10 Signs You Have a Thyroid Disorder

10 Signs You Have a Thyroid Disorder

thyroid disorderHealth

The thyroid gland is one that not many people pay particular attention to. The brain, lungs, heart, liver, and other vital organs generally demand more concern. However, this gland is enormously important to our health, until we develop a thyroid disorder

The gland is no longer than 2 inches and is located in the front of the throat, slightly below the Adam’s apple. It consists of two sides (lobes) that lie on both sides of the windpipe, connected by a strip of tissue called the isthmus. The thyroid produces two primary hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). When either hormone levels are too high or too low, adverse health conditions can surface.

So, what does the thyroid do exactly? Well, many different things. The butterfly-shaped thyroid gland plays essential roles in breathing, body weight, muscle strength, central and peripheral nervous systems, body temperature, cholesterol levels, heart rate, menstrual cycles, etc.

Since the symptoms of a thyroid disorder can be inconspicuous, it is sometimes necessary to check its hormonal levels through tests available at most health clinics. That said, there are sure signs that can indicate a thyroid disorder.

Ten Signs You Might Have a Thyroid Disorder

thyroid disorder

1. Fatigue

Fatigue is a symptom that generally encompasses feelings of tiredness and exhaustion. Hypothyroidism – low levels of hormones in the blood – may be a potential cause of fatigue. Consistent feelings of tiredness are often diagnosed as symptoms of chronic fatigue, which may also be a symptom of a thyroid disorder. In other cases, fatigue as a symptom may be quite subtle in nature.

2. Weight gain

A sudden, unexplainable gain in weight can be a telltale sign of a thyroid condition. Generally, weight gain is the byproduct of low levels of hormones (hypothyroidism). Conversely, elevated levels of thyroid hormone, called hyperthyroidism, may cause unanticipated periods of weight loss. Of the two disorders, hypothyroidism is far more common.

3. Irregular heart rate

As mentioned, thyroid hormones affect several vital organs. When thyroid hormone levels are too low, this may cause the heart to beat too slow. When hormonal levels are elevated, heart rate may become uncharacteristically fast. As a result, one’s blood pressure levels often become erratic. Sometimes, alterations in heart rate create noticeable sensations, such as a pounding heart or heart palpitations.

4. Swelling of the neck

Contrary to most signs of a thyroid disorder, neck swelling is often a very noticeable symptom. This is one particular sign that demands immediate attention, as it may be the result of cancer or nodules, small lumps that grow within the thyroid. Of course, other conditions exist that may be responsible for swelling of the neck.

5. Depression

Surprisingly, depression may be one sign of a disorder. The reason is that hypothyroidism can impact levels of the brain’s “feel-good” chemical, serotonin. Also, low levels of thyroid hormone can trigger other areas of the body to decrease activity, which may indirectly impact overall mood.

6. Anxiety or jitteriness

This is one sign that may be due to hyperthyroidism – when this gland produces an excessive hormone level. When this occurs, our metabolism and other parts of the body may become hyperactive, creating feelings of anxiety or general “jitteriness.”

7. Brain fog may reveal thyroid disorder

When functionality diminishes, a cognitive ability often does as well. Hyperthyroidism often makes it difficult to concentrate, while hypothyroidism may create memory lapses and decreased awareness. Notably, some women had attributed such signs to menopause when the root cause was a thyroid condition.

8. Decreased sex drive

This sign can be a standalone or a cumulative symptom. Low libido can directly result from hypothyroidism. But other signs – low energy, body aches, weight gain – caused by hypothyroidism may also be to blame.

9. Dry skin

In addition to neck swelling, dry skin may be another noticeable sign of a disorder. Hypothyroidism often slows metabolism, which can initiate skin texture and appearance changes. Further, an inactive metabolism often reduces sweating, limiting the amount of skin moisture, causing flakiness or dryness. Also, nails may become brittle as well.

10. Irregular digestion

Those with hypothyroidism often complain of constipation, a likely result of decreased digestive activity from lowered hormonal production. On the flip side, hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid may result in bouts of diarrhea or more frequent bowel movements.

thyroid disorder

How Can You Prevent Thyroid Disorder?

Approximately 1 out of every 20 Americans twelve years of age and older has an underactive thyroid. A smaller number have an over-active thyroid. About 1 in every 100 people have a thyroid condition called hyperthyroid. Women are at a greater risk of this disease. If you have any family history of similar disorders, it also increases your risk.

1. Stop smoking

Smoking puts you at a greater risk for many diseases. So it’s no surprise that nicotine can decrease your iodine levels that affect your thyroid function correctly. Smoking also causes your thyroid hormones to become inactive.

2. Avoid too much alcohol

Heavy alcohol use reduces your hormones T3 and T4. Drinking too much alcohol is associated with risk and is the world’s 3rd most significant risk factor for disease, causing 60 diseases and contributing to at least 200 others.

3. Get screened regularly

Getting regular checks up is vital to prevent glandular disorders. If you have a family history of this disease, be sure to mention this to your doctor. They can do regular blood tests to monitor your hormonal function.

4. Eat fewer soy products

Another preventative measure you can take to avoid thyroid disorders is to eat less soy. Soy contains isoflavone links to disorders such as hypothyroidism and goiter.

5. Protect your thyroid gland during x-rays

When you get an x-ray, ask for a thyroid collar to safeguard your thyroid gland from radiation. This collar fits around your neck to keep exposure to a minimum.

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