7 Early Warning Signs, Symptoms, and Side Effects of Thyroid Issues
Thyroid hormones are responsible for your energy, metabolism, growth, and other essential functions. However, the thyroid is a delicate instrument, and 12% of all people in the US will experience some disruption to their thyroid in their lifetime. In this guide, we’ll go over what the thyroid is and seven things to look out for.
What is the Thyroid?
The thyroid is a gland that rests in the lower half of your throat, right over the windpipe. This gland is responsible for producing hormones that help your body function efficiently. When the thyroid is not functioning as it should, you can experience one of two conditions:
Hypothyroidism: Not enough thyroid hormones are produced. This puts your body into a sluggish state.
Hyperthyroidism: The body produces too much hormone, putting your body into a state of agitation and hyperdrive.
This does not just affect the thyroid. Thyroid issues are a whole-body concern, as it can affect everything from eye health to cardiovascular disease .
Energy Levels and Sleep
Your thyroid affects how well you process energy. People who have been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid experience low energy and fatigue, even when they get enough sleep. In contrast, people with overactive thyroids report jitteriness and problems sleeping.
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Unexplained Weight Fluctuations
The thyroid has a direct effect on your metabolism and Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This can lead you to burn calories at a different rate than you normally do. If you experience unexplained weight gain or weight loss, you could have an issue with your thyroid.
You produce heat by burning calories. Feeling colder than you normally do can be a sign of a sluggish thyroid.
Hyperthyroidism increases the calories you burn, which can lead to feeling warm even without exercising, hot flashes, and sweating. In rare cases it can trigger a Thyroid Storm, which is a sudden dumping of thyroid hormone into your system in a short span of time. It often leads to high fevers, shaking, increased heart rate, and other issues.
If you start to feel warmer or colder at rest than you normally do, your thyroid could be the culprit.
A goiter is an unnatural swelling of your thyroid gland, which looks like an odd swelling at the front of your neck. While it is typically painless, it can indicate an underlying problem with your thyroid gland. It can also lead to breathing and swallowing issues if the goiter gets too large! It’s best to get it checked out as soon as possible.
Changes in Mood
Studies show your thyroid can affect your mood and any present mood disorders like depression and anxiety. If you are struggling with anxiety, depression, a sudden onset of feeling ‘down’ without a notable cause, or other changes in your mood, seek treatment and eat foods that help your thyroid function.
The thyroid and your gut health both affect each other. If your thyroid is not producing enough hormones, it can lead to digestion and absorption issues. If your gut health is imbalanced, it can affect the nutrients your thyroid needs to function. If you are suffering from frequent constipation, diarrea, heartburn, or other gastrointestinal issues, it may be time to check your thyroid and gut health.
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Thyroid issues can put a strain on your heart through sluggish systems or overactivity. Hyperthyroidism can even lead to a higher rate of irregular heartbeats and increase the risk of heart attack.
Your Thyroid Affects All Aspects of Your Health
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, check with your doctor about a thyroid test to make sure your gland is working as it should. Fortunately, most cases of thyroid dysfunction can be treated and regulated with medication and foods that boost thyroid function.