The small butterfly shape part on the base of the neck is the thyroid gland and it is very small yet playing a big part in how our body works. It directly affects our most important body functions like coordinating energy, regulating our metabolism, our body temperature, body weight, menstrual cycles, breathing, nervous system, muscle strength, and our heartbeat. Thyroid work is to produce hormones T3 (Triiodothyronine) & T4 (Thyroxine). Hyperthyroidism is an overactive thyroid that produces excess or too many hormones that make the body use energy too fast. Hypothyroidism is the underactive thyroid that makes the body to use energy too slow.
It is very important for the thyroid to keep the level of these 2 hormones balanced, not too low or too high. If the balance is not maintained the thyroid can cause problems for anyone but it likely affects 8 times more women than men. The thyroid gland regulates hormones, probably the reason behind affecting women, as we all know women are hormonal beings. If you notice any of the following changes please get your thyroid checked out by the doctor.
1.Irregular menstrual cycle or fertility issues
If you are a woman who has been struggling with the above two issues, this could be your unsuspected problem. It was discovered that women who have thyroid problems get irregular menstrual cycles. These menstrual cycles will either be heavy & frequent due to underactive thyroid or light & missed due to overactive thyroid. As a woman, you would understand that you need to understand your cycle so you can effectively be able to track ovulation for getting pregnant. When it comes to men, it can cause their testosterone levels to drop resulting in infertility problems as well.
2. Weight gain or loss
The thyroid helps to control metabolism so if it doesn’t work properly then your metabolism will slow down making you burn fewer calories. If your eating or exercise habits have not changed in any way but you experience weight gain then this might be the underactive thyroid problem that needs your doctor’s attention. Losing weight is an overactive thyroid problem whereby your metabolism is too quick with more bowel movements as one of the symptoms.
3. Feeling cold or sensitive to heat
When you are unable to control your body temperature by still feeling cold even when you are wearing too many clothes then you might be having an issue with an underactive thyroid. This happens even when you keep your room temperature hot but the coldness still persists. If it’s not just a normal cold that can affect anyone then it could be thyroid. The symptom contrary to that would be sensitive to heat which is the result of an overactive thyroid.
4. Unexplained Tiredness/fatigue
Both overactive or underactive thyroid can be the reason for the fatigue amongst other issues that might cause it. When you get enough sleep or rest but the end result is unexplained tiredness then consider getting your thyroid checked.
5. Problematic joints
Ever thought you have arthritis but you found out you don’t? Generally thyroid either overactive or underactive can cause muscle problems. Some of the symptoms are swelling of hands and feet with stiffness and pain. Muscle cramping, weakness, and hand tremors can also be experienced.
6. Sore throat or Hoarse voice
Inflammation and swelling of the throat can be the result of thyroid not working properly and waking up with a hoarse voice.
7. Trouble with Remembering or Concentration
Sudden and severe memory loss can be signaling an underactive thyroid. It can impair some kinds of memory.
8. Feeling depressed
Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid is associated with depression or feeling down. About 64% of women who suffer from these conditions report feeling of depression connecting to the decreased satisfaction in sex life. Only 57% of men suffer from Hypothyroidism. Some of these patients would also suffer from anxiety.
9. Itchy & dry Skin
Please note that not everyone with skin issues necessarily means they suffer from thyroid. The skin condition can be the result of other things like a weak immune system or products. Specifically, the red swollen rash known as the myxedema is the one associated with an underactive thyroid.
People with hypothyroidism commonly complain about constipation. More people with thyroid problems have these issues rather than the few that have normal thyroid.
11. Hair loss
An underactive thyroid can cause coarsening of the hair and ultimately hair loss. It affects hair follicles by stopping them to regenerate because these hair follicles are regulated by thyroid hormone.
12. Heart palpitations
Pounding of the heart or fast and irregular heartbeat may signal hyperthyroidism. Too much hormone leads the heart to beat faster than normal.
13. Sleep problems
Hyperthyroidism increases insomnia. It overstimulates the nervous system making it difficult to fall asleep.
The above symptoms are common for any other ordinary issue and because thyroid mirrors the symptoms of a lot of other health issues, that’s what makes it easily unsuspected. A blood test is done to detect if you have a thyroid problem or not. It can be very subtle but harmful at a later stage. Other risk factors are if you are simply a woman, if you have a family history of thyroid, older because of the risk increase with age or if you have autoimmune conditions. The bottom line is, the thyroid gland produces the 2 most important hormones that control every cell in our body and it’s in our best interest to keep it healthy.
**INVEST IN YOUR HEALTH & ENJOY A LONG HEALTHY LIFE**