The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that produces hormones tasked with regulating the function of your entire body. When this gland isn’t producing enough hormones or is producing too much, it can lead to a myriad of health issues.
Two major thyroid disorders are hypothyroidism (or overactive thyroid) and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), which can each present with their own signs or symptoms. Spotting these warning signs is essential to accessing the right treatment to regulate the production of hormones, and restore balance to your body.
Here are some of the most common symptoms you might be experiencing thyroid problems:
- Heart Disease
Heart disease can be a common sign of thyroid issues. An underactive thyroid can cause your heart rate to go down, while the extra hormones produced because of hyperthyroidism can lead to elevated heart rates. As a result, another common warning sign is also an erratic blood pressure.
Feeling tired is a common symptom of hypothyroidism, and it is usually one of the first warning signs of this condition. It can even lead to trouble sleeping or even insomnia if left untreated.
- Weight Fluctuations
Weight gain and weight loss are two common signs of thyroid problems. An underactive thyroid can slow down your metabolism and cause you to gain weight, while an overactive thyroid has the opposite effect.
If you are experiencing such fluctuations in weight and cannot explain them, they may be indicative of a thyroid function problem.
- Digestive Issues
A thyroid condition will likely affect the bowel movements as well. Hypothyroidism is known to commonly lead to constipation issues, while loose stools or diarrhea can be a sign of hyperthyroidism.
- Skin Issues
If your skin also starts to change unexpectedly, it could be another sign of thyroid function problems. Dry skin is a common result of lower hormone levels while experiencing oilier skin could be a sign of high levels of hormones.
How Do You Treat the Thyroid?
If you notice any of these warning signs, it’s important to book a consultation with your doctor and seek medical advice as soon as possible.
You will need to go through a medical consultation and blood tests in order to get a clear diagnosis and rule out any other potential causes for the signs or symptoms you’re experiencing.
Thyroid issues do not get better on their own, and the issues often progress with time. The type of treatment you’ll be prescribed generally depends on what type of thyroid issues you are experiencing.
For example, if you have an underactive thyroid, you will be put on hormone replacement medication meant to rebalance your hormone levels. As you continue your treatment, your symptoms will disappear.
With an overactive thyroid, it’s even possible to require thyroid surgery and remove the gland, even in part, if the condition has progressed enough.
Unfortunately, the warning signs of a thyroid condition are very easy to brush off at first or assign them to other potential explanations. But, if you also have a family history of thyroid problems, it’s very important to pay attention to your body, and seek medical advice as soon as you notice the signs or symptoms appearing.
Based on your condition, your doctor will prescribe a treatment that will help you manage it.