The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck, produces hormones essential for metabolism and brain activity. Symptoms of a thyroid problem are often vague, but if you notice any of the following signs persisting, or have more than one, see a doctor.
#1 Sudden Weight Loss
If you’ve tried every low-fat, low-carb, low-calorie diet with little weight loss success, you might have hypothyroidism.
With an overactive thyroid, or hyperthyroidism, patients usually cannot gain weight no matter how much they eat. This is because overly active thyroids push metabolisms to warp speed, causing the body to burn calories like rocket fuel. Many patients also experience dramatic and unexplained weight loss.
If you have unexplained weight changes, get your thyroid checked.
#2 Always Feeling Tired
Feeling fatigued, exhausted, tired and having little or no energy during the day are common issues often associated with thyroid problems.
Some people may not be able to carry out daily activities without a nap or short breaks. These can all be signs of thyroid trouble, especially if it is quite different from your past level of fitness or energy.
With hyperthyroidism, you may not be able to sleep well at night, leaving you exhausted during the day. With hypothyroidism, you may sleep at night but still feel tired in the morning or even all day.
If you feel tired all the time, it’s time to consult your doctor for proper diagnosis.
#3 Unexplained Panic Attacks
If you have symptoms of depression, anxiety and panic disorder that do not respond to medicines and therapies, they can be signs of an underlying thyroid disorder – hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
Reduced thyroid hormone production has a direct impact on the level of “feel good” serotonin in the brain. Due to this, a person may go through mood swings, mild to severe depression, or have panic attacks without any reason.
Although depression or anxiety can indicate thyroid disease, these symptoms alone are not enough to conclude that you are suffering from a thyroid disorder.
#4 Menstrual Problems
Heavier, more frequent, prolonged and more painful periods are usually linked with hypothyroidism. On the other hand, shorter, lighter, infrequent or absent periods are linked with hyperthyroidism. Infertility can also be due to undiagnosed thyroid conditions. It is advisable to consult a gynecologist.
#5 Sudden Hair Loss
The hair and skin often show the first signs of thyroid problems, including symptoms such as dry hair, loss of hair, scaly skin, or excessively dry skin. Normal, regulated hair growth is actually dependent on the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, and problems with thyroid function can cause balding of the head in both men and women, as well as the loss of body hair.
If you are concerned about the amount of hair you are losing, get your thyroid checked and opt for proper treatment.
#6 Too Hot And Too Cold
A change in the level of the thyroid hormones can disrupt the ability to regulate body temperature. Having cold hands and feet, or feeling cold all the time despite being in a warm room, can be due to hypothyroidism. On the other hand, hyperthyroidism can prompt excessive sweating and an inability to tolerate heat.
#7 Discomfort In The Neck
Swelling in the neck or a visibly enlarged thyroid that leads to neck pain and a gravelly voice can indicate thyroid disease. This condition is known as a “neck goiter,” and it typically presents as a localised enlargement at the base of the neck, affecting the skin and surrounding tissues which protect the actual thyroid gland.
#8 Bowel Issues
If you have digestive problems like constipation, diarrhoea or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it may be due to an underlying thyroid problem. Severe or long-term constipation, even with adequate fibre intake, has been found to be linked with hypothyroidism, while diarrhoea or IBS can be a sign of hyperthyroidism.
#9 Unexplained Aches And Pains
These pains can be intense and unrelenting, interfering with normal activities and inhibiting the patient’s ability to perform movements and actions within their normal ranges of motion.
These symptoms can also manifest as muscle weaknesses, leading specific muscle groups suddenly unable to bear normal workloads. Some people experience tremors in their hands, which can become severe. Pain, swelling and stiffness can also occur in muscles and joints.
Text: Bauer/ Good Health/ Additional Reporting: Shenielle Aloysis