We often shrug off small problems, thinking that they will go away eventually. While most of them do, some of them could be symptoms of more serious issues, which is why it’s important that you pay attention to the signals your body gives you. A thyroid problem is one such serious issue.
Introducing the thyroid gland.
The thyroid is a small gland in the throat that produces hormones that regulate metabolism, temperature, and heartbeat. If this gland isn’t functioning properly, one of two things can happen:
• Hyperthyroidism: The thyroid gland becomes overactive, producing too much thyroid hormone (TH).
• Hypothyroidism: The thyroid gland becomes sluggish, producing too little TH.
Here are 12 symptoms that can help you identify a thyroid problem.
1. You’re irritable or depressed, even though you haven’t been through a breakup.
The thyroid gland plays a major part in determining your mood. An under-active thyroid can deplete the levels of the happy hormone serotonin in your brain, leaving you sad and depressed. By contrast, an over-active thyroid can leave you feeling anxious, restless and irritable.
2. You’re constipated, which is no fun. At all.
Since the thyroid gland regulates metabolism, digestion is one of the first things to slow down if the gland isn’t functioning properly. Constipation is one of the top three markers of a thyroid problem.
3. You’re even more lazy and sluggish than usual.
We all hate getting out of bed in the morning, but if it becomes absolutely unbearable then it’s a sign of an under-active thyroid. Hypothyroidism slows down your bodily functions to the extent that you feel tired all the time and often feel sleepy during the day.
4. Your skin is dry, your nails are brittle and your hair is falling. What could be worse?
A combination of hair loss, brittle nails and dry skin could mean your thyroid gland isn’t producing enough TH. A deficiency of this hormone interrupts your hair growth cycle and causes your skin to dry up, because it slows down metabolism and prevents sweating.
5. You’re putting on weight and you haven’t been cheating on your diet – much!
Weight gain can be caused by many factors, but weight gain that occurs without any significant change in diet or lifestyle could be a sign of a thyroid problem. People with an under-active thyroids often gain weight suddenly, or can’t seem to lose weight no matter how much they work out.
6. Your libido has gone out the window and your partner is about to leave with it.
Lack of TH dampens sexual desire to begin with and the other symptoms like fatigue, weight gain and depression make it worse.
7. You get random muscle pains and not because of your usual clumsiness.
If you experience inexplicable bouts of pain, numbness or tightness in your arms, hands, legs, or feet, it could be your thyroid slacking off. Lack of TH causes nerve damage over time, resulting in seemingly random tingles and twinges.
8. Your heart flutters, but not because you’re in love or anything.
If it often feels like your heart is skipping a beat, or if you can feel your heartbeat in your pulse points, it could be due to hyperthyroidism. When excess TH floods your system, it can cause heart palpitations.
9. Your head is fuzzy even though you haven’t even been drinking.
A fuzzy head and inability to concentrate both point to an under-active thyroid. Many women associate mental fogginess with menopause, when it’s really the thyroid that’s the culprit.
10. Your blood pressure is high and you can’t figure out why.
If you have high blood pressure and neither diet nor exercise are making any difference to it, then it could be due to a sluggish thyroid. Be sure to get yourself checked, because hypothyroidism can raise your cholesterol levels and lead to an enlarged heart or heart failure.
11. Your appetite has changed and your taste buds are out of whack.
If your sense of taste and smell are out of order, it could be a sign of hypothyroidism. However, if you suddenly eat a lot more than you used to then it’s more likely to be hyperthyroidism. Fortunately, your hyper metabolism will prevent you from gaining weight, and as lovely as that sounds it’s important that you get treated for your condition.
12. You have an actual pain in your neck and not a metaphoric one.
Since the thyroid gland is located in the throat, it’s not unusual for people to experience problems in the neck region. Lumps in the throat, a changed voice and goitre (swelling in the neck) are all symptoms of thyroid disorders.