Your thyroid may be small, but it has a dramatic effect on a wide variety of your bodily functions. It is the largest endocrine gland in your body, and it produces two hormones: T3 and T4. They control the rate at which your body burns energy and responds to stress hormones.
There are two ways your thyroid can malfunction, and they are known as hyperthyroidism (when too much thyroid hormone is produced in the body) and hypothyroidism (when not enough thyroid hormone is produced). Here are just some of the signs that there's something wrong with your thyroid.
You're always tired
Chronic fatigue could be a sign of either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. If you have hypothyroidism, you feel tired even after a full night's sleep because there isn't enough thyroid hormone in your bloodstream, so your muscles aren't getting a signal to get going in the morning. If you have hyperthyroidism, you probably can't sleep well at night, causing you to feel tired in the morning.
Your mood has changed
Feeling unusually depressed or sad might mean that you have hypothyroidism. The lack of thyroid hormone has an impact on your brain's production of serotonin, the "feel good" hormone in the brain. If you feel anxious, jittery, or wired, you might have hyperthyroidism because your thyroid is making too much of its hormone. Your brain is flooded with messages, your metabolism speeds up, and your whole body goes into overdrive. If you notice either of these changes in your mood, you should get a thyroid disease test.
You're always too hot/too cold
If you feel cold all the time or that you have the chills, you probably have hypothyroidism. Your system slows down because of an under-active thyroid, and that means less energy is being burned by your cells. Less energy means less heat. If you are always warm or sweating profusely, you probably have hyperthyroidism. That's because your cells are in overdrive, producing too much heat.
There are a number of other symptoms of hypothyroidism, but all of these can develop slowly, so may not even notice them at first.
- Dry skin
- Weight gain
- Puffy face
- Muscle weakness or aches
- Elevated cholesterol
- Pain or stiffness in your joints
- Changes in menstrual cycle
- Thinning hair
- Slowed heart rate
- Impaired memory
It's estimated that more than 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. Women are at particular risk, especially if they are over age 60, have a family history of thyroid disease, have type 1 diabetes or celiac (or other autoimmune diseases), or have been pregnant or delivered a baby in the last six months.
If you have any of these risk factors or notice any of these signs or symptoms, then it might be time for a thyroid disease test. The earlier you detect the problem, the faster you can get it resolved and get your life back. If you think you have other health issues, we can help you with preventive health screenings like blood pressure screenings, cardiovascular screenings, cholesterol screenings, and more.