Thyroid disorders are now known to be surprisingly common. In fact, an estimated 20 million Americans suffer from some type of thyroid disorder, and many are unaware of it due to the incomprehensiveness of their thyroid disorder symptoms. With so many who remain undiagnosed, it’s important to become knowledgeable about identifying the tell-tale signs of thyroid dysfunction. Having a clear understanding of thyroid disorder symptoms is necessary for detecting the condition early and getting the proper treatment.
Below are 10 symptoms and details of common indicators of thyroid dysfunction. Though not a complete list, we hope this can help you decide to seek professional advice if you feel you may have a thyroid disorder.
What Is Thyroid Disease?
The thyroid is the gland responsible for producing hormones that help regulate metabolism, heart rate, and other bodily functions. When the thyroid gland is not functioning properly, it can lead to a variety of health issues. Thyroid disorder or thyroid disease is a general term used when the thyroid gland, which is located in the front of the neck, becomes either overactive (HYPO-thyroid) or underactive (HYPER-thyroid).
There are two main types of thyroid disorders: hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is caused by an overactive thyroid that produces too many hormones. Hypothyroidism is caused by an underactive thyroid that does not produce enough hormones. There are also other types such as thyroiditis and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Complications of Untreated Thyroid Disorder
It’s important to have a properly working thyroid because if it’s left untreated, it can lead to a number of serious health complications. These can include obesity, infertility, heart disease, and in extreme cases, death. It is important to seek medical attention if you suspect you may have a thyroid disorder, as early detection and treatment can help prevent long-term complications.
It is also important to note that thyroid disorders are not always easy to diagnose. Not all symptoms are indicative of a thyroid disorder, and often a physician will need to do additional tests such as a blood test or an ultrasound on the thyroid gland to determine if a thyroid disorder is present.
Thyroid Disorder Symptoms & Signs
While not all people who have a thyroid disorder will experience the same symptoms, there are some common signs of the condition. These include changes in energy levels, weight, hair and skin, and mood. Other rare symptoms may also be present. Below are the 10 most common thyroid disorder symptoms you can look for if you suspect you have thyroid disease.
Unexplained weight gain or weight loss is one of the most common thyroid disorder symptoms. People with an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) often experience rapid and unexpected weight loss, while those with an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) tend to gain weight. With hypothyroid it’s also hard to lose weight. If you’ve been eating well and exercising but aren’t seeing a change, it could be a thyroid issue.
In addition, the hormones produced by the thyroid can affect your appetite, making it difficult to manage your weight if it is fluctuating. If you have noticed a sudden change in your weight, it is important to speak to your doctor.
Effects On Hair and Skin
Hair and skin can also be affected by a thyroid disorder. Has your skin noticeably changed from what it used to be? People with an overactive thyroid may experience hair loss, dry skin, or hair that is brittle and breaks easily. This person might see way more hair on their bathroom floor than usual.
Those with an underactive thyroid may experience an increase in facial hair, dry or itchy skin, and skin that is pale and thick. Some with hypothyroidism may also say their skin is “scaly”. If even the best lotions aren’t giving your skin relief, maybe it’s time to see a doctor.
Irritability and Anxiety
People with thyroid disorders often have increased irritability and anxiety. An issue that seems small to most is a bigger deal to those with irritability problems. And those with anxiety and irritability due to thyroid disorder symptoms can range from feeling generally stressed to having more extreme panic attacks. No one should have to continue living with anxiety. If you are feeling unusually stressed or anxious, it is important to talk to your doctor about potential causes.
Joint and Muscle Pain
Joint and muscle pain are also common thyroid disorder symptoms. They’re also just symptoms of getting old. So which one is it?
People with an overactive thyroid may experience joint pain and swelling, while those with an underactive thyroid often experience joint stiffness and muscle soreness. If you are experiencing unexplained joint or muscle pain, it could be other disorders such as fibromyalgia. But by talking to your doctor, he or she should be able to figure out pretty quickly if you have a thyroid disorder or if it’s something else.
Problems with Concentration Linked to Thyroid Disorder
Those with thyroid disorders may experience difficulty concentrating. This can be due to the fact that the hormones produced by the thyroid help regulate the body’s ability to think and process information. It can be as simple as not being able to focus on a conversation. Do your friends and family notice that you’re not as focused as you used to be? Maybe it’s time to see a doctor and get checked out.
One area often overlooked is its effect on memory. Many individuals with thyroid disorders experience cognitive difficulties, including problems with memory recall, concentration, and mental clarity. These thyroid disorder symptoms can be frustrating and debilitating for those affected by the disease.
The lack of sufficient thyroid hormone production in the body slows down metabolism and affects brain function. This can result in forgetfulness, difficulty processing information, and even confusion. Additionally, studies have shown that untreated or poorly managed hypothyroidism may lead to long-term cognitive impairments if left unaddressed.
Digestive issues can be a sign of a thyroid disorder. People with an overactive thyroid may experience diarrhea, constipation, or abdominal bloating, while people with an underactive thyroid may experience nausea, loss of appetite, and stomach pain. If you are having digestive issues, it is important to speak to your doctor.
Changes in Menstrual Cycles
What are the symptoms of thyroid problems in females? Changes in menstrual cycles are a key one. Some thyroid disorder symptoms in females may present as shorter or longer menstrual cycles, or heavier or lighter than usual periods. Thyroid disease can also cause periods to stop for several months or longer, a condition called amenorrhea.
Changes in the menses cycle due to thyroid disease are a key reason why fertility and pregnancy are affected.
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Other Rare Symptoms of Thyroid Disorder
Though not as common, there are some other rare symptoms of thyroid disorder. These can include difficulty sleeping, changes in vision, and changes in voice. You can also have high blood pressure or hypertension, and even hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
Of course, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to speak to your doctor to determine their cause. Making sure to stay on top of any symptoms is your job. And your doctor can run a thyroid test to determine if a thyroid disorder is present and can recommend treatment options for how to control the thyroid in females or males as necessary. Having a clear understanding of thyroid disorder symptoms can help you make an informed decision about seeking professional advice.
Recognizing thyroid disorder symptoms is crucial for early detection and effective treatment. We hope this list of helpful indicators will inspire individuals to be vigilant about their health and seek medical attention if necessary. Ignoring or dismissing these symptoms can lead to serious complications and hinder one’s overall well-being. By being aware of these warning signs, individuals can take control of their health and work with healthcare professionals to ensure timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Don’t underestimate the importance of knowing your body and taking action – prioritize your health today!
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