If you’re a female over the age of 35, your risk of a thyroid problem greatly increases. Roughly 15 million people suffer from thyroid disorders in silence, and estimates show nearly 30 million Americans have a thyroid disorder.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck which releases hormones and regulates many aspects of your health: breathing, heart rate, central and peripheral nervous systems, body weight, muscle strength, menstrual cycles, body temperature, cholesterol levels and much more. For such a tiny gland it definitely has a large amount of responsibility.
When a person develops a thyroid disorder a variety of symptoms can present themselves, often making it difficult to be sure of the root cause. Here are common symptoms associated with a thyroid disorder – you should speak to your doctor about getting your thyroid checked if you experience any of the following.
Your skin is dry
Changes to the skin can often occur with changes in the weather, but your thyroid can also have an impact on your skin. Dry, itchy skin is a symptom of hypothyroidism – under active thyroid. A slow metabolism can result in less sweat which leaves the skin dry and itchy. Furthermore, your may notice your nails are becoming weak and brittle.
You’ve lost your sex drive
A drop in sex drive can be associated with aging, chronic illnesses and stress, but it can very well be connected to a thyroid disorder. Not only are there not enough hormones being released with hypothyroidism which can impact libido, but other side effects – like weight gain, pain, etc. – can also cause you to lose interest in intimacy.
It would be nice if our bowels functioned like clockwork, but generally they don’t. Even still, we generally have an idea of our own healthy bowel movements. If you haven’t gone in days and are experiencing constipation, it may be easy to blame food or stress, but constipation is another symptom of hypothyroidism. A disruption in hormones can cause changes to your bowel movements. On the other hand, seen in hyperthyroidism – overactive thyroid – people may experience diarrhea and more frequent bowels.
Muscle and extremities pain
It’s easy to blame pain on becoming older – everything seems to hurt more and more! But if our extremities or muscles hurt suddenly and without cause, this is yet another symptom of hypothyroidism. Nerves can become damaged due to lack of hormones being produced and released which causes unexplained pains.
Your body temperature is all over
If you’re always cold, that’s a symptom of hypothyroidism and if you’re always sweating, it can result from hyperthyroidism. The thyroid, as mentioned, is responsible for regulating body temperature, so a thyroid disorder can have you wrapped up in blankets or dipping into a cold bath. Menopause, too, can cause such changes in bodily temperature, so if you’re at that stage of your life, check with your doctor just to clarify what is actually impacting your fluctuating temperatures.
The older we get, the harder it is to shed those extra pounds. Many of us accept the notion that we will gain weight as we grow older, but if you’re not increasing food intake and are still exercising, your thyroid could be responsible for those added pounds.
You feel down
We all feel down every now and then but usually as a response to a situation. If you are feeling down constantly and for unexplained reasons, lack of hormones due to hypothyroidism could be to blame.
Because many of these symptoms can be confused with other ailments, the best way to narrow down your options is to get a thyroid stimulating hormone test (TSH). Test results, symptoms and a physical exam will confirm or deny your suspicions that your thyroid is acting up.
Treatment goals for handling thyroid disorders are to normalize thyroid hormones back into the blood so the body begins to function normally again – not too slow or fast. Medications may be used, but if the case is severe, the thyroid itself may have to be removed. Thyroid disorders are a lifelong condition but are manageable with the help of your doctor. The quicker you can obtain a diagnosis, the quicker you can get back to feeling like you again.
Correct diet for your thyroid can offer many benefits like reducing the risk of hypothyroidism, which can lead to numerous health complications. But what foods should you be consuming for your thyroid? Continue reading…
There is an important gland in the body, which is most widely known for managing our metabolic rate. We’re referring to the thyroid, and this butterfly-shaped gland assists many of our vital organs like the heart, brain and lungs. Continue reading…