Many people have a thyroid problem – but the majority don’t know it yet.
The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck, is the master gland of metabolism. When your thyroid doesn’t function, it can affect every aspect of your health, and in particular, weight, depression and energy levels.
Since undiagnosed thyroid problems can dramatically increase your risk of obesity, heart disease, depression, anxiety, hair loss, sexual dysfunction, infertility and a host of other symptoms and health problems, it’s important that you don’t go undiagnosed.
You don’t need to have all of these symptoms in order to have a thyroid problem, but here are some of the most common signs that you may have a thyroid condition:
10. Muscle and Joint Pains, Carpal Tunnel/Tendonitis Problems.
Aches and pains in your muscles and joints, weakness in the arms and a tendency to develop carpal tunnel in the arms/hands, tarsal tunnel in the legs, and plantars fasciitis in the feet can all be symptoms of undiagnosed thyroid problems.
9. Neck Discomfort/Enlargement.
A feeling of swelling in the neck, discomfort with turtlenecks or neckties, a hoarse voice or a visibly enlarged thyroid can all be signs of a “goiter” — an enlarged thyroid gland that is a symptom of thyroid disease.
8. Hair/Skin Changes.
Hair and skin are particularly vulnerable to thyroid conditions, and in particular, hair loss is frequently associated with thyroid problems. With hypothyroidism, hair frequently becomes brittle, coarse and dry, while breaking off and falling out easily. Skin can become coarse, thick, dry, and scaly. In hypothyroidism, there is often an unusual loss of hair in the outer edge of the eyebrow. With hyperthyroidism, severe hair loss can also occur, and skin can become fragile and thin.
7. Bowel Problems.
Severe or long-term constipation is frequently associated with hypothyroidism, while diarrhoea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is associated with hyperthyroidism.
6. Menstrual Irregularities and Fertility Problems.
Heavier, more frequent and more painful periods are frequently associated with hypothyroidism, and shorter, lighter or infrequent menstruation can be associated with hyperthyroidism. Infertility can also be associated with undiagnosed thyroid conditions.
5. Family History.
If you have a family history of thyroid problems, you are at a higher risk of having a thyroid condition yourself. You may not always be aware of thyroid problems in your family, though, because among older people, it is often referred to as “gland trouble” or “goiter.” So pay attention to any discussions of glandular conditions or goiter or weight gain due to “a glandular problem,” as these may be indirect ways of referring to thyroid conditions.
4. Cholesterol Issues
High cholesterol, especially when it is not responsive to diet, exercise or cholesterol-lowering medication, can be a sign of undiagnosed hypothyroidism. Unusually low cholesterol levels may be a sign of hyperthyroidism.
3. Depression and Anxiety.
Depression or anxiety – including sudden onset of panic disorder – can be symptoms of thyroid disease. Hypothyroidism is most typically associated with depression, while hyperthyroidism is more commonly associated with anxiety or panic attacks. Depression that does not respond to antidepressants may also be a sign of an undiagnosed thyroid disorder.
2. Weight Changes.
You may be on a low-fat, low-calorie diet with a rigorous exercise program, but are failing to lose or gain any weight. Or you may have joined a diet program or support group, such as Weight Watchers, and you are the only one who isn’t losing any weight. Difficulty losing weight can be a sign of hypothyroidism. You may be losing weight while eating the same amount of food as usual – or even losing while eating more than normal. Unexplained weight changes and issues can be signs of both hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
Feeling exhausted when you wake up, feeling as if 8 or 10 hours of sleep a night is insufficient or being unable to function all day without a nap can all be signs of thyroid problems. (With hyperthyroidism, you may also have night-time insomnia that leaves you exhausted during the day.)
Is your thyroid making you miserable?
The list of possible symptoms of an underactive thyroid is frighteningly long, and there’s bound to be at least a couple of signs that everyone can relate to. But if you are suffering from any of them, it’s worth getting your thyroid levels checked. The good news is if you do happen to have an underactive thyroid, you don’t just have to like it or lump it – treatment is available.
You’re always tired, even though you get a good night’s sleep. You can’t lose weight, despite sticking rigidly to a diet. Your skin is horribly dry, your hair is thinning, and your memory is completely shot. You may think these symptoms are part of getting older and you just have to put up with them. But they could be due to a medical problem – one that can be easily fixed.
Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, is surprisingly common. It’s thought that at least 10% of women over 60 years of age have it, while some United States studies suggest up to a quarter of all women will develop it. oost sufferers start to show signs in their forties but because the symptoms often come on gradually and may not seem to be major, many women don’t do anything about it.
WHAT IS THE THYROID?
It is a small, butterfly-shaped gland wrapped around the windpipe at the base of the neck. It produces hormones that control your metabolism. These hormones do a variety of jobs, including:
- maintaining a constant body temperature
- Helping your body to use protein to grow and repair itself
- Getting rid of waste from your cells
- Aiding your body’s immune system
- Stimulating the flow of blood around your body
- Helping your organs and muscles to use oxygen
- Regulating energy production
The symptoms may also be associated with other ailments, so the fact they’re caused by the thyroid may not be picked
Hypothyroidism can cause your eyebrows to thin, and you may lose the outer third of them To produce hormones, the thyroid needs fuel from your food in the form of minerals like iodine, tyrosine and selenium.
Could it be your thyroid that’s making your life a misery? Ask yourself these quick questions:
- Do you feel the cold much more than you used to?
- Do you have to write things down because otherwise you’d forget them?
- Have you gained weight even though you’re eating healthily?
- Do your family complain that you’re grumpy and irritable much of the time?
- Does your partner complain that you’ve lost all interest in sex?
- Do you often feel miserable or anxious for no obvious reason?
- Do your muscles and joints ache or feel stiff much of the time?
If you’ve answered yes to some or all of these questions, you may want to consider taking a thyroid test. While your symptoms could be due to a variety of factors, an underactive thyroid may possibly be the cause.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF HYPERTHYROIDISM?
An overactive thyroid is less common than an underactive one. Symptoms may include:
- Feeling overheated a lot of the time
- Heart palpitations
- Hair loss
- Increased bowel movements
- muscle weakness
- Protruding eyes or staring gaze
- Trembling hands
- Warm, moist skin
- Weight loss
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR THYROID DOESN’T WORK PROPERLY?
There are two common thyroid disorders – hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). Hypothyroidism appears to affect more than twice as many people as hyperthyroidism and both conditions are up to 10 times more likely in women than men. Having an underactive thyroid causes levels of important hormones to drop and as a result you can suffer from some of the following symptoms:
- Foggy thinking and problems concentrating
- memory loss
- High cholesterol
- Dry skin
- Irregular periods
- Food cravings
- Weight gain
- Depression and anxiety
- Excessive tiredness
- Cold hands and feet
- Nasal stuffiness and recurrent colds
- Sensitivity to sunlight
- The need to urinate in the night
- Pins and needles in the hands and fingers
- Loss or thinning of hair
- Tendency to bruise easily
- Low sex drive
- Decreased sweating
- Puffy face and eyelids
- muscle pain
Talk to the team at Naturally Healthy Today – Hamilton New Zealand 07 958 3845 – or e mail [email protected]