One of your body's most important regulator glands that help with your breathing, heart rate, body weight, muscle strength, cholesterol level, body temperature, and more is your thyroid gland. When this little butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck is overactive (hyperthyroidism) or underactive (hypothyroidism), it can take a toll on your body and cause serious health conditions.
- Hyperthyroidism is an overactive thyroid that produces excess thyroxine, a thyroid hormone.
- Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid that doesn’t produce enough thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
You might not connect symptoms like weight fluctuations with an overactive or underactive thyroid and more subtle signs can go unnoticed. In fact, up to 50% of people with this disease don’t even know they have it. If your thyroid is left untreated, it can eventually cause bigger health problems from heart issues to osteoporosis. However, the good news is a simple blood test can help measure your glands hormone levels and treatments are generally simple and effective.
7 Symptoms That May Mean Thyroid Issues
1. Body weight (without changes in habits)
- Weight gain (hypothyroidism)
- Weight loss (hyperthyroidism)
- Weak or brittle hair
- Dry, red, thinning, itchy or irritated skin
- Joint swelling
- Puffy face or neck swelling
- Anxiety, nervousness, irritability (hyperthyroidism)
- Depression (hypothyroidism)
4. Fatigue/muscle weakness
- Difficulty sleeping at night (hyperthyroidism)
- Drained energy (hypothyroidism)
5. Body temperature
- Heat sensitivity/excessive sweating (hyperthyroidism)
- Struggling to stay warm (hypothyroidism)
6. Bowel habits
- Frequent, loose stools (hyperthyroidism)
- Constipation (hypothyroidism)
- Impaired fertility, pregnancy complications, preeclampsia, miscarriage (hypothyroidism)
- Irregular/infrequent/light periods (hyperthyroidism)
Whenever you notice changes like these, it’s a good idea to talk to your primary care provider or an endocrinology specialist. Together, you and your provider can decide if an exam is right for you.