itself may be short, and spotting can occur.
3. Changes in Weight
If you have tried every low-carb, low-fat and low-calorie diet with little weight loss success, then you might have hypothyroidism. An underactive thyroid gland slows down your metabolism to the point of ineffectualness.
With an overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism on the other hand, patients usually cannot gain weight no matter how much they eat. An overly active thyroids push your metabolism to warp speed, which causes your body to burn calories like rocket fuel. Many patients also experience unexplained weight loss.
4. Dry Skin
If your skin is dry and itchy, it can be symptoms of hypothyroidism. The change in the skin texture and appearance is probably due to slowed metabolism, which is caused by too little thyroid hormone production. This can also reduce sweating.
Skin without enough moisture can become flaky and dry. Likewise, your nails can become brittle and may develop ridges.
Feeling tired and having no energy are problems linked with lots of conditions, but they are strongly associated with hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a disorder that is the result of too little thyroid hormone.
If you are still tired in the morning or all day even after a full night’s sleep, that is a sign that your thyroid may be underactive. Too little thyroid hormone that is coursing through your cells and bloodstream means your muscles are not getting that get-going signal.
6. High Cholesterol
High levels of low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol that have not responded to exercise, diet or medication have been associated with hypothyroidism. Elevated levels of the bad cholesterol can due to an underactive thyroid.
Left untreated hypothyroidism can lead to heart problems, including heart failure or an enlarged heart.
7. Joint and Muscle Pain
Unexplained pains and aches in your muscles and joints, following no period of physical exertion, can be symptomatic of a thyroid condition. These pains can be intense, which might interfer with normal activities and inhibit the patient’s ability to perform movements within their normal ranges of motion.
These symptoms can also manifest as muscle weaknesses, which leads the specific muscle groups unable to carry normal workloads. Some individuals experience tremors in their hands, which can become severe. Swelling, pain and stiffness can also occur in your muscles and joints.
8. Swollen Neck
A visibly enlarged thyroid or swelling in your neck that leads to neck pain and a gravelly voice can indicate thyroid disease. This condition is called “neck goiter,” and it presents as a localized enlargement at the base of your neck, which affects the skin and surrounding tissues, protecting the actual thyroid gland.
But, the presence of a neck goiter does not necessarily mean that there is a problem with the thyroid itself. This type of swelling simply means that there is some underlying condition which is affecting the size of your thyroid and causing it to grow. If it occurs in isolation without the presence of other symptoms, it may not require treatment.
9. Thinning Hair
Thinning hair, in particular your eyebrows, is a common sign of thyroid disease. An overactive and underactive thyroid throws off your hair growth cycle.
Usually, most of your hair grows and a small portion rests. When thyroid hormones are imbalanced, too much hair rests at one time, this means hair looks thinner, according to EverydayHealth.com.
photo credit: massagemag