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Ten Signs That You May Have a Thyroid Problem

  It is believed that up to 59 million people suffer from a thyroid problem in the USA alone, yet estimates suggest that up to 60% of sufferers are not even aware that they have an issue.  This is believed to be because the signs and symptoms are so common they are easily ignored, misdiagnosed or attributed to every day problems we all suffer from.  If you have a thyroid problem it can affect all parts of your wellbeing and it is important that you are aware of the symptoms so that you can ask your doctor to test your thyroid and discuss treatment options.
 

What is the Thyroid?

Thyroid Gland

The thyroid is a small, butterfly shaped gland in the neck that is essential for regulating the body's metabolism, or the way that it produces energy.  Its role contributes to the effective functioning of a number of important organs, including the brain, liver, kidneys and skin.  It also affects critical functions of the body, such as energy levels and heart rate. Put simply, your body's overall health is hugely dependent on a healthy, functioning thyroid.  If there is something wrong, it can affect your emotional, physical and mental wellbeing in numerous ways.

  photo credit: www.thyroidmercola.com
 

What Sort of Thyroid Problems Can Develop?

Thyroid problems are very common in both men and women and include goiters, thyroid nodules, thyroiditis and thyroid cancer. However, the most common types of thyroid complaints are hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, and hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid. An underactive thyroid will make sufferers feel tired and slow, while an overactive thyroid causes feelings of restlessness, irritation and insomnia amongst other symptoms.

 

So What Signs Should I Look You For?

There are numerous indicators of an underlying thyroid problem.  Here is our list of ten signs you should look out for:

Thyroid Top 10 Problems

  photo credit: top10homeremedies.com              
 

1. Do You Feel Unusually Tired?

Feelings of exhaustion and unexplained levels of fatigue are common indicators of a thyroid problem. If you feel tired even though you have had a good night's sleep, it could be a sign of a underactive thyroid.

Alternatively, if you are suffering from an overactive thyroid, you may find it difficult to sleep at night and 'switch off', leaving you feeling tired and restless during the day.

 

2. Have You Noticed a Sudden Change in Body Weight?

Unexplained weight gain can be a sign of an underactive thyroid.  If you put on weight despite following a healthy living plan, it may indicate low levels of thyroid hormones. This can ensure the body is unable to 'burn' all the calories it consumes.

On the other hand, if you find you are losing weight despite not having made any other lifestyle changes, it could indicate that you have an overactive thyroid which is producing more hormones than the body needs. This can also lead to a decreased appetite.

 

3. Are You Feeling Depressed or Anxious?

Depressed man

Are you experiencing depression, anxiety and panic attacks and can't explain why? These can also point to a thyroid problem.

Depression is linked to an underactive thyroid, while feelings of anxiety and sudden panic are common consequences of an Overactive Thyroid.

Depression and Anxiety can be caused by a number of factors and do not indicate a thyroid problem on their own, but you should look out for the signs.

 

4. Have You Noticed a Change in Your Menstrual Cycle?

Women often experience issues related to their menstrual pattern if they have a thyroid problem. More prolonged periods including heavier bleeding and greater pain are often signs of an underactive Thyroid. Alternatively, shorter, more infrequent periods with blood flow can be attributed to an overactive thyroid.

 

5. Are You Experiencing Unexplained Hair Loss?

Hair loss from the head as well as the eyebrows and other body parts can be a symptom of an underactive thyroid.  Hair may also feel dry, coarse and brittle. Thinning hair around the crown and a dry, flaky scalp can also be signs of an overactive thyroid.

 
 

6. Are You Feeling Overly Hot or Cold?

The thyroid contributes to the regulation of the body's temperature, so feelings of hot or cold which are not seemingly related to air temperature can be a sign of a problem. If you consistently have cold hands and feet or find yourself feeling chilly even when in a warm room, you could be suffering from an underactive thyroid.

Alternatively, if you find yourself sweating excessively or unable to tolerate normal levels of heat, it could be that you have an overactive thyroid.

 

7. Do You Have Discomfort in Your Throat?

Sore throat

The thyroid is located in the neck, so direct pain can result from it swelling or becoming enlarged. An enflamed thyroid is called a goiter and can be caused by either an underactive thyroid or an overactive thyroid. 

Other symptoms associated with the inflammation of the thyroid include a croaky or hoarse voice or an increase in snoring.

  photo credit: www.webmd.com
 

8. Do You Have Problems Digesting Food?

Digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea or Irritable Bowel Syndrome may all relate to a badly functioning thyroid. The thyroid hormones directly impact bowel movements and inhibit the body's ability to process food and create waste. If you have a healthy diet but suffer from severe constipation, it could be linked to an underactive thyroid. Diarrhea and IBS, on the other hand, can point to an overactive thyroid.

 

9. Is Your Skin Irritable?

The hormones released by the thyroid gland directly control the functioning of the skin.  This means that skin complaints can often be attributed to underlying thyroid problems. If you have an underactive thyroid, your skin may change colour slightly, become drier and more scaly, and eczema can appear.  

If you have an overactive thyroid, you tend to sweat more and your skin can become irritated and itchy.

 

10. Do You Have Pain or Weakness In Your Muscles and Joints?

Muscle Pain

If you have unexplained weakness in your arms and legs, or noticeable aches and pains in your muscles and joints, you could have an underlying thyroid problem.

Cramps, stiffness and general joint pain in the arms and legs are all symptoms related to an underactive thyroid. 

Muscle weakness, particularly in the thighs and upper arms are signs of an overactive thyroid.  If you find it difficult to climb the stairs, lift your arms over your head or hold your hand steady, you could have an underlying issue.

  photo credit: sixninepixels, freedigitalphotos.net    
  See our Symptoms Checklist!
  So there are a number of signs that indicate a thyroid problem and if you are experiencing some of them, it may be worth asking your Doctor for a diagnosis. Compare any symptoms you may have with our checklist below and make sure you look after your health.
  Sources: top10homeremedies.com and www.webmd.com
   
Underactive Thyroid Overactive Thyroid   
Fatigue and Tiredness Difficulty Sleeping
Weight Gain Weight Loss
Depression Nerves and Anxiety
Longer, heavier periods Lighter, shorter periods  
Cold hands and feet Excessive Sweating 
Dry, discoloured skin Itchy skin
Neck discomfort Neck discomfort
Constipation Diarrhea or IBS
Cramps Muscle weakness
Joint pain & stiffness Shaky hands
 
Sources: top10homeremedies.com and www.webmd.com
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